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How To Write A Press Release

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Written by Joan Stewart   

Gone are the days, finally, when the success of a press release you've written is determined by how many journalists deem the releases worthy of their time and attention.

Houston publicist Sharon Dotson, president of Bayou City Public Relations, knows that better than anybody.

Sharon says a press release she wrote for her client, Disc Inc., a Houston data conversion and recovery company, explained how the company duplicates CD and DVD labels that print as beautifully as silkscreen, but in small quantities. But apparently that isn't an interesting enough story for the local daily newspaper or business journal. Not even the local business magazines.

So is Sharon in trouble with the client? No way.

When people search the Internet using the keywords "CDs and DVD labels," the search engines are finding the press release online and bringing plenty of new customers to the company's doorstep. That's because Sharon used that phrase in the headline, in the first paragraph and throughout the release.

"Before I started doing the press releases for Disc Inc., their website wasn't on the first page of Google anything," Sharon said. "Not true anymore. The press releases are now on the first page for relevant keywords."

"How to write a press release" rules have changed

In the old days, we wrote press releases only for journalists. Today, smart PR people write press releases to attract buyers, not only journalists, and post them online.

Buyers who find your press release online can click on the link within the release that leads them to your website. And they can buy products and services you offer, even if a newspaper hasn't published the press release.

And if the media eventually cover the story?

As Sharon says: "Well, that's just gravy."

Here's how the rules for writing press releases have changed:

--We no longer write press releases only when we have "legitimate" news that we think is worthy of media attention.

--We no longer have to use the "who, what, when, where and why" formula high in the press release.

--We no longer have to write short press releases.

--No longer do we have to consider a press release a failure if it gets no media attention. If it brings people into our sales funnel, we can proclaim the release a success.

--Under the new rules, we don't measure the success of our releases by the number of clippings it has generated but by whether the press release has been able to change people's behavior.

Free tutorial and sample press releases show you how

My free email course called "89 Ways to Write Powerful Press Releases"shows you how to write direct-to-consumer press releases for the Internet--press releases that even the media will love.

Every day for 89 days in a row, I'll give you one lesson, delivered via email, on how to write and distribute a press release. Each day, I'll also give you one opportunity to write a release. For example, if you're rolling out a new product, that's one opportunity. Each day's lesson will take you just a few minutes to read. You'll also see lots of sample press releases, including sample press releases that were rewritten and improved.

By the time you're done, you'll learn everything you need to start writing releases not only for journalists, but for the end user. And I'll show you how to use your press releases to change people's behavior. That is, to encourage people to do whatever you want them to do: buy a tickets to your event, make a donation, test-drive your new product, see your catalog at your website, visit you at a trade show, or whatever.

You'll see sample press releases for books, sample press releases for events, sample press releases for products, sample press releases for services, sample press releases for causes, and sample press releases for issues, and lots more. And you'll get tips from some of the very best publicists, PR practitioners and Publicity Hounds on the planet. In fact, Sharon's release about the the CDs and DVD labels is one of the sample press releases featured in the course.

You can start the tutorial at any time, and you can opt out of it at any time. Each week, I'll concentrate on one specific aspect of press releases. The sample press releases are sprinkled throughout the course.

Spread the word about this press release writing course

Bloggers and ezine publishers should tell their readers about this course. If you work for a trade association, let your members know about this course. Companies can share this with their public relations departments. If you have a publicist or a PR agency that does your publicity, be sure to let them know about my tutorial. Be sure you show them the sample press releases and the "before" and "after" makeovers.

I've had a blast creating the press release course, and I can hardly wait to share it with you.

Direct comments or questions about this article, including requests for reprint rights, to:

Joan Stewart
The Publicity Hound
3434 County KK
Port Washington, WI 53074
Phone: 262-284-7451