By Peggy Bekavac Olson
Payment companies frequently ask me how they can promote their businesses so people know who they are and what they do. Marketing takes time and effort. As I've written previously, repetition using one or more marketing communications vehicles is key (for example, see "The remarkable results of repetition, repetition," The Green Sheet, Sept. 12, 2011, issue 11:09:01).
One effective approach to getting the word out about your company is utilizing public relations - especially press releases - to attract favorable media attention. Press releases can be a cost-effective marketing tool generating publicity and increased awareness to build credibility and enhance the image of your business.
Press releases can quickly and efficiently reach the masses while also spreading your message to targeted audiences, such as global media, analysts, investors, industry trade publications, social networkers, bloggers, customers and prospects. Press releases also provide valuable inbound links to drive traffic to your company's website and raise search engine rankings.
Information about a variety of newsworthy topics can be conveyed through press releases, including showcased products and services; personnel promotions and new hires; company awards celebrations, milestones and other accomplishments; financial information, funding sources and corporate changes; and upcoming events such as tradeshows and webinars.
A well-written press release provides reporters with the basic building blocks and information to develop news stories. Press releases follow a standard format that contains these elements:
Paid distribution stands head and shoulders above free distribution. So for important press releases, use a paid newswire distribution service such as PRNewswire, Business Wire or PRWeb.com to obtain the widest possible coverage, along with detailed reporting. For less critical press releases, it's OK to use reputable free distribution services such as PR.com, PRLog or NewswireToday.
You can also send a press release directly to newspaper and magazine editors by pasting it into an email so editors don't have to click and open an attachment. It's desirable to build relationships with key journalists in your target markets. So a follow-up telephone call asking politely for coverage never hurts.
Another great way to expand and amplify reach is to post releases on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. And don't forget to add your press releases in a timely fashion to your own company website and blog. If your press releases are unique, interesting and newsworthy, they will be picked up by one or more media outlets for publication in journals, posting on websites, or airing on radio and television, and more. You may even be contacted for more information or an interview.
Surely the most important factor for public relations success is the content of your press releases. What you write about your company - the actual news - has the most impact on getting a press release found, seen and shared. Good content well presented, appropriately distributed and followed-up on should be your goal and mantra.
Remember the importance of repetition. Distributing a steady stream of press releases is a good way to attract favorable media attention and get the word out about your company.
So give it a whirl and experience what the power of publicity can do for your business.
Peggy Bekavac Olson founded Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payment companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.
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