Friday, September 12, 2008

What Story Do You Have To Tell?

From the time we're old enough to understand, we love stories. They engage us, fire our imagination, let us experience fear without risk, loss without pain and the hope that anything is possible. They instruct, they teach us what to do and what not to do, they share wisdom.

The only thing that has changed is the media through which we tell our stories. Instead of sitting around a campfire we sit in a movie theater. Instead of sitting around the kitchen table, we sit at the computer and chat online.

So how does this relate to your business?

If you've been in business for any time at all, you've got great stories. A few days ago my friend Diane Henry, who is a Mary Kay consultant, told me about being invited to teach make up and skin care to a group of men going through the transition to become women. Great story. Another friend, Sue Koch the owner of told me about a client of hers who was desperate to leave her corporate job but didn't know what to do. Now she owns a popular gym and loves her life.

Great stories. What do you do with them?

Never underestimate the power of a press release. There's a general belief that a press release is for new products, big companies, or executive promotions. But the press release is the best possible place to tell your story and the return on your dollars can be tremendous.

Reporters are always looking for ideas and inspiration. They need them like you need sales. What they're looking for may be exactly the story you have to tell. So here's what you need to know to be effective at telling your story in a press release.

Make it compelling. Focus on the personal. Make the person reading feel what it was like for the people in the story you're telling. It's the ability to see ourselves in the story that makes us connect.

Keep it succinct. Tell the story in no more than three paragraphs. Don't embellish but don't leave out anything. Have a beginning, a middle and an end. Then tell what you did that made the story happen. Don't sell.

Be excited about the outcome. If there's a triumph in the story, let the reader feel it. Use words that convey those emotions.

Make it easy for the reporter. They are looking for your story. Make it easy for them to find it and choose it. Give them as little work to do as possible. Know their schedules. If the deadline is at 11 am, don't wait until 2 pm to email them. Send the story at 5:30 in the morning.

Get your stories out there. They give you credibility and visibility and add to your press kit. And they bring in business.

Of course, you can always call us and we'll handle all of that and get you great exposure.

More about press releases later.

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