When your accounting firm has news to share, social media isn’t the only way to get the word out. The old-fashioned press release is an underused vehicle these days. Many firms don’t even think of using them in recent years, which is a shame because these handy tools can be effective for spreading your firm’s news and accomplishments.
Even if the idea occurs, most firms don’t know how to create and promote a press release. To remedy that, here are a few tips to get you started as you begin to utilize press releases to help promote awareness of the wonderful things you and your partners are up to.
Know what a press release is and what it isn’t. First of all, it’s important to be aware of the appropriate content for your release. The content should be focused on a particular development or achievement that has wide appeal to readers focused on your industry, whether as professionals or simply interested parties. Has your firm or a partner in it won a significant award? Are you offering new services to serve a particular niche? Have you published a book or added a large new client that would create a ripple within the industry? Have you added a new partner or launched a major rebranding effort? These are the kinds of things to focus on. Your news releases must not be confused with newsletters, which can be used for sharing more personal information.
Make your style match your medium. Keep in mind that these articles are news, not advertising. Though press releases can be part of your overall marketing strategy and you’ll certainly benefit from the exposure, you must maintain a press-worthy tone as you report the information. If not, you risk having your release rejected by the press engines and disregarded by readers, who will also see it as blatant marketing speech rather than informative news. It can be a little tricky to create the perfect note of neutral reporting while you toot your own horn, but a well-written press release does just that. Stick to the third person in your release and present your news like a good reporter.
Spice it up with a good quote. Here’s where you can add some of that pride and even brag a bit. It’s okay to let the person or people involved openly admit their pride and allow excitement about what’s happening shine through as part of a quote attributed to an individual. Quotes from two or even three relevant sources are acceptable, but don’t go beyond that.
Format for success. Each press engine has a set of specific requirements for word and character count, including links, title and subtitle usage, etc. Once you’ve selected the engines you want to use, be sure to give them exactly what each one is asking for so that your release will be approved and published.
Assign and track. Sending out a press release is a time-consuming task. Someone at your firm should be assigned to find appropriate press sites, create accounts with them if necessary and send the posts to the contact person at each chosen outlet. Some of them may let you enter the releases yourself, with prior approval. After launching your news you’ll want to set up alerts to monitor the media and let you know how far your release has traveled. You can track these in a spreadsheet for future reference.
Press releases take a good bit of time and effort. The payoff, however, can be a valuable boost in awareness of your firm and its many accomplishments. If there’s no one at your firm who can fit in writing, researching and sending out releases every now and then, you may want to consider seeking professional help with the process. After all, you want the world to know how awesome you are!