In my last post I described why old-school postcards are still a powerful marketing tool for books and online programs, and I detailed why authors, coaches and speakers should make them an important part of their marketing mix. 

In this post, I’m going to stay in old school mode and detail why press releases are still vital to the message development process when I am writing marketing copy for coaches.

Let’s face it, press releases are as old as old school gets. However, they’ve also been brought into the digital age, and still play a role in any online marketing campaign.

Some experts argue that micro blogging on social media has made press releases obsolete. However, a well-placed press release in a leading trade journal or newspaper can still be marketing gold for your book or product launch.

For this reason, I strongly urge you to make room in your Core Message Platform™ for a press release that announces your book or program’s publication.

Once completed, your press release can be easily modified to announce future news events related to your book or program, such as:

  • Book signings
  • Awards
  • Keynote speaking appearances
  • Bestseller status achievement
  • TV, radio, and podcast interviews

Popular Press Release Distribution Services

For national and international exposure, you can use any number of online press release distribution services. Perform a Google search for “press release distribution services,” and you’ll find several immediately.

The same search will also yield multiple articles that rate and educate you about distribution services. Although there are many to choose from, most “top 10” articles I’ve reviewed include these three press release distribution services.

PRNewswire

http://www.prnewswire.com/

PRWeb

http://www.prweb.com/

24-7 Press Release

http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/

Again, there are many press release distribution services from which to choose. Some are free, and others charge fees based on the level of service you choose.

In general, you pay more for wider distribution of your news release.

I’ve asked several public relations experts why you should use a paid service when there are numerous free distribution services available. The answer I usually receive is, “As with anything else, you get what you pay for.”

What is a Press Release?

Put simply, a press release, or news release, is a news story that is provided to the media with the intent of publicizing you, your book, or your program. They’re attractive because they’re relatively inexpensive to write and distribute.

However, the catch is that editors are under no obligation to publish them. They can pick and choose among the thousands of press releases sent to them or posted online each year. They also can edit your release at will and determine where it will be placed in their print or online publication.

The key to grabbing an editor’s attention is to write a press release that is newsworthy, clear and concise. Below are my essential tips for crafting press releases editors will publish.

Essential Press Release Writing Tips

Include contact information

Make sure the correct contact name, e-mail, and phone number (optional), are listed above the headline on your release. This makes it easy for editors to contact you for more information if they need it.

Write a strong headline

Don’t tease and don’t be cute. Be direct. Your headline will decide whether editors want to read your story. As a rule, your headline should be a tight, concise summary of what your news release is about. Example:

Mari L. McCarthy Releases Her New Book, Journaling Power.

Discover the Ultimate Self-Healing Tool. Right at Your Fingertips!

Date your press release

Write the correct release date below an underlined subhead that reads FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Example:

Mari L. McCarthy Releases Her New Book, Journaling Power.

Discover the Ultimate Self-Healing Tool. Right at Your Fingertips!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – September 17, 2016—Mari L. McCarthy announced today the release of her inspiring new book, Journaling Power: How to Create the Happy, Healthy Life You Want to Live.

Be sure the date you use is at least one day later than the day you distribute the press release to media sources. The soonest your release will appear in print or online is one day after you send it, so dating it one day later will make it timely when it’s published.

Develop a strong lead

The lead paragraph of your press release should provide the who, what, where, when and why of your news story. To test your headline and lead, ask yourself this question:

“If the editor cuts my entire release down to just the headline and lead paragraph, will readers still get the important information they need?”

If the answer to this question is yes, you’ve done your job. If the answer is no, keep editing your lead until the answer is yes.

Support your lead

The body of your story should include additional information that backs up the news item introduced in your lead paragraph.

The body of your release will include more information about your book or program, supported by any review or endorsement quotes you may have.

Start with the most important information and work your way down to the least important information. Remember, when editors trim press releases to fit a given space, they cut information from the bottom up. So, if you have a great endorsement quote, insert it just after your lead paragraph.

Avoid writing with a sales slant

Press releases are about news, not advertising. The tone of your copy should always have a news slant. Avoid using hype and superlatives. Press releases written with a sales slant often die a quick death at the hands of an editor’s delete button.

This is because editors and the publications they work for have no interest in being used as an advertising agent for your book. Bottom line, if your press release sounds like an ad, you’ll be told to go buy ad space.

Stick to an appropriate length

One to two pages in length for a press release is fine. Staying as close as you can to one page is ideal. If you need more than two pages to write a press release, consider writing a feature story instead.

Include or repeat important contact information

When needed, write the name, e-mail, and phone number of who to contact for more information about your book in the last paragraph of your press release. The contact person will normally be the same person listed as the contact above your headline.

Include your bio

Following the end of your press release, include a brief bio of yourself. One or two paragraphs is perfect.

Include photos, videos and links

Most online distribution services allow you to include pictures in your press release, so including an image of your book cover or product is a must. Some also allow for video, and nearly all allow you to create anchor text that links back to your website.

The extent to which you can use photos, video, and links may differ with each online distribution service. These are important features, so be sure to research them thoroughly before you choose a service.

Bonus tips

 Tie your press release into a current news event

I recently wrote a press release for a book about divorce that will be released in January, which is national divorce awareness month.

In the press release I included a few lines that tied the book to this topic, which will make the release timely and appealing to editors. If you have a book about attracting your ideal mate, put out a press release for it that ties into Valentine’s Day.

An online program about financial planning and minimizing your tax bill should be supported by a press release distributed around April 15. Tying your press release to current “hot topics” in the news increases the chances editors will publish it.

Break your press release down into multiple social media posts

Once you’ve completed your press release, repurpose your copy by breaking it down into a series of posts you can use to micro blog on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media forms.

Twitter now allows tweets to be 280 characters, so take advantage of this. Also, post all your press releases on your website. This adds fresh content to your site (which Google loves), and it enhances your standing as an authority in your field. It also shows visitors to your site that you have a lot going on.

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Will this post help you write press releases for your books and programs that get you additional publicity Please leave a comment and let me know!

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