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Business Report #8

When is a Press Release Not a Press Release?

Publishers have told me that they receive a lot of "so-called" Press Releases to run in their publications. The only problem is, the Press Release is written like a high-pressured sales pitch for a product or service.

What's wrong with this picture? Well if you are a person asking that question please take a moment to read this article. It is written for your benefit.

A Press Release is a NEWS story about your product. It IS NOT a sales pitch. There is a distinct difference because a sales pitch often can be an irritation whereas a news story helps the reader learn something to benefit them, which leads to your company having the perfect solution to the problem.

Think about it yourself for a moment. Do you know anybody that loves watching hours and hours of television commercials? Even QVC and The Home Shopping Club on TV get boring after awhile. They contain one high-pressured sales pitch after another. So much so, that most people get sick of watching them. (Is there anyone in the world that rushes home just to watch The Home Shopping Club? If so, please stand up!)

And don't you just hate sitting down to watch that football game, Oprah Winfrey or the featured movie of the evening, only to spend 1/4 of that time watching television commercials? Of course! High-pressured sales pitches are tiring to watch, let alone spending time reading about.

How about the magazines you buy? Would you buy them if the only thing printed inside was page after page of advertisements only? Of course not. You buy it to read articles related to your interests and to learn something to benefit your life.

In other words there is a time and a place for advertisements and commercials. But there is no room for them in a Press Release. Besides, if you submit one like this to a publisher, it appears like you are cheap and are attempting to get free advertising. (Remember, the publication normally has enough people who have PAID for their ads. Press Releases therefore are needed to provide real information so the reader can learn something not bore them with another advertisement.)

Now don't get your feelings hurt. I realize that some people don't know how to slant their writing for a Press Release to conform to newsworthy content. So it's time you learned before sending any more to the publishers. And the best place to learn is from the newspapers and magazines you buy.

But to help you get started, let's use the following example: Let's say Betty just joined Ocean Int'l and wants to try and start building her downline. Instead of using an advertisement to write a Press Release, Betty should call the company first and see if they have a Press Release already written. If not, Betty should start composing her Press Release as a testimonial of her experience with the product. This is NEWS!

Finally, after Betty tells how Ocean Int'l has changed her life, she ends the Press Release with a small paragraph inviting people interested in the product to contact her personally or to write for additional information. Yes, this small paragraph at the end is the only sales pitch in your Press Release. The other 98% is filled with information to inform the reader.

If you follow my advice, you will find the next time you submit your Press Release to a publisher that it will be used and appreciated. The publisher will be happy to offer something newsworthy to his/her readers. Besides, you don't appear as a cheapskate and this builds a good, solid base of customers.