Getting the word out about your company and services is key to having success in this industry. Creating and deploying a press release is one way to get the word out but may seem like a daunting task. It’s not as difficult as you may think.

This article is the final installment of articles on cracking the public relations code and it’s full of tips for creating press releases and getting the word out about your business and services.

Here are nine ways to improve your public relations effectiveness:

1. Hire A Freelance Writer To Pre-Write A Year’s Worth Of Press Releases. If you have trouble writing press releases, don’t try. Hire a PR agent or freelance writer and instruct him or her to write a year’s worth in advance. If you use a freelance, ask the writer about his journalism training. Make sure the writer knows how to write a newspaper article.

To create a year of press releases, start with a calendar of seasons and holidays. Identify any tie-ins with your products and services. Prepare press releases related to new hires, milestones you expect to attain during the upcoming year, and so on.

2. Quote Your Own Press Releases. Sometimes media sources run your press releases verbatim or with very few changes. This gives you the opportunity to quote the press release as printed in the media source. In other words, you’re quoting something you wrote about your company, but accurately attributing it to a third party, objective media source. See, PR can be fun!

Some editors will use your press release as it is written. Others will rewrite everything. You can increase the odds of an unaltered run by crafting your press release with a degree of moderation. In other words, do not make wild claims or editors may feel the need to strike.

3. Repurpose To Your Customers. When you issue a press release, consider sending a copy to your customers. If the press release runs in print media, by all means send copies to your customers. Just be sure to get permission from the publication. Some may require you to buy reprints. If they do, consider it a cost of business.

4. Repurpose To Your Vendors. Good ink for you reflects well on your vendors, or at least your salesperson. Bankers, suppliers, and other vendors are more likely to value your business if they see you getting positive press. So clue them in. Be sure to send copies of all articles.

5. Search The Internet To Find Local Publications. Take a day to search the Internet for community publications and websites. Don’t overlook small publications. Often the small publications have the fewest submissions.

Your search should include more than print media. Do not overlook the blogosphere. Some blogs are widely read and can lead to mainstream coverage. Identify local blogs and include them in your press release list.

6. Send Video Press Releases. Google’s acquisition of YouTube signified a change in the world of media. Essentially, YouTube (and a host of imitators) enabled companies to broadcast their own videos across the Internet. Produce something interesting enough and you can benefit from viral marketing. Produce something with the right tags and you might attract consumers looking for your services in your community.

7. Create A Podcast. Podcasts are a combination of the acronym for “Playable On Demand” and broadcast. Podcasts are digital audio files available over the Internet. People can play podcasts through their computers or subscribe through a podcatcher like iTunes so they automatically receive the podcast, and can download it to a music player.

You can record and offer podcasts to present weekly tips related to your business, how to guides, product/service information, or any other message. Certainly you can make podcasts out of your press releases simply by reading the same message you send to the newspapers.

8. Send Releases To PR Web. PR Web (www.prweb.com) is an Internet based press release distribution service. The site offers a range of services, from a $10 basic service up to a service costing several hundred dollars that places your story with the AP. If your time is limited, this can be a great way to get the word out.

9. Write Trade Press Articles And Repurpose. Being published in your industry’s trade press is a mark of expertise. To the layperson, it shows that you are an expert and leader in your field.

In my industries, the trade press publishes articles from consultants and vendors because they do not get enough submissions from practitioners. Your peers want to hear from you more than any consultant, marketer, salesperson, or other self-proclaimed expert. They want to hear from you. So write for them.

If you can’t get published in one of the major publications, write for a secondary
publication. If you can’t write, hire a PR agent to ghostwrite for you. If you can’t find a ghostwriter, but can supply good ideas, the editors will work with you. A good editor can make a near illiterate seem like Hemmingway.

Once the trade press publishes your article, repurpose it. Send reprints to your
customers. Use reprints in sales presentations. Pass them out at home shows. Host them on your website. Publication in the trade press positions you as the expert.

Matt Michel is president of the Service Roundtable www.ServiceRountable.com an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. This excerpt is from the book “Cracking The Pubic Relations Code,” by Matt Michel that can be downloaded for free from the Service Roundtable site. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at www.ComancheMarketing.com. You can contact him directly at matt.michel@serviceroundtable.com.
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