Online Press Releases: A Successful Strategy for Businesses

There are many reasons why online press releases are a great tool for small to medium businesses. Because of the current state of the economy, many businesses are cutting back on advertising, making online press releases lead the way as the most viable way of publicising products and services.

According to recent studies, over 70% of people will search the internet to find a local service. In addition, 61% of people now go online to find the latest news. This means that when it comes to finding out about products and services, people will look online to learn about services, meaning that, to some extend advertising on it's own will rarely be enough to entice customers.

In addition, this points to the credibility of online press releases in comparison to advertising. This is because this method doesn't rely on shouting about a business, but tells a story and connects with a particular target audience.

For this reason a professionally release has authority over advertising as it newsworthy and credible. Furthermore potential customers appreciate something informative in helping them gain more knowledge about a specific service or product.

It is clear that online PR can make a vast difference to any business in securing potential clients. In light of the popularity and accessibility of the internet, many businesses are investing in publicising their brand and building their name through the medium of online press releases.

The recent demand for online PR reflects the growing use of online media and news distribution. Unlike the more well known strategy of promoting through newspapers and magazines, online press releases are likely to be seen by a far greater number of people, giving businesses the opportunity to publicise their brand quickly and effectively.

As well as being a great method of publicising products and services, online press releases have other advantages too. They can greatly improve SEO by using targeted keyword and phrases, helping businesses climb up the search engine rankings.

Best of all, unlike advertising or traditional press, an online release has long term benefits. As a story gains momentum online, it is syndicated across other sites, building backlinks and in return attracting more traffic to a business's website.

More traffic means more new visitors, making online press releases an extremely cost effective tool in both attracting potential clients and raising any business's online presence. Despite the great advantages of online releases, many business are missing out on all the great benefits that come from utilising this simple and effective tool.

This is because of the common misconception that in order to benefit from a press release, a business needs to have some big news. However when it comes to news about a business, a bit of creativity can generate plenty of news.

The Value of a Consistent Press Release Strategy

Many company owners and managers put out an occasional press release about a remarkable event or sale. They feel that more PR's than that would be a waste of time and money. They could not be farther from the truth. In reality, putting out press releases consistently provides major benefits for any business.

Get Your Message Out

Press releases give you the opportunity to keep your target audience informed about your business. You may not think you have any news to tell. Remember that news amounts to facts that people do not know. Unless everyone already knows everything about your business at all times, you definitely have something to say.

More Positive Exposure Means More Business

PR's should be newsworthy, but they should also contain positive information about your company. Your company image will improve quickly if you have releases on the web frequently. Every time you make another announcement to the world, more people read or hear about you.

If you have presented online consumers with something that interests or intrigues them, they will visit your website. Many will make purchases once on your site. Constant positive exposure brings in a steady flow of website traffic and much higher sales potential.

Why Waste Your Time with Infrequent Press Releases?

Occasional press releases just do not work. The problem with only putting out announcements now and then is that they cannot help you build the reputation of your company. One release by itself makes a very small impact, if any. You might as well throw away your money and time.

Monthly PR's Make an Impact

Make your press releases monthly or more often. Many successful companies press once a week. It is not generally productive to have any less than every other month. A consistent press release strategy will put your company into the limelight for online consumers.

Outsource It

With a great deal of hard work and research, you can learn to write a press release yourself. A much more efficient method is to outsource the task to a pro. The service is not expensive considering how much time it would take for you to do it yourself. Your time as a company leader is valuable, so it is important to spend it doing what you do best.

PR's are among the most efficient and effective ways of promoting your business. It pays to do them justice. Give solid information, keep up a steady flow of press releases and find an experienced writer to do the work.

Put out press releases regularly. You will introduce yourself to more consumers and keep them interested in your latest news. If you create a solid press strategy using expert writers, you will have more time to work on your business and more customers to serve.

Strategic Planning - The Top 10 Ways to Ruin Your Business Strategy

Many small business owners struggle with the concept of business strategy. They never seem to be able to get it clarified or to work a strategy consistently. If you are having trouble working a business strategy for your small business, let's look at the top ten ways to ruin your business strategy.

1) Have no clue what a strategy is.

Avoid learning about strategies and strategic planning. Decide that it's "too hard" to understand. Make sure that you never take time to figure out strategic planning.

2) Never take time to plan.

You're too busy running the business anyway. Make sure that you do EVERYTHING so there's no time to plan. Who has the time to plan? There's always all that "firefighting" and rearranging the deck chairs to be done. If you took time to plan, you'd have to commit to doing important things, instead of cleaning your office.

3) Make a strategy but NEVER execute it.

Print it up neatly and put it on the shelf with neat lettering on the binder spine. Don't take the first step or a single action. Feel guilty every time you look at that binder, but forget about it the rest of the time.

4) Believe that your business will be just fine without your working strategically.

You get a thrill from the whole "flying by the seat of the pants" approach and you don't want to plan, or think in advance about what you want to accomplish with your business. You're content to "take what comes".

5) Believe that "being overwhelmed" is an effective way to run a business.

Don't ever get to the point where planning in advance is the surest way not to end up overwhelmed. Consider "burnout" to be a necessary evil and pretend that you have no control over the overwhelming factors of your business.

6) Don't keep your focus on your strategy.

Be distracted by "crises", daily life, "the economy", business news, or client problems. Let anything take you off track. Stay emotionally upset and non-productive.

7) Don't take daily strategic action.

Just occasionally take some small action. Be sure you aren't consistent enough to develop momentum or get results. Never put your strategic activities first. Don't "calendar" strategic actions. Don't think about or plan when you can do needed strategic planning or action.

8) Never get professional input into your strategy.

Come up with a strategic plan that you "just know" will work, but don't run it by a marketing professional, mastermind or entrepreneurial consultant. Take the attitude that you know everything about strategy, no matter how little you've studied or researched.

9) Market to a "fantasy market" that only exists in your imagination.

Insist that hordes of people demand what you offer - though reality doesn't validate this. Refuse to bend about your target market convictions - no matter what your actual results are. Build your whole strategy around this fantasy.

10) Never create a long-term strategy.

Instead work on short-term plans and don't think about or plan for the future. After all, nothing you do will have any effect on the future so why bother to do long-range strategic planning?

Now you know the top ten ways to ruin your business strategy. Essentially, they have to do with never working strategically, or putting strategic planning first for your business.

Suzi Elton provides business writing that attracts targeted prospects to your service business and converts them into clients for you. She is a Robert Middleton Certified Action Plan Marketing Coach, as well as a professional writer. Her website offers a free series of 8 assessments you can use to analyze your own site.

Creating A Company Communications Plan

"What we've got here is a failure to communicate" - from the movie, Cool Hand Luke

Fire. Aim. Ready. If this is your communications may want to read on.

Amazingly, many companies do not think about communications - both internally and externally - until it is a necessity. A crisis occurs, a reaction follows and in many cases, they do not necessarily put the best foot forward. A strategic communications plan should be a part of your overall business plan and can provide the company clarity that is required in both good times and bad. Developing the process for delivering your communications on an ongoing basis is critical in order to maintain a consistent message as well as a continuous forum from which to communicate.

Even small companies (less than 10 employees) can have an effective communications strategy that enables them to articulate company news efficiently. In the case of my company, my website acts as the key repository of "everything" and all news information emanates to Twitter, LinkedIn,Facebook and YouTube. This helps organize information and helps to create a cohesive communications strategy - even for a small company.

Once you have the basic distribution structure in place, developing the content is the next critical task. Rather than just develop news "willy-nilly", ensure that a well-thought through strategy is in place regarding content development. Timing and sequencing of topics are critical to having your audience "stay with you". There will still be ample opportunities to infuse "new" content as it is warranted - these items are just icing on the cake. Let's take a look at the core elements of an overall strategic communications plan:

Don't Be Afraid Of The Media: The first step is getting over the intimidation with the media. There sure not be any fear in dealing with the media - they have a job to do and often arelooking for news. Help them! Next, develop a list of all key media contacts and get their email address. Be proactive with your contacts in order to create a relationship in advance. In addition, target specific industries that would be beneficial for your business. Over time, your goal should be to enhance your company image through communications as this helps soften distressing news and provides accessibility for interviews. Lastly, develop reasons for meeting the media and build those relationships.

Create News Releases: Once you have established your media contact list, begin to develop news content. Keep in mind that news information may have to be tailored for each of your audiences, but the core message should stay the same. Determine what elements are critical and conclude your news release with a consistent "boilerplate" that provides a quick paragraph on your company. Lastly, determine how the news release will be communicated and by whom.

Employees And Stakeholders: Another set of audiences to include within your strategic communications, would be both employees and/or stakeholders. Keeping your internal teams informed is vital in order to permeate your communications throughout your entire organization. There is nothing worse than having misinformed employees and stakeholders attempting to communicate your vision.

Communicate To Key Vendors: Oft-overlooked is proactively communicating to your vendors. Many company owners feel compelled to keep vendors in the dark in order to keep them at arms length. I have always had the philosophy that a vendor works better on your behalf if they understand how their role fits in your overall communication strategy. The more they are informed, the better decisions they can make to enhance their support of your brand.

Internet/Intranet Media Kit: In years past, having a hard copy media kit - press releases, biographies of senior management, news items, etc. - was an excellent way of putting your company in a nice, neat "package". Today, websites can act as the media kit and allow for flexibility in real time to post updates on your company. In addition, your website expands your reach far more effectively than hard-copy media kits. Save the dough and go electronic.

Media Policy Handbook: Lastly, if more than one person manages your communications or if you simply just want to have greater structure within your organization, consider developing a media policy handbook. This guide can come in handy in order to develop consistency in dealing with the media, particularly if there is a crisis. Crisis management tests the mettle of any organization and "winging" how the company manages a crisis only exacerbates the situation.

Creating and managing a strategic communications plan requires upfront work. Once in place, communicating a consistent message will not only be effortless, but highly productive. The media, employees, stakeholders and vendors will all be singing from the same songbook, which ultimately translates into your customers being well-informed about your company and brand.