You Shouldn’t Fear Writing a Press Release

All our press releases

Image by Christopher S. Penn via Flickr

Taken from Writerstopia Magazine, Dec. 2011 – with permission

The word “Press Release” seems to scare most people to death. On top of that not many people take the time to even think of writing their own Press Release. We hope this brief article will help clear up some of the mysteries surrounding this simple form of marketing.

The first thing you have to remember is that a Press Release is a “news” item. It needs to “inform” people, NOT sell them something. For example, you are reading this report because you want to learn something that will BENEFIT YOU. You aren’t reading it just so you can buy something else. If money is the driving force in your business – you won’t go too far. Your main goals should be in pleasing customers, providing them with a high-quality product and more than their money’s worth. The trick is to do all this while still making money. People don’t care what mountains you had to climb, what seas you had to cross or what tribe of people you had to learn the ways of just to find a secret formula. Instead – they want to know WHAT the secret formula is.

The sales circulars you print and mail sell your product. A Press Release informs others about your product. Instead of your main objective being to sell the product and have the customer send in an order immediately, a Press Release informs the customer exactly how your product will benefit their lives. This must be conveyed in the form of a “newsworthy” Press Release. If you have a sales circular to sell a product, you can easily turn it into a Press Release without much difficulty. It’s just a new marketing angle of presenting your product to the public.

The following is an example of a typical Press Release for a publishing service:

So many people are entering the mail order market these days, but so many of them are getting ripped-off by a bunch of hype. People are promised untold riches in a short period of time. The hype ads play with their emotions by making them believe it’s so easy to make money through the mail. It’s sad.

However, a new book has just been released to help solve these problems for the average person. For the first time in history – a REAL directory has been compiled listing the ACTUAL name and addresses of 179 honest and trustworthy mail order folks. People can write DIRECTLY to these people and receive FREE information to get them started in their own business now!

It’s unbelievable. Without trying to sell you anything else, you can get this book for only $4.95 – a price anyone can afford. Meet the real mail order dealers who care about their products and want to help you get started doing what they are doing.

Only available from Graphico Publishing, PO Box 488, Bluff City TN 37618.

As you can see, this is a short but sweet Press Release – however, you should be able to see the “newsworthiness” in it. Its main focus is on the fact that most people get ripped-off when they start their first mail order business. The solution to this problem is a new directory that is available for the first time in history. The “sale” is slowly led into because the reader will naturally want to get their hands on this one. It doesn’t ask for money it only tells the reader how to get a copy if they want one.

Here’s a great test for a real press release. Since your final sales pitch is included in the last paragraph – read the Press Release aloud. Would it still be worth reading WITHOUT your sales pitch? If so, it’s probably a Press Release.

Press Releases come in many forms due to the product you are writing about.

However, the basic rule of thumb still applies. If you’ve never wrote one before – it may be a little difficult. Don’t despair. Grab the latest daily newspaper and read some of their informational articles. Notice how each article is written and pattern yours after the same format. After you do a few of them – you’ll be able to “get the picture.”

When your Press Release is written to your satisfaction, the proper way to submit it to a publisher is: Be sure and type it on a typewriter or computer.  Standard format is double-spaced and not longer than two 8 1/2×11 pages. Be sure and put your name, address and page number at the top of each page.

Write the note: “For Immediate Release” at the top. If you are only sending the press release to one publication – tell them it’s a “first run.”

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

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A Copywriter’s How To: Five Easy Tips to Write A Perfect, Selling Ad

Hi everybody, headline goes here please

Image by reinvented via Flickr

Yes, I’m extemporizing . I’m a writer, it’s a habit.

But seriously, a perfect, selling ad? I lied. There’s no such animal as the perfect, works-every-time, selling ad. But I got you to read this far, didn’t I? That was the title’s purpose — see Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline.

However, I didn’t lie about these tips, though. They’re easy and fun to use.

Tip One: who’s the reader? (Or viewer, or listener if you’re writing for broadcast.)

Although you’re writing for a crowd, it’s easiest to write if you imagine you’re talking to one particular person.

You can even start writing your first draft with a salutation, as if you were writing a letter: Start with “Dear Elli”, and keep writing.

Who is this person? Is she old, young, married? Where does she live? What’s her life like? What does she want most? What’s she scared of? Why would she be interested in your product? What difference would it make in her life?

Professional copywriters spend a lot of time in this phase of the writing process. You can’t motivate someone if you don’t know who they are.

Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline

Your headline is vital. No one is looking for your ad. You’ve got to wave and yell at them to get their attention. If you don’t get their attention, no sale.

Write a trial headline to get yourself started. This probably won’t be the headline you’ll use. However, with a trial headline, you’ve got a corral for your copy. You’re writing to that headline.

When you’ve written a draft of the ad, force yourself, with a timer, to write another twenty headlines in five minutes. (Read the rest of the tips and write the benefits and the response before you write a draft.)

Don’t try too hard. Who cares if they’re all junk? You’re writing lots of headlines to get your subconscious mind to take you seriously, and throw up the PERFECT headline. You’ll never achieve this perfect headline with conscious thought. It’s a gift from your subconscious, but you have to goose it into cooperating.

You may find a headline you like more than your initial headline. Just substitute it, if it fits. If it doesn’t you can write another version of the ad to fit that headline’s concept.

Tip Three: Write the features first, then work out what the benefits are

Nobody buys a product (or a service) for its own sake. They buy because it benefits them in some way. The benefits are what you’re selling.

  • You’re not selling a German shepherd puppy; you’re selling an intelligent, loyal companion and family protector.
  • You’re not selling a car; you’re selling travelling comfort, prestige, and a sure-fire babe-magnet.
  • You’re not selling a book; you’re selling the adventure of a lifetime, love, romance, and sex.

To get a handle on this, take a sheet of paper and briefly list the features of your product or service on the left.

Then beside the feature, write the corresponding benefit that each feature provides.

Remember — use the benefits in your ad.

Tip Four: Don’t forget the response!

I’ve lost count of the number of ads I’ve seen everywhere from the Yellow Pages to full display ads costing thousands in magazines, where the copywriter and everyone else forgot the response.

You must tell the reader what you want him to do. You must ask for the sale. Ask the reader to do something: call a number, come into the store, or go to a Web site.

This is so important that when I’m writing an ad I always write the required response on a sticky note and tape it to a corner of my monitor. I tape it onto the screen itself, so I can’t miss it. (Yes, I have been guilty of forgetting the response. And very embarrassing it was too.)

Tip Five: Read it out loud

You’ve finished the final draft of your ad. Before you show it to anyone else, read it aloud.

You’ll pick up redundancies, awkward sentence construction and other gremlins when you read the copy aloud.

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

The Perfect Partnership – You and Your Publisher

In the last post I told you about writing a proposal in order to accomplish two things. The first being, “whether you had a book worth writing” and the second thing was getting paid to write the book. Now let’s talk about the reason you really need your proposal and how it affects your relationship with your new business partner – your publisher.

When you work with a publisher, remember, the publisher’s business is selling books. The company acquires books which it hopes will sell, and sell well. Your publisher is putting up the money to publish your book, so you need to approach the project from his point of view as well as your own.

Publishers sell books on consignment. Publishers’ ship books to bookshops, and if a book isn’t sold within a certain time period, it’s destroyed. The bookseller strips the cover from the book and sends the cover to the publisher for a full credit. This is the “return“. If a title doesn’t sell, the publisher takes a beating. As you can imagine, publishers are no keener to lose money than you or I.

The reason I’m bringing this up now is that you must keep this “return” thing in the back of your mind when you create your book proposal. Why you may ask? The answer is simple; it means that your proposal needs to emphasize the ways in which you, as the writer, will take responsibility for the book’s success.

You will try to ensure the success of your book by gauging the marketplace. You will work out who the likely buyers of your book might be, and the reasons they will have for paying good money for your book. You’ll assess the competition for your book. You’ll work out ways in which you can promote your book, so that people hear about it. You’re in partnership with your publisher, and if you’re prepared to take responsibility for that role, the publisher will be much more likely to buy your proposal.

Until next time,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Sell Your Book the Easy Way

If you’ve dreamed of writing a book but weren’t sure of where to start or even if you were good enough to write a book; there’s great way to find out if you’ve got the “write stuff”. Okay all puns aside, writing a book is the easy part, the hard part is trying to sell you book. But the best part of book writing is that you don’t need to write your book before you get some money! That’s right you didn’t misread.

You can honestly get paid to write a book before it’s even written. It’s easily possible to make a fast $20,000, or more. There have been instances when authors have made seven figures — over a million dollars for only twenty pages of text.  It sounds incredible, but a fast seven figures is certainly possible if you have a HOT, hot idea or have had an experience that hundreds of thousands of people want to read about.

The magic money in question is called an advance. It’s the money a publisher will give you prior to you writing the book.

The next thing that should have come into your mind is “how do you get a publisher to do that; pay you the advance?” Well, the answer is, you write a book proposal.

This is why before you write your book (especially non-fiction books) you write a proposal.  A book proposal is the business plan for book writers. Okay that’s the simplified way to think of one, granted most business owners don’t like writing business plans but without one, you will fail in business. The same is said of book proposals. They focus you on your topic, help you formulate the most important things that a publisher wants to see – your marketing strategy and the bottom-line of how you plan to recoup the money the published is spending on you and to whom you are selling the book to.

Writing a proposal is the smart way to write a book. It’s the way professional writers sell non-fiction. Selling a book on a proposal is much easier than selling a book that you’ve already written. A book proposal is a complete description of your book. It contains the title, an explanation of what the books about, an outline of chapters, a market and competition survey, and a sample chapter. A publisher will read your proposal, assess its feasibility, cost it, and if it looks as if the publisher will make money, the publisher will pay you to write the book. When you’ve sold your proposed book to a publisher, your role doesn’t end with writing your book. You’re in partnership with your publisher to ensure the book’s success. If you do your part, both you and your publisher will make money

A book proposal functions in the same way as any business proposal does: you’re making an offer to someone you hope to do business with. It will be treated by publishers in the same way that any business investor or financial institution treats a business plan or business proposal.  The proposal is the roadmap that helps you to not only sell your book; it helps you write your book. So before you sit down and pen one thing, sit down and create your book proposal.

If you’ve never written a book proposal for, visit Writerstopia.com, the publication for self-publishing and independent authors, click on the “Writer’s Radio” tab and click on the free download link, and you’ll receive a courtesy copy of “Dr. Ande’s How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Days.”

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Creating Booklets Let’s You Make Money Writing “How To” Guides

If you want to make money, exercise creativity and help others, then you should invest some time in writing the basic “How To” guide.  It’s something anyone can produce, and with all the proper ingredients at the right time, you can make a proper living with.  The hard part, of course, is getting all the proper ingredients at the right time.

Your basic “ How to Guide” is usually two pages in length, sells for $3, and outlines instructions, details, or a “How-To Method” for solving a problem:  making more money, saving money, attaining greater happiness, or fulfilling an ambition or desire. These are called folios. Folios is another word for booklets, pamphlets etc.

The main difference to remember when creating one is the size and the composition you choose. Folios are generally four pages of content folded in half and have a paper cover. Booklets etc. are longer and their covers are usually card stock and can be bound in a variety of manners such as spiral, combed, saddle stitch or perfect binding. The price also varies, depending on the content and the number of pages. Booklets at minimum at around $5 but can go up to $10. If you are savvy you’ll create electronic versions of the materials which can sell as “eBooks” and they start off at $.99 for a “folio” size and go up to $44 for larger more in depth topics.

Any man, woman or child can write a saleable report on any subject – providing he or she has knowledge of that subject through personal experience, research, or both.  A lot of women write successful money-making reports based upon better ways of solving household problems.  And a lot of men write successful money-making reports on how to get greater pleasure from leisure time activities such as fishing, woodworking or other hobbies.  The list of subjects one can write about is endless, and reports on how to make more money easier and faster are no more limited to male authors than expertise in cooking is limited to female authors.

Writing your report is easy and quite simple.  However, it does take longer, and requires more sweat, blood and anguish for some people to produce a “finished” product than it does others, even if they are equally intelligent and knowledgeable.

The best advice anyone can give you on how to write a “how to” guide is to advise you to write as though you were talking to someone – as though you were instructing your next door neighbor via the telephone on the subject at hand.  I use the word telephone here to point out that regardless of how much you wave your arms, point your finger, or even draw pictures, you aren’t getting the message across, and your neighbor won’t “see” what you’re talking about until you tell him in the kind of language he can understand.

Until next time,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Share Information and Increase Your Income: Start an eBook Writing Business

$100 Laptop prototype

Image via Wikipedia

If you are a savvy writer with great English grammar skills, you should consider writing eBooks.  It pays very well and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.  It is very simple to write up an eBook.  All you need to do is have Microsoft word and the internet.  Do some research first on the topic.  Know everything you can know about it, read up on it and save some quotes in your favorites area.  You may want to stop by the local library to pick up some books on the topic too.  That will help you when writing up your eBook.  EBooks should be between 50 – 75 pages depending on the topic and what the assignment is.  After you have thoroughly researched your topic and you know a lot about it you want to create a table of contents.  You want the chapters to flow freely from one thought to the other.  Make sure you cover as much as you can about the topic and title each chapter, writing a few notes about what you want to write about which you will delete later.

The next step would be just to get started on it!  Start writing creatively, from your heart, not just spitting out facts on a paper.  People are reading your eBook because they do not want to read and search for information located everywhere about a specific topic.  They want a concise, easy to read; interesting eBook they can print out and curl on the couch with.  It goes without saying that no one should ever plagiarize; not only is it unlawful, it is disrespectful.

Always spell check and edit your work by reading it when you have finished.  Polish it off by organizing each chapter into an eBook.  Come up with a savvy title that catches the audience.  If you really enjoy this line of business, you could do this full-time and quit your day job.

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Happy New Year from Dr. Ande!!!

May 2012 be filled with lots of creativity, interviews, book sales, and publishing for you all!

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine