Press Releases & Media Advisories – How To Get Earned (FREE) Publicity

Identifying Topics – What Could You Write a Press Release About?

The short answer to that question is ANYTHING. But what is newsworthy?

Think about what your company is doing right now that you are excited about. Example: An Insanity workout instructor who is traveling to a conference where she will meet and work out with Shaun T, the creator of Insanity. Cool, right? And getting publicity could attract more people to her classes.

Connect a trend, study, social issue or current event to your business and area of expertise. Example: Real estate agent and home buying/selling trends, Local group knitting hats for political protests.Trends in consumerism, or studies on health topics.

A How-to or Check List in your area of expertise – Examples: Hula Hooping How To – (connect it to the circus being in town, then mention that your gym offers classes) Financial Planning tip list, scrapbooking tips from a consultant or paper supply store – create one page a month for a year – connect to National Scrapbooking Day.

Anniversaries, milestones – Celebrating a year in business or 10 years?, Reached a certain number of clients? Met a sales goal? New location or additional location?

Holidays/Seasons – President’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day Longest Day of the Year, Shortest Day. Seasonal Promotions/giveaways, Spring flowers, April Showers, Filing Taxes – financial planning, get fit for the summer, etc.

Awards, Recognition, Good Work in the Community. Supporting a Cause or Making a donation of product or services – Awareness Month such as February – Heart Association, Autism Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Awareness, Charitable donation. Example: a local Landscaping company that donated a tree to the park for Arbor Day – made a donation and did a good deed and was recognized in the newspaper with a photo.

The list goes on. Sponsoring an event or contest. New Business or Old business with something new to offer such as a new product or service. What are you doing that is innovative or unique? Launching a new website? Don’t Be Afraid to Toot Your Own Horn!

So, Once you decide on a topic to write a press release on, where do you start?

Think of the format as a funnel with the top being the most important information first.

Your Logo / Letterhead – contact person and phone number/email should be at the top.

For Immediate Release – Date

Headline – hook the reader in, why should they continue reading? Encapsulate the entire release and boil it down to 8-10 words. Leave out “and” – use a comma instead. Bolder and bigger than the rest of text but still on one line.

Subhead – A 2nd punch with a bit more information that expands on the headline – still bigger than the rest of body text but smaller than header.

Dateline – City/Town in caps – helpful to identify where the release is coming from.

Lead – Most important information first – who, what, where, when, why, how. Make the editor or reporter want to read more.

Body – a few sentences of description and detail. Paragraph of 2 to 3 sentences but no longer.

Quotes – add value and human interest. Attribute to a source, you or a satisfied client. Real words – how a person would speak. Fun, Quirky, heartfelt.

Boilerplate – One or two sentences about you and your company.

A call to action or request. – Close with a strong incentive for the reader.


One page is usually plenty.

Keep it brief and easy to digest. State if you have photos or graphics available that can be provided. A press release is not an advertisement so keep “I, You, We” out of it unless it’s in a quote. Stick to facts. No exclamation points! Avoid jargon – spell out acronyms on first reference if used.

Target to the most appropriate newspaper section editor (Business Editor/Lifestyles/Health) or to news director/assignment editor at TV stations. Newspapers, TV, Radio – Media websites list contact information to send press releases to as well as preferred format. Email. Phone follow-up. Local/National – TU or the AP? Magazines in your area of expertise.

Media Advisory – Short – who, what, where, when, why, with directions if applicable. Photo Opportunity. Send the day or two before an event to generate coverage.

Since it’s up to the media’s discretion, there’s no guarantee of coverage, but keep submitting. Strive to be timely. Connect your business to current events or social issues and make your press release or letter too interesting to pass up!

Tips for Impacting Your Community Through Charitable Events

Would you rather poke your eye out than plan another charitable event for your business to support?

Have you been down every marketing path & struggled with holding a successful event that tied in a charity? Are you a business owner or GM who wants to get your business name out there, but you don’t know where to start? You may be thinking that you have too many other things to do than to add a community-based or charity event to your plate. Will it be worth it for your business or will it be successful enough to even initiate?

We say yes! The positives usually far outweigh any stumbling blocks that you may encounter, and having a company culture of caring for your community is a win-win. You’ll raise money or awareness for an organization that needs your help, while motivating and creating a team-building atmosphere within your business. You will also increase awareness of your business, so that when local patrons need your product or service down the road, they will think of you first.

So where do you start?

First, hold a brainstorming session with your team or key employees. Together choose a charity that is established, but also one that isn’t so big that 25 other businesses in your area are supporting it already. Think outside the box a bit. Do you have a non-profit or organization that you are passionate about? Is there a non-profit that ties in with your product or service that would be a natural fit? For example, a hair salon may offer certain days during the month that are low cost or no cost haircuts to veterans or women re-entering the work force. A heating company may do a coat drive or a fund raiser to raise money for hats and mittens. Perhaps one of your key employees volunteers for an organization already and has an established connection. Choose the organization or charity that you would all get, and stay, excited about supporting. Also, ask your team if they have any friends or connections that may want to get involved. If there are other businesses that you would like to collaborate with, think about ways to tie them in that are mutually beneficial.

What Type of Event & With Who?

Next, what are you going to do for the charity? A food drive, a gala, a golf outing, a dinner cruise, brunch, fashion show, collect items….there are so many ways you can help. Set some goals and deadlines with your team and arrange a meeting with the organization that you would like to support. Directors of these non profits LOVE to get random phone calls from businesses like you saying that YOU would like to support them, help them get their name out and maybe raise some funds/items for them. Schedule a meeting with the Director and his/her team to sit down with your staff.

Tips For Planning Your Event

A few key things to remember…set realistic goals and dates. Remember to plan as far in advance as possible. Less than 90 days isn’t enough time. You will be busy running your business so you and your team are going to want to think ahead…plan now for what you will be doing at least 6 months out. Keep up the energy and motivation. Set monthly meetings or conference calls with your team and your charity. It’s important to determine who will do what going into an event so that tasks are claimed and followed up on. Reach out to the media and all of your friends, family and business contacts. Everyone likes to support a great charitable cause….they WILL need reminders…..lots of them. One email blast or one Facebook event won’t be seen by very many. Assume that 1 in 10 who say that they will attend or participate really will….so plan big, aim high and you will hit your goal. You may even surprise yourself!

Lastly, if the thought of planning an event start to finish still feels like a daunting task, give us a call. We have created multiple successful events and would LOVE to partner with you!

Tips For Wrapping Up The Year & Starting Fresh

With the Holiday season here and New Years just around the corner, It’s a great time to look back at your marketing efforts and plan for success in a new year. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Is your website still doing its job?

Take a look through your website and click through the pages; Try to view the pages from the eyes of a potential customer. Is the text clear and accurate? Has anything changed about your business this year in terms of products or services that are not reflected on your website? Take some time to update and refresh your website going into the New Year.

Did you meet your sales goals for the year?

Meeting your goals assumes that you’ve set them. Did you? And how are you measuring your success? In order to know how well you did or didn’t do, you first need a baseline measurement to compare to, whether that’s a monthly spreadsheet or a tally of how many widgets you sold each quarter. Knowing where you are and where you want to be is critical to planning your marketing strategy.

Do you have a marketing plan for the upcoming year?

The options for how to allocate your marketing dollars are many…commercial production and television advertising, email blasts, radio, pay-per-click advertising, print ads, social media, and the list goes on. Before you decide what to do for 2017, take a look at last year’s efforts. What worked and what didn’t? If you don’t know, then that is something to rectify this year because don’t you want to know whether you got a return on your investment? If you spent X dollars on a radio spot, do you know how many people bought your product or service as a result? How did you measure that? Are you tracking where leads come from? If you were running Facebook ads for a product campaign, did you check your analytics to see how many people clicked through to your website? Did you see a jump in sales? How many people converted to customers after you sent that email blast?

The answers to these questions should guide your decisions on how to allocate your marketing budget for the coming year. Some offerings, particularly the digital options, start booking well in advance for the year and inventory does run out, so planning ahead is recommended or you could miss out on a great way to market your business to a wider audience.

Have you thanked your customer base for their business?

If you haven’t already, wish your current customers a Happy New Year and thank them for their continued support of your business. You could also mention any exciting news and offer a coupon that encourages customers to visit in the first quarter of the New Year.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for Marketing Success in 2017!

Facebook: Can The Social Media Giant Work For Your Business?

Facebook has become a buzzed about topic when it comes to marketing. It provides a fun way to display your business and a unique opportunity to connect with your customers. It is also a land of un-chartered and ever-changing territory for many, which can make efforts overwhelming. So before diving into a campaign most people want to know how any social media effort can benefit their business.

Facebook Pages

Facebook pages are pretty much any business’ first stop on the social media train. Why? Well, Facebook is the largest social media platform, boasting 1.79 billion monthly users as of September 2016 (Facebook). With that many active users, it stands-to-reason that customers are chilling online with their friends. Knowing that target audiences are on the platform makes it easy to reach active buyers and integrate them into an online community. It also allows you to expand on this online community with those unfamiliar to your business. The best part – it’s free! By having an engaged audience comprised of your business’ fans your Facebook content spreads onto the newsfeeds of their friends with each interaction. It also brings the opportunity to showcase company culture and a business’ personality. People enjoy feeling involved in “moments.” By sharing moments of employees, office activities, and other fun features you provide a glimpse into work-life at your company and create connections.

Facebook Paid Ads

As with most things, once something free becomes a fad, there is monetization. The good news is Facebook ads are super affordable and can really maximize audience reach. Additionally, super-detailed targeting helps to reach ideal target audiences without spending a massive amount of money. Utilizing Facebook paid ads provides placement in the right hand column ads, audience network, and newsfeeds (desktop and mobile). Facebook also offers ad placement on Instagram for certain ad types. If a business doesn’t use Instagram and lacks an account, ads can still be run on the platform using your Facebook page. There are many measurable ad goals including video, event promotion, website clicks, offers, post engagement and more. The Facebook tracking pixel also make it much easier to track conversions and actions taken by users. This will give you insight to your audience, allow you to create custom audiences using these engaged users, and increase website retargeting with Facebook visitors.

Facebook has provided a place for people to connect and those active users continue to keep coming. Whether you are a restauranteur, car dealer, veterinarian, retailer, event planner, daycare operator, plumber, attorney or work in another profession, Facebook has plenty to offer when it comes to marketing and growing your business. It also allows business of any size a fair chance to find placement amongst a deluge of other content at an affordable price. With new platforms emerging and beginning to monetize, it seems that social media continues to be a marketing trend. Better to hop on this train now than miss it completely.

What is Inbound Marketing?

officeIn today’s fast-paced, ever-changing online landscape it is hard to nail down the best way to draw in new clients and customers. Plus, with all of the options a business has it can be confusing and time consuming to figure out. But it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn more about inbound marketing, how it benefits your business, and how to cut down on the time it takes.

By definition, inbound marketing is “the promotion of a company or other organization through blogs, podcasts, video, e-books, newsletters, white papers, SEO, physical products, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through different stages of the purchase funnel.” (Source: Wikipedia)

So, in other words, literally all online efforts are considered inbound marketing. However, if you read through the definition, that is an awful lot of content to create while also trying to run a business. That is why determining what you should focus on is the first thing you should do when deciding on an inbound marketing strategy. This will differ from business to business as services and products differ, as does your company personality. Inbound marketing allows a business the opportunity to showcase more than just specials and offers or a name. It’s an opportunity to show WHO your business is and to connect with your audience. So where should you start?


First things first – If you haven’t already done so, set up your website! While it may be time consuming and an added expense to set up a website, it is essential to have an internet home base for potential clients to learn about your business, products, and services. A website should be aesthetically inviting, but more importantly should be user-friendly. Nothing drives internet users crazier than convoluted webpages where multiple clicks are necessary in order to get to the information they came for.

Once the general website design and flow has been settled on, it’s time to beef up the pages and content. This is when blogging, video, podcasts – anything you can upload into your website – becomes a huge help. Adding supporting content to your more formal business content provides pieces that show off your company persona and knowledge; it also helps search engine ranking, provides shareable content for social media, and helps grow trust among your current and growing audience. Grow your catalog of blog entries and monitor feedback, either from analytics or directly from readers. Following the clues left by users, you can see what pieces your visitors are most interested in, helping you develop future content pieces that fit your audience’s needs. These ideas may come to your team organically as they write pieces as well. When this begins to happen, a business should consider “premium content” including white papers, e-books, or special offers.


White papers and e-books are many times offered as added value content. They can be presented through email blasts, offered at the end of blogs or through a click-to-download button on your website. While you have contact information for users you are email blasting, the other two options provide a unique opportunity to harvest information on new leads. When providing an offer through your website, social media post or banner ad, the click through should bring the user to a specific customized landing page for the offer. The page should consist of an overview of the content a user can expect in return for filling out and submitting the information form. The form can be as basic as submitting a name and email, to detailed information or questions that shed light on why the lead is interested in the information.


Another focus for many businesses is a social media presence. Businesses that have an active social media presence generate higher converting leads. Per Hootsuite “nearly 75 percent of companies that engaged in selling on social media reported an increase in sales in 12 months.” In addition to having higher sales, social media provides the opportunity to enhance the customer experience, gain insights on your audience, run economical paid ads that are targeted specifically to certain users, and to have some fun! Share fun photos of company culture, run trivia contests or giveaways, and celebrate holidays. Social media is incredibly personal so use that experience and show what makes your company unique, all while promoting your brand and product or services. Of course some material will work better on certain platforms than others, but a simple adjustment in strategy will actually streamline your plan and eliminate wasted time. As long as you are serving up content that users are looking for on the proper platform, you should see a high engagement rate and conversions that follow.

No matter how you structure your inbound marketing program the main focus should be providing simple and informative content in an easy-to-use package. When even small efforts are made to grow the internet footprint of a business, changes will come. You don’t have to roll out an entire inbound plan all at once; Roll it out in stages that make inbound marketing a compliment to your business. Keep your focus on user-friendliness, quality content, and fostering a community, and your inbound plan will start delivering sooner rather than later.