Online press releases are one of the fastest and easiest ways to get your home business in front of your target market.
Many times when people think of the term “press release,” what comes to mind is a major life-changing news story published by a large corporation or government agency. According to the World English Dictionary, however, a press release is simply “an official announcement or account of a news item circulated to the press.”
What does that mean for the home business entrepreneur?
You have a powerful tool for generating publicity and getting noticed — right at your fingertips.
Why Online Press Releases?
In the past, news was released in print, on television and on radio. In recent years, however, the internet has completely changed the way individuals and organizations get the word out.
The average consumer now expects to get their news immediately, especially online, so when you publish a press release about your home business on the web, it’s possible to see a major influx of traffic to your business within hours and minutes instead of the weeks and days it used to take.
Here’s why it works.
Many of the press release sites are considered important authority sites by the search engines, so if you optimize your report properly as explained in this article, your news item will appear higher in the search results for the terms your prospective customer cares about.
Moreover, the fact that they are identified as authority sites means the links from the press release sites to your website are given more weight. So from the search engine perspective, you are more of an authority and your website rank increases, making it easier for your intended audience to find you online.
Additionally, due to the relevance associated with press release sites, your perceived authority in the minds of your readers multiplies. You then have an avenue by which you can educate the consumer about your home business, build rapport and truly form a connection.
But What Would I Write a Press Release About?
As stated above, a press release doesn’t have to be about an earth-shattering event (although big news can garner a lot of attention quickly, as you’ll see below). Here are 10 ideas you can use to gain free publicity using the power of the press:
1. Announce the opening of your business. If you’ve been in business for a while and have never written a press release about it, write a piece announcing your mission statement. Tell the world who you are and what it is you have to offer.
2. Publicize a new product or service you’re launching. Share the benefits your customer can expect, and tell them how to do business with you.
3. Announce your teleseminars and webinars. A press release is a fantastic vehicle for attracting attendees, so always include enough information to ensure you’re drawing the right audience.
4. Reveal a special sale or any special offers you have going on. Tell your prospective customer exactly why they should do everything possible to seek you out.
5. Remember that major news story? Link big news with something happening in your company. As an example, about two weeks before the time of this writing, Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton. The Franklin Mint then announced the production of a limited edition Kate Middleton portrait doll.
6. Start a Meetup group for home business owners in your area and promote it with a press release. You can announce the establishment of the group itself and send a news release before each event. In this way, you grow your membership and increase attendance at the meetings.
7. Publish a news piece when you launch your website and every time you make a major change to it. Be sure to include an incentive for the reader to actually visit your site.
8. Create a press release when you hire support staff. This is an implied statement that your home business is growing rapidly and your prospects need to do business with you now, while they can still work with you personally.
9. Set up a charitable event and tell the world via a press release. One of the best ways to implement this idea is to offer a product for sale and commit 100% of the proceeds to the charity of your choice. This is especially effective if the product for sale is an information product because it minimizes your cost. Don’t have an information product? Set up an interview with a well-known figure in your market (let them know it’s for charity), record the interview, and sell the mp3 download.
10. Start a contest and write a news article to announce it. Include enough information that the reader can clearly understand the rules and benefits. Contests are fantastic tools for building your list of prospects.
So What Goes In a Press Release Anyway?
One of the keys to success with online press releases is to write your news item so that it will be found when people are searching for what it is you offer.
In order to do this, spend several minutes brainstorming and writing down specific words and phrases your ideal prospect is likely to enter into the search box when they’re looking for the solution you provide. Then use a keyword research tool, such as the Google External Keyword Tool, to identify the most popular search terms in your market.
Select 4-5 of the most popular terms. One of these will be your main keyword, and the rest will serve as supporting – or secondary – keywords. These are the words you’ll focus on when writing the press release for your home business.
Now that you know your keywords, let’s look at what to put in the press release.
1. Title. A good press release title is short, starts with your main keyword, and grabs the reader’s attention immediately. Use action words and power words such as results, secret, risky, revealed, and announces. Remember the goal is to motivate the audience to want to read more.
2. Summary. The summary is one or two sentences that describe what your news item is about, and it should include 3-5 secondary keywords. The summary should entice the prospective reader to read the entire article. It’s also a good idea to place a link to your website in the summary of a press release so the reader can immediately visit your site if they so choose.
3. Dateline. The dateline must include the date and a clear, concise declaration of the news. When someone reads the dateline, they should have an immediate understanding of what you’re reporting.
4. Main Body. The body of your press release should be 300-800 words long, written from the third-person, neutral point of view. It must answer the 5 W’s — who, what, where, when, and why. The body text should focus on a single news item and must not be written like an advertisement. Instead, tell the reader what’s happening and why they should care. Be certain to include 1-3 links to your website in the body of your press release. At least one of the links should use your main keyword as the anchor text (the visible, clickable text in the hyperlink) and at least one of the links should use your actual website address as the anchor text. Take the time to be sure one of your keywords is in every paragraph of your press release.
5. About/Boilerplate. Give the reader of your press release a high-level look at your home business. Tell them about any special certifications, awards, and honors you’ve received. Convey your unique selling proposition. Then place a call to action, with a direct link to your website, as the last line.
6. Contact Information. Provide your name, the company name, your telephone number and the website address for your business so the reader and members of the media can easily contact you. Do not use a personal email address.
So I Just Write a Press Release and People Start Calling?
After you write your press release, you do have to submit it to the online distribution services. These services share your news items with multiple websites so your content is published all over the web, thereby increasing your exposure and the likelihood that your target audience will connect with you and learn about your home business.
While there are some paid services, there are also several that allow you to distribute your news items for no cost.