Article by: MaryEllen | Thursday, July 1, 2010

By Tatyana Gann

A few months ago my friend James Holmes invited me to do a special VIP training on how to build a list with press releases. He asked me if it was effective compared to other list-building methods, and how a business owner with little marketing knowledge could write a press release to attract buyers and new clients.

Press releases are not only my passion but my bread and butter!

A while back I wrote a training lesson on how to write a press release for a home business where I showed a step-by-step formula of what it takes to create powerful online publicity.

I shared my story of generating 5 million views to my press release in 11 months. The funny thing is that press release was not perfect. It was far from being perfect. However, my readers felt passion about what I was promoting. It did not sound like promotion, but was told like a story. I learned to be a story teller to my customers. They listened. They contacted me and we had real, genuine conversations. Of course not every press release I wrote got so many views but press releases are still my favorite method.

Press releases are not old fashioned!

Press releases are considered one of the most forgotten marketing methods by small business owners, but in reality are one of the most proven marketing and lead generation methods. Most online marketers are looking for more sophisticated methods (ppc, seo methods) or trendy marketing such as youtube, twitter and facebook. Those are all good, but not enough in my opinion. Press releases can be a good addition to what an online marketer does on a daily basis. You can write a press release for your home business in less than hour and see results in the next few hours. Pretty powerful!

The excuse I hear so often, “Tatyana, I do not know how to write a press release,” is a pretty lame excuse. Everyone can write. WHY? Because every day we share news, announcements or even gossips with our friends, family, church members and our business colleagues. We forget how natural it is for us to share the news or events that occurred in the past few days or months. Google loves rich content that is natural and has good flow, and it will crawl its content with its powerful spiders.

How can we write press releases that are not only good content-rich editorials but also bring quality traffic and buyers for our product or business?

First of all, you need to understand how to write a press release using The 5 W’s Principles: Where, Why, Who, When and What. Once you grasp the idea that a press release is not about selling, but is more of announcing events, products and people stories, you will be able to do it with ease – as if you are telling or reading a story to your child. A press release is about presenting solutions to a reader that are compelling enough for them to contact you right away! Be a story teller and you will be more trusted!

Here is my Press Release Formula laid out in 11 simple steps:

1. Determine what you are going to write about. It could be an event with your company, your personal achievements, announcement of the partnership with a particular company, etc. Tell a story that is compelling!

2. Research keywords you want to target. Make sure they are buying keywords not some generic keywords. You want to use keywords that a customer or a business seeker would be looking for on Google or other search engines. I recommend you use services such Web CEO, Marketing Samurai or WordTracker. They are great tools.

3. Make sure your press release is about 5-6 paragraphs of 4-5 sentences each to make it easier for you than counting words. Keep the overall total close to 500 words!

4. Use two important keywords in the title or headline, and then include a summary of your press release. Repeat the headline sentence in the summary, and again in the first paragraph.

5. Put the main keywords you plan to use to the left of each paragraph and hyperlink the keywords to your personal site or a blog. That will help with optimization. Do not overuse your keywords. Create natural flow of keywords without too much repetition and ensure they are relevant to what you say. Use ONLY 2 primary keywords per press release.

6. Include a link to your website with a compelling offer to get your FREE report, free ebook, or free consulting session. And also include your website’s information for media contacts. Do not forget these two important sections in the press release, which I call “Magic Calls To Action.”

7. After you write and review your press release, you need to submit it to online press release distribution sites. Some sites are free and some will offer paid options.

8. Submit your press release to social bookmarking sites such as digg, technorati, stumbleupon and more. I recommend a service called “Social Marker.”

9. Share with your friends and business colleagues via Twitter, Facebook or forums. Ask them to share the release with their friends, and ask them to leave comments after reading the press release. Remember comments are very important for search engines to crawl your press release and get more exposure! The press release I mentioned earlier that got so much traffic had many comments that turned into heated debates – and it was actually fun because it allowed me to post my answers and create more curiosity among my viewers. I was receiving calls about my business every day just from my press releases online.

10. Write a press release at least once a week, and if time allows, more often. Just imagine you will collect over 50 press releases in one year. Talk about incredible online presence!

11. Make sure you share press releases on Twitter and Facebook. Twitter loves news. This is YOUR news. Make sure you share it! Plus it gives great traffic to your press release for FREE… Ask people to re-tweet and share with others…syndication is very important… I personally recommend Katie Freiling’s The Unified Tribe social media platform to syndicate content.

The last tip: Take your press release and distribute offline. Find local companies that can include your editorials in their local newspapers or magazines. You can even find good national publications that will accept your articles as contributions to their community. Do your own research and discover targeted publications. If you write about the real estate crisis, find popular real estate publications. If you want to promote your business, find magazines like “Who is Who” that will give options to submit articles about you and what you do.

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Tatyana Gann is an online PR consultant, a business coach, a professional business connector, a mom of two great boys and an amazing hostess. To get instant access to Tatyana’s free tips on Online PR methods, business and creative marketing ideas, subscribe to her “Online PR Traffic” newsletter.