Winning new business

October 6, 2010

Winning new business is very much down to understanding your market and gaining useful knowledge in order to attract new clients.

There are a few steps to be taken under consideration when trying to win new clients:

  • Research:

Market trends news in the sector

What competition is doing

Maximise the use of old database of contacts – update them

  • Use Referrals:

Maximize the use of previous clients’ positive referrals from satisfied customers

Identify unique selling points and communicate these extensively.

  • Network:

Attend networking events, trade shows, seminars and exhibitions where potential new business can be found.

Join trade associations and relevant business groups that can help.

  • Work in partnership:

Get in touch with other businesses offering services that are aimed at similar customers;  it can prove very cost effective to get to new customers.

  • Professional  image:

Approach new business in the right way, using presentation material, professional image.

  • Assess, improve your image:

Update your business details, website with the latest news. Showcase success stories and case studies and highlight your products and services. Engage customers and attract new ones through forums, web-based seminars (‘webinars’) or podcasts. Maximise use of social media to get in touch with relevant businesses in your market.

Tideway Communications believe the best creative results come from properly knowing our client’s business. We make it our mission to fully understand and reflect their objectives and their values. That’s how we get the very best results.

We offer a full range of creative communications services including:

  • bespoke multi-disciplinary communications programmes
  • corporate identity programmes
  • strategic media planning and media buying
  • media relations, public relations and social media campaigns
  • writing for print and online media to include full length articles and features,
    corporate literature, sales brochures and newsletters
  • copywriting and translation
  • sponsorship
  • TV, radio and press promotions
  • presentations and conference organisation
  • exhibitions
  • event management

Contact us

direct line : 020 8878 0787
e: email us
m: 07973 836 503
www.tidewaycommunications.com

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A Press Release is simply a written statement to the media. It can announce a range of news items: scheduled events, personnel promotions, awards, new products and services, sales accomplishments, etc. It can also be used to generate a feature story. Journalists are more likely to consider a story idea if they first receive a release.

Write the headline. It should be brief, clear and to the point: an ultra-compact version of the press release’s key point. News release headlines should have a “grabber” to attract the journalist’s attention.

Headlines are written in bold and are typically larger than the press release text. The first word in the press release headline should be capitalized, as should all proper nouns. Most headline words appear in lower-case letters, although adding a stylized “small caps” style can create a more graphically news-attractive look and feel. Do not capitalize every word.

The simplest method to arrive at the press release headline is to extract the most important keywords from your press release. Now from these keywords, try to frame a logical and attention-getting statement. Using keywords will give you better visibility in search engines, and it will be simpler for journalists and readers to get the idea of the press release content.

Write the press release body copy. The press release should be written as you want it to appear in a news story. The lead, or first sentence, should grab the reader and say concisely what is happening. The next 1-2 sentences then expand upon the lead.

The press release body copy should be compact. Avoid using very long sentences and paragraphs. Avoid repetition and over use of fancy language and jargon.

A first paragraph (two to three sentences) must actually sum up the press release and the further content must elaborate it. In a fast-paced world, neither journalists nor other readers would read the entire press release if the start of the article didn’t generate interest.

Deal with actual facts – events, products, services, people, targets, goals, plans, projects. Try to provide maximum use of concrete facts. A simple method for writing an effective press release is to make a list of following things:

Communicate the 5 Ws and the H. Who, what, when, where, why, and how. Then consider the points below if pertinent:

  • What is the actual news?
  • Why this is news
  • The people, products, items, dates and other info related to the news
  • The purpose behind the news
  • Your company – the source of this news

Now from the points gathered, try to construct paragraphs and assemble them sequentially: The headline > the summary or introduction of the news > event or achievements > product > people > again the concluding summary > the company.

The length of a press release should be no more than three pages. If you are sending a hard copy, text should be double-spaced.

Include information about the company. The title for this section should be ‘About ABC Company’. After the title, use a paragraph or two to describe your company with 5/6 lines each. The text must describe your company, its core business and the business policy and must include your website.

Add contact information. This will allow journalists to get in contact if they need more information or would like to interview key people associated with the story. This is usually your media / PR department / agency. If you do not have dedicated team for this function, you must appoint somebody who will act as a link between the media and your people.

Other Tips

  • Include the company name in the headline, any subhead, and in the body of the first paragraph for better visibility via search engines etc.
  • If the press release is for immediate release, you may write “IMMEDIATE RELEASE” in all caps on the left margin, directly above the headline. If the release is embargoed, put “EMBARGOED UNTIL…” with the date you want the story released. A release with no release date is presumed to be for immediate release.
  • Research actual press releases on the web to get the feel of the tone, the language, the structure and the format of a press release.
  • The timing of the press release is very important. It must be relevant and recent news, not too old and not too distant.
  • Include a “call to action” in your release. This is information on what you want the public to do with the information that you are releasing. For example, do you want them to buy a product? If so, include information on where the product is available. Do you want them to visit your Web site to enter a contest or learn more about your organization? If so, include the Web address or a phone number.
  • Do not waste time writing the headline until the release is done. Copy editors write the real headlines in newspapers and magazines, but it is good to come up with a catchy title or “headline” for the release.
  • Send your release by e-mail, and use formatting sparingly. Giant type and multiple colors don’t enhance your news, they distract from it. Put the release in the body of the e-mail, not as an attachment. If you must use an attachment, make it a plain text or Rich Text Format file. Word documents are acceptable at most outlets, but if you are using the newest version (.docx), save down a version (.doc). Use PDF files only if you are sending a full media kit with lots of graphics.
  • Use your headline as the subject line of the e-mail. If you’ve written a good “grabber” headline, this will help your message stand out in the editor’s e-mail inbox.
  • Craft each release to target a specific media outlet and send it to the specific reporter who covers that beat. This information can usually be found on the outlet’s Web site. Blasting the identical press release to multiple outlets and multiple reporters at the same outlet is a sign that you are taking shortcuts rather than targeting a specific market.
  • Avoid jargon or specialized technical terms. If accuracy requires the use of an industry-specific term, define it.

Warnings

  • Always remember that editors are overworked and understaffed. If you can make life easier for them, you’re more likely to get coverage. If you write a press release that’s close to the way the editor will actually publish it, it may see publication with minimal editing. But if you fill it with fluffy advertising copy, don’t use proper AP style, etc., the editor must severely edit your piece to use it. That means he or she is more likely to just move on to the next press release–and there are plenty of them.
  • Avoid the temptation to clutter your lead with a glowing generalization about your company (“ABC Corp, a global leader in the manufacture of high-end widgets for the royalty of Europe, today announced…”) Many releases are written this way, despite the fact that editors delete this kind of fluff. Everybody says they’re the leader. Don’t waste the editor’s time. The place to put a description is in the company information section of the release. But keep it accurate and factual.
  • When e-mailing a press release, do not make the subject line of your e-mail “press release.” You will only blend into the crowd. Get the editor’s attention by making the subject line your “grabber” headline, e.g. “Brand Co. wins $30 billion government contract.”