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