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Kim Wilson
P.O. Box 4145
Hamilton, NJ 08610

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Promote Your Business with the Press Release
by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications and Associates

 

If you've already used direct mail, advertising or other methods of publicity to get yourself clients, consider using the press release for your next promotion.

Home-based entrepreneurs use press releases to promote their products and services, and so can the freelancer. The purpose of using the press release is to get free advertising and to flush out additional prospects that your direct mail, advertising or other marketing efforts didn't reach.

Advantages of Using a Press Release

  • Free advertising

  • Low cost. You can write a press release and photocopy a hundred for less than 0.3 cents a copy. The major cost is postage, and that's only 0.37 cents.

  • Multiple publicity shots. A well-written press release will wind up in more than one publication, generating multiple leads and inquiries, which you can then turn into sales.

  • Qualified inquiries and leads. Your press release will flush out prospects from multiple publications and help you create an effective mailing list that you can use now and in the future to send additional information.

Disadvantages of Using a Press Release

  • No guarantees. There is never a guarantee that your press release will be published in a certain publication.

  • Wait time. It can take between two and six months to see your press release in print.

  • Skill. You need to be knowledgeable on how to craft an effective press release.

  • Mixed results. Not all of your inquiries are going to be prospects or those interested in your writing services. You will also receive inquiries from individuals who just want your free report. (Tip: Make sure you ask the readers to send a SASE for the free report. This will help you solicit responses from those who are most interested in your information.)

Free ReportThe Incentive
Which press release do you think an editor will most likely publish: A press release about your services, who your clients are, your experience, blah, blah, blah. Or: A press release about a free report that you're offering, which shows CEOs how to manage their next advertising campaign more effectively.

An editor is more likely to publish the press release about the free report: it's informative, it benefits the publication's audience, and it's of value to a vast majority of the publication's readers.

An editor isn't going to care about what type of freelance services you offer or what clients you've assisted, nor will the publication's readers care much. Offering a free report not only helps you get your press release published, but also readers of the publication will be more interested in the free information if it's going to help them do something better in some way.

Design your report so that it meets these standards:

  • Your report can be between 1-4 pages, or longer if you prefer.

  • You can make your report resemble a newsletter or you can type it up in an article-style format.

  • Your report should help the reader do something better, and give solutions to common problems and not so common problems.

  • Your report should be informative and insightful. Your goal is to impress the prospect with your knowledge, skill and expertise in your area.

Writing the Perfect Press Release
You are pitching your report—not your freelance services. Write your press release so that it focuses on the valuable information the report has to offer. You must convince the editor that your free report is valuable enough so that printing your press release would benefit the publication's audience.

Use an enticing title such as: Free Report Shows How To Fix 10 Common Mistakes Found In Sales Letters.

The press release should contain information that tells who the report is for, what valuable information it contains, who it's available from, and how to send away for it.

To increase the chances of an editor using your press release, include (in the body of the press release) a short list of solutions or advice that your free report offers. In most cases, the editor will publish the short list of solutions/advice and include information at the end on how to send away for a free detailed report.

The Softly-Whispered Sale's Pitch
You must subtly marry the information in your report with your freelance services—so that by the time prospects have absorbed your information, they'll realize that hiring you for their next assignments will be toward their advantage. After all, your report has demonstrated your extensive knowledge and expertise in your area—and you know how to solve problems and how to get specific results.

Your report should include:

  • Specific examples of your work and what you have done for other clients.

  • Tips and helpful advice on ways the prospect can save costs, meet deadlines, and get results—such as you have done.

  • Specific problems that a client may face—and how you have overcome these obstacles. Give your solutions.

  • State who you are and what you do in a brief third-person biography somewhere in your report, preferably at the end or in an enclosed box.

The Mailing List
Compile a mailing list of publications that focus on your expertise. Some popular magazines for writers that accept press releases include Writer's Digest, The Writer, Direct Mail Marketing, Publisher's Weekly, and so on. Also include popular business trade magazines that attract a large audience of entrepreneurs and business professionals. Most of all, don't underestimate the publicity pulling power of business, associations, and communications trade newsletters—although small in size, these types of newsletters usually command a narrow, targeted audience of business professionals, communication experts, and possibly your next client.

(Tip: Know your market. What type of clients are you trying to solicit? Do these publications attract the type of audience that you want to tap into? To find out a publication's audience, call up the publication and ask for a media kit. Media kits are free and contain valuable information regarding audience and their levels of income, demographics, and more.)

The Follow Up
When your press release is published and prospects begin to mail inquiries for your free report, you can also enclose your business card and additional promotional literature, such as a sales letter or brochure highlighting your freelance services. I recommend that you also enclose a reply card so that prospects can mail away for additional information about your services.

When you begin to receive inquiries about your free report, start your own mailing list. Enter the inquiry's name, address, and phone number into a database. Take notice of the inquiry's letterhead: is it a business or company name? Does the inquiry have a business title? Letterheads with a business name or an inquiry having a business title are more likely to be interested in your services that those without this information.

Notice what type of responses you receive within two to four weeks after you've mailed out your free report. Have you gotten any responses from prospects who are interested in your freelance services? Even if you don't receive the response you had in mind, you can still use your free report over and over again as a very persuasive component in your direct mail package when going after other prospects.

Some Stealth Selling Advice
Keep track of which publications publish your press release. When your press release is published, get a copy of that issue and clip out or photocopy your published press release. Once you've obtained multiple clips of your press release from various publications, lay them out on a sheet of paper in a collage. At the top of the sheet use a persuasive eye-catching blurb such as: "BSK Communications and Associates not only produces quality newsletters from copy to completion, but we also believe in distributing free information to companies and businesses who want to achieve better results in written communication."

This single sheet of press clips will showcase the credibility and professionalism of your business—after all, your business has been mentioned in several publications—and demonstrates to prospects that you believe in sharing information to help others. Photocopy as many sheets as you need and include them with your promotional material or in your direct mail package.


Brian Konradt is the owner and operator of FreelanceWriting.com, a Web site dedicated to help writers master the business and creative sides of freelance writing. Mr. Konradt is also the principal of BSK Communications & Associates, a communications/publishing business in New Jersey, which he established in 1992.


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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