During SVA’s UK VA Survey v8 you asked us to develop more shared resources that you could use to promote your business… One of the things which Virtual Assistants felt would be useful was a customisable press release that you could tweak with your own details and submit to local news outlets. Local papers may not be the best source of new clients, but it increases awareness of what you do, and it’s always nice to have it framed and put on your office wall. (My husband calls this my “glory wall” – I’m fairly sure he isn’t being complementary!).
One small warning – every time I’ve done local press, I get an influx of people interested in becoming a Virtual Assistant. In fact, this is one of the reasons why SVA came into being, I was spending so much time answering those queries, I just put all the resources in one place. It kinda mushroomed, as you can see…But do be prepared to send aspiring virtual assistants to www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk – it puts them on the right track!
So what to put in a virtual assistant press release?
Local stories sell
People love reading about someone who is like them or who lives nearby. Make sure you approach your local newspapers and radio stations – a lot of them will have a business section where they feature local businesses.
Include some statistics about being a virtual assistant
Editors love having some stats in an article – so whether it’s about the rise in home working, or perhaps an interesting statistic on the number of VAs working in your area, include some meat to the article with clever statistics, research and figures.
Have hi-res print ready photos
The days of the local newspaper having its own photographer are long gone – if you can supply a fun picture along with your article, they are more likely to print it. As they say “A picture is worth 1,000 words”. However you do need to make sure it is going to be suitable for print – it must be 300pdi at whatever size they print it at, so try to get the highest quality possible. The downside of that is that press releases sent with heavy attachments often get spam filtered. Put a note on the bottom of your email that hi-res pictures are available and insert a lo-res version into the body of the text of the press release (so they can see what it looks like).
Get it out there
It’s no use having a press release if no one ever reads it. There are lots of press lists which you can purchase via a data broker such as Marketing File or you could simply look them up on www.mediauk.com. The main thing is that you follow up your email with a phone call to check they got it and to see if it’s of interest… As a former PR myself, it’s a somewhat soul-destroying task, but it does massively increase the chances of publication and it also means you get the chance to ask the journalists what sort of stories they might be interested in.
Don’t forget you can also approach blogs – especially ones which your niche might read. So for example, if you specialise in supporting dentists you might want to approach the British Dental Journal about doing a blog.