I used to believe that you should do your own publicity. After all, who can tell your story better than you can?
Turn out, I was wrong.
I’ve spoken to thousands of people in the past year about writing press releases during my speeches at conferences and on teleseminars and webinars. Now I am forced to admit that I was wrong.
You can’t write your own press release and you can’t do your own publicity.
From thousands of encounters, I’ve gathered these insights:
1. You need an outside perspective. You can’t tell your own story. Many people don’t even know what their story is. They pick the dullest, least newsworthy aspect of their business and they describe it in a way that only a mother could love.
2. They bury the lead. I saw a press release where the person didn’t mention he had written a new book until the 8th paragraph. “I didn’t want people to think I was being too self-promotional,” he said. There’s a big difference between looking like a snake-oil salesman and looking like Katie Couric.
3. They don’t know English. If you want a good press release, don’t ask your programmer in Pakistan to write it for you. I’m not kidding. This happened. The release actually wasn’t that bad, but it didn’t look like English you’d read. It was sort of like looking at a guy with a bad toupee. You knew something wasn’t right, but you couldn’t tell right away.
4. Formatting and style. A press release has to look like a press release just like a poem looks like a poem and a play looks like a play and a greeting card looks like a greeting card. If you don’t put in a headline, dateline, “30” and other features, then reporters know the document is the work of an amateur.
5. Keywording is nonexistent. Today’s press releases need to be found on the search engines. Using proper keywords is a key way to get seen. If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “keyword” then I’ve proved my point. You need help.
6. One and done. If you think you are going to set the world on fire with just one press release, then you’re way off base. Successful marketing is about creating multiple impressions and getting seen anywhere and everywhere your target audience looks. If you show up to a Rotary Club meeting once, no one will remember you. You have to show up every week before people realize you are alive. Same with press releases. Plan a campaign. Don’t stop with just one.
7. Procrastination. People have a lot on their plates these days. If you look at press releases as just one more thing to do, then it won’t get done. Press releases can do so much good for you, it is a shame people don’t take the first step to get started.
8. Competing interests. Every entrepreneur I know juggles more balls than Randy Moss. It is hard to get focused and stay focused – especially if you don’t really know how to do publicity or write a press release. That’s even more reason to look for help.
9. Not getting started. Given all these reasons and examples, it is easy to see why some people start to write a press release and then give up. That’s all the more reason to get help from someone who knows what they are doing. Hey, you don’t do your legal work; you hire a lawyer. You don’t do your taxes; you hire an expert. You don’t invest in your own stocks (maybe that’s another story); you hire a personal financial advisor. Maybe the slogan should be “Friends don’t let friends write their own press releases.”
Public relations strategy expert Dan Janal helps authors and small business owners get publicity so they can sell more products. He gets amazing results with coaching, consulting, done-for-you publicity services and do-it-yourself marketing tools. For info, go to www.prleadsplus.com.