Copywriting Tips for Online Press Releases

Press release copywriting tips from PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, and beyond with press release writing services.One of the best things you can do to bolster your online marketing efforts is to develop interesting, informative, search engine optimized press releases that people actually want to read. Writing about the history of your company, the hard work you put in — let’s face it, that’s the boring stuff you say when you have nothing to say. On the other hand, people may enjoy hearing about the grand opening of your new branch, your latest product offerings, or even something as simple as the story behind your new logo.

That’s where a great press release can really shine. Press release copywriting combines the best of news article writing, content marketing, and search engine optimization, and you can learn the basics without going to journalism school.

Know Thy Audience

Your audience is the first thing to consider. Are you writing your press release for potential B2B or B2C customers, industry experts, or investors? What are their needs and interests? Your customers may want to get a taste of what it would be like to experience your products or services. On the other hand, if you’re writing for industry experts you may need to delve into the technical aspects and benefits of your products. Potential investors may want some of each, but they’ll be especially interested in how well your business and its products and services are positioned for future growth. Your press release copywriting should cater to the needs of your core audience while creating enough interest to also satisfy a broader audience.

All Killer, No Filler

Press release copywriting, as with online writing in general, relies on one rule above all others: economy of prose, sometimes referred to as “all killer, no filler”. If a sentence reads well when you remove a word, then remove it. Repeat the process until you can’t pare it down any further, and then place your verbs at the beginning of most sentences to keep the story driving forward quickly.

A Pyramid Scheme, But in a Good Way

News articles, press releases, and other copywriting styles are written using the Pyramid principle. Place your most important details at the beginning, followed by the second most important, and so on.  Press releases are unique in that they should also feature a summary statement appearing directly below the headline. Some online sources will display your summary statement word-for-word in the search results, and an enticing summary may be the hook to getting the reader to click through to your full release. The end of your press release should contain a well-crafted boiler plate statement about your company’s mission and a link to your website.

The 5 W’s Apply

You probably recall the five “W’s” from your high school writing courses: who, what, when, where and why. They often apply to press release copywriting as well. Press releases for businesses are usually about “what”, “when” or “where”. When you open a new branch, introduce a new product, or reveal the release date of an anticipated service, consider the other “W’s” that may be important to your story.  For example, “who” can be important if you have recently hired an executive, a sales team or celebrity. Likewise, further developing the “where” or “why” may add interesting details that encourage the reader to share your press release with others.

So Much to Say, So Little Space, So Make it Count!

Copywriting experts know that you have a very small amount of time to catch people’s attention. If your first sentence contains all people need to know, then you’ve wasted your time writing the rest of the release. Good copywriting includes a strong teaser statement at the beginning that doesn’t reveal all the juicy details, but draws the reader through to the end, adding interest along the way. The best copywriting is informative and compelling, yet spartan in its prose.

Search Engine Optimization for Your Press Release

SEO may be the most overlooked tip for writing a great online press release. We did say ONLINE press release, right? Any time you are writing for an online audience, search engine optimization should be among your foremost goals. Do your keyword research so that you know how most people search for the information you are planning to communicate, and then build those keywords into your title, your opening and closing paragraphs, as well as the paragraphs in between. SEO is too detailed a topic for this short post, but you can find additional SEO tips on our blog.

Press Releases to Reach a Large Audience

Press releases are unique in that they are capable of reaching a very large audience within days. By engaging a paid online press release distribution service you can send your release to literally thousands of online news feeds, depending on your level of investment. Many of those feeds will appear in the news section of Google, Bing, and other search engines, particularly in the first 4 weeks after the release goes live. A well-written press release may even open doors to additional press interviews and other speaking engagements.

Need help in developing an effective online strategy that includes press releases? Contact us today for a free initial consultation for qualified customers in Reading, PA and far beyond.

4 Easy Ways to Achieve Consistent Branding

4 Keys to effective branding and marketing for Reading PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, York, Harrisburg and beyond.Branding, or the art of achieving a positive and consistent brand image for your business, is more than just a nice idea.  In fact, branding is a key pillar of an effective marketing strategy, and applies as much to online and social media marketing as it does to traditional marketing and advertising such as print media, outdoor advertising, radio, and TV. It’s a pillar because great branding essentially multiplies your marketing and advertising efforts and dollars by providing a hook to make your message live on in the minds of your target audience.

Just getting your new business off the ground? Don’t be fooled into thinking that an integrated logo, business card and letterhead are sufficient to create a great brand image, even for a low-budget one-person operation.  There are many things to consider, all of which work together to reinforce your brand image and to remind potential customers of who you are and how you stand apart from the competition.

Here are four easy ways to achieve positive and consistent branding: 

#1. Use Taglines:  Make Them Short, Memorable, & Relevant

A good tagline is a memorable phrase or one-liner designed to remind customers of who you are, what you offer, and how you stand apart. Just as a picture can paint a thousand words, so a tagline can help customers recall your advertising campaigns, presentations, and value propositions in an instant.  Who can forget Nike’s “Just Do It”, Ford’s “Ford Tough”, or Wheaties’ “Breakfast of Champions”?  When you hear those lines you know immediately which company is represented, and experience an instant visualization of their products or logos. Strive to make your tagline short, memorable, and relevant to your core products, services, and mission.

#2. Create a Style Guide for Consistent Branding

Creating, a style guide is a fairly painless way to ensure that your basic branding efforts share a consistent look and feel. Your style guide, which should be created by a professional graphic designer, will define the colors, images and fonts to be used in your advertising materials and presentations, as well as logo placement, and details like the amount of white space to be included around your logo, as well as other guidelines. A thorough guide may even include examples of what is not acceptable in an effort to avoid common errors by your well-intended sales and marketing staff. Your guide is also valuable when outsourcing new advertising and promotional materials, and may help reduce the cost of such efforts while helping ensure consistent, high-quality branding.

Your style guide will make it easier for you to achieve visual consistency in anything and everything that represents your brand whether it’s a flyer or brochure, a blog or social media page, a TV commercial or PowerPoint presentation, a pen or mug, or virtually anything that can reflect or reinforce your brand image.

#3. Brand Your Social Media Experience

Branding includes creating a consistent visual experience wherever your brand is encountered, including on your social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any others your business may use.  Some social media platforms provide less graphical design flexibility than others. Nevertheless, those encountering your brand via social media should experience a strong sense of familiarity and consistency across all social media touch points.

#4. Create and Use Branded Templates

Take the grunt work out of branding by providing your sales force and others with professionally created templates that adhere to the branding guidelines in your style guide.  Your graphic designer can create effective templates for letterheads, PowerPoint presentations, signature lines within email messages, sales receipts, customer quote forms, and virtually every type of printed or electronically transmitted customer-facing communication. Using templates will save time and money while consistently reinforcing your brand image.

In Summary

A great brand can multiply the results of your marketing efforts while building brand recognition and loyalty. The more you get a clear and compelling brand image in front of others, and the more consistently you present it across your marketing and advertising channels, the quicker people will recognize it and become more likely to choose your brand over others. There are many aspects to effective branding beyond those mentioned here, but by following these 4 principles you will be well on your way to a more effective branding strategy.

If you would like additional help in forming an effective branding and marketing strategy for your business, then please contact us.

Content Marketing Tip: 4 Ways to Boost Traffic by Commenting

Someone Commented! Time to Buy a Lottery Ticket?

It is a Monday morning.  You bought your coffee at the local convenience store on your drive in to work.  After checking your email, you meet with your staff to go over the issues facing your business this week.  You make phone calls to clients, suppliers, and consultants.

Content Marketing tips to boost your website, blog, and social media trafficThe last thing on your mind is to check your social media and website for comments to an article you posted last week.  Why bother?  You have come to expect that people don’t add comments to your articles.  Lately you’ve been questioning your content marketing strategy and the effort required to create original content.

However, you decide to check anyway.

You discover an authentic comment about your article submitted by someone representing another firm. It is clear from the wording of the comment that the author read your article and is responding to the thoughts you shared.  This is not spam.

Think about it.  What would you do?

You would want to know who the author is.  You would visit their website.  The business professional effectively generated traffic to their website by thoughtfully commenting on the article you wrote.

So Many Lonely Pages Just Waiting to Drive Traffic to Your Website

There are millions of lonely websites and social media pages on the Internet.  This fact creates opportunity for you to drive traffic to your website.

Develop a plan to regularly comment on the social media pages and websites of other businesses.

Where to Post Comments to Drive More Traffic

Consider posting comments on the websites and blogs of the following:

  1. Customers
  2. Prospective customers
  3. Former customers
  4. Suppliers and consultants
  5. Local business and community leaders
  6. Local charities and community organizations

Commenting Ideas & Guidelines

What are some of the things you can comment about?

  1. Thank them for the information they shared in the article, making sure you reference actual content or else you could have the appearance of a spammer.
  2. Ask a question about a specific point they made in the article, giving them an opportunity to share more of their expertise.
  3. Tell them how you are going to use the information they shared in the article.
  4. Recommend other organizations or types of organizations who may benefit from the article.

Apply the Golden Rule of Commenting

Are you discouraged by the level of traffic coming to your website?  Perhaps you need to apply better and more consistent online marketing techniques.  However, there is also a world of opportunity to generate traffic by “doing unto others” what you would have them do to you.  Visit their websites and provide some encouraging feedback by commenting on their posts. Stay at it and over time it just may come back to you a hundredfold.

Need Help with Your Online Marketing Strategy?

We can help you formulate a smart, efficient, and cost-effective online strategy to grow your business. Please Contact Us if you need assistance. The initial consultation is free for qualified customers.

Successful Content Marketing Begins with Good Company Culture

Going Viral – A Social Media / Content Marketing Dream Come True

Two stories went viral on the Internet in late January 2013.

How to leverage content marketing to boost your social media marketing strategyAn anonymous woman taped a letter of encouragement in a women’s restroom at her university. Her intended readers were other girls who had written their stories of woe on the bathroom wall.  Within two days, the story had generated nearly 8,000 comments.  In another story, a father challenged his daughters to gather 1 million likes on their Facebook page and he would buy them a new puppy.  It took them only seven hours to accomplish their objective.

We believe there are two key online marketing lessons to be learned from these articles.

  1. Kindness – In a world of violence and cruelty, where many people believe human nature to be hopelessly self-centered, the public is hungry for extraordinary stories of kindness.
  2. Innocence – You can’t go wrong with a dynamic combination – children and puppies.  However, the real power in the story is innocence.  Who expects evil from children who want their faces licked by a cuddly animal with a wagging tail?

The Take Away: A New Social Media Strategy?

The take away for your business is to post on your website stories of kindness and pictures of puppies. Or not.

A company cannot overcome a poor customer service record by posting feel-good stories.  In fact, attempting to do so might even enrage customers who have been wronged or abused.  They may feel insulted, and view such stories as an attempt to placate them instead of doing the right thing and delivering better service.  Similarly, a company with a reputation for violating the law or hiring shady employees will fail to generate good will with feigned stories of honesty and integrity pushed out through their social media channels.

Great Content Makes for Great Social Media Marketing: Make it Real

The true lesson from these stories is that a business that demonstrates true kindness and honesty (innocence, if you will) has the potential to draw enthusiastic followers and loyal customers, and to generate content with the potential to go viral.  Such kindness and transparent honesty is in the culture of the organization, in other words, it’s real.  It is expressed in the mission statement.  It is demonstrated in how the business serves customers every day.  It is exemplified by how the business makes being a good neighbor in the community a primary objective of both management and employees.  It is epitomized by how the employees are themselves kind people.  It is embodied in the way the business acts in a law abiding manner and is consistently trustworthy in delivering on their promises.

Your Culture: a Goldmine for Content Marketing

If your business culture typifies these traits, you have a gold mine of content to leverage in your website, blog, and social media marketing assets – content that could go viral.  One of your employees just may do something incredibly noteworthy that thousands or even millions will want to share simply because they are truly enthusiastic about how your organization does business.

Developing the Right Content Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Stories like those above are just one of many facets of a strong content marketing strategy that attracts followers and drives increasing amounts of traffic to your website, blog, and social media assets. Finding and executing the right strategy for your company is key. Are you up for the challenge? We’re here if you need help with your content marketing efforts.

Web Design: 5 Marketing Decisions to Make Before Getting Started

Web designers are not magicians. Online marketing tips to for better web design results for small business owners near Reading, PA, Berks County, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and beyond.Online Marketing and Web Design – Such Great Expectations, So Little Planning

Regardless of how the small business owner has positioned his or her business, the web designer is often tasked with achieving nearly magical web marketing results. The web design process is expected to acheive a beautiful and persuasive online presence, plus search engine optimization feats that will drive increased website traffic, and create new customers and revenue. But, how can a web designer create loyal customers for a business the community perceives as unfriendly or whose products or services as lackluster?

Helpful, but Not Magicians

Unfortunately, web designers are not magicians.  The true marketing magic begins with the key strategic and tactical decisions made by business owners and marketers. That said, a talented web designer with solid online marketing experience can refine and amplify your business and the reasons customers should select you over the competition. Your website design, social media pages, and search engine optimization efforts alone cannot overcome a poorly crafted business strategy, but they can supplement and amplify a good one.

Here are five issues to address before executing an online marketing strategy or web design project

  1. Identify your niche
    Lined up in a row with 9 white ducks, a black duck will capture everyone’s attention.  Your business needs something unique, an added value for the market that cannot be experienced with any other competitor.  What makes your business different from the competition?
  2. Resolve product and service quality issues
    There is no marketing that can overcome bad business.  On the contrary, good business practice requires less marketing because people talk about and recommend businesses which have provided a good customer experience.  What can you do to make your business deliver better quality?
  3. Find ways to be creative and innovative
    Traditional marketing techniques are often met with a yawn.  Thanks to continuous innovations in marketing and advertising, consumers expect marketing materials, web pages, and online advertising of all kinds to give them something to talk about.  GEICO understands this very well.  How can you change your online marketing strategy to create a buzz, surprise people, and drive referrals?
  4. Become a subject matter expert
    It does not matter what industry you are in – people react to and purchase expertise.  They expect you to be knowledgeable on whatever it is you do as a business.  How can you position the leaders of your business as experts customers come to rely on for advice?  Hint – think blogging and content marketing.
  5. Be in the event business
    Which of the following would be easier to accomplish: building a following of people day-after-day and month-after-month when nothing special is going on with your business OR building a following of people who want to be involved in a special event hosted by your business?  Instead of worrying about how to keep people coming back to your website, think about how to keep people coming back to events hosted by your business.  People talk to their friends about special events.  What events can your business host? What types of events can you host online vs. in your store or at your business?

Online marketing success begins with the decisions made by small business owners and marketers like you.  What magic can you create today that your web designer can communicate (and amplify) to your market? Think about that, and then contact your web designer.