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How To Create Press Releases for Car Dealerships that Generate Web, Phone and Showroom Traffic

How To Create Press Releases

Every Car Dealer and Automotive Marketer needs to develop a Press Release and News Story content creation and distribution strategy...

Why? Because in order to have a complete automotive digital marketing strategy that optimizes results per dollar of advertising budget allocated, car dealers need to take advantage of their power and resources available that have the ability to leverage newsworthy activities and accomplishments throughout their business enterprise.

Of course, not every event, sales promotion or activity in a dealership is appropriate for use in a news story or press release. But when there is such an event, activity, groundbreaking, new development or newsworthy happening at a dealership, the benefits from a properly crafted Press Release provides an ROI multiple than can dwarf most other marketing tactics.

In addition to capturing the right story and telling it in a manner that makes it interesting news, it must then be distributed through the most appropriate channels. But, first let's look at how a good Press Release is crafted and the right lay out to make it more likely to get picked up by multiple newswires and news publishing organizations.

One of the most critically important aspects of Press Release and News Story "Public Relations" and the marketing strategies that seek to use them, is the proper construction, writing and preparation of the actual Press Release or News Story. The image published below is an informative and easy to understand infographic prepared by the people who operate the PRWeb Public Relations newswire and syndication service.

This illustration is an effective "How To" for creating Press Releases at your dealership. You can click on the infographic to view a full size version in a new browser window. Shown below is the "Anatomy of a Press Release" provided to the ADM Professional Community by the fine folks at PRweb:



BONUS UPDATE: Download a PDF "Whitepaper" from PRweb...

How to Write a Press Release: PRWeb Whitepaper Series

Quick Guide to Writing an Online Press Release

PRWeb's online press releases are designed to help you increase your online visibility, push your news to the top of search engines and reach millions of people. And the best part of all—it's easy to do. In fact, by simply following the steps we've outlined in this guide about how to write a press release, you can create and send your first online release today!

A PRWeb online press release provides your audience with an enhanced news experience, with images, audio, video and web links, all designed to bring your release to life. Each highlighted section of this guide represents a critical feature of an online press release.

You'll also learn how to write a press release so that your news can drive valuable traffic to your website, increase your search engines rankings and appear on top news websites where millions of people go every day.

how-to-write-press-releases.pdf

Example: Houston Honda - Ford 3950704.pdf

How To Write A Successful News Release

With more than 10 years of experience in the online news and press release distribution industry, PRWeb has a unique understanding of how to write a news or press release so it achieves success online. The following tips will help you write a professional, concise and powerful news release.

Proofread: We recommend that you write your press release in a Word or other text document instead of writing it directly on the online submit page. Writing online will not achieve the best results. Write your press release, print it, and proofread. Rewrite and then proofread again. The more time you take to do it right, the better your company's first impression.

Start Strong: Your headline, summary and first paragraph should clarify your news. The rest of your news or press release should provide the detail. You only have a matter of seconds to grab your readers' attention, so you want to capture it with a strong opening.

Identify Yourself: If your news or press release does not identify the source of the information and news within the first few paragraphs, you may lose the promotional value your release can provide. Readers want to know who is talking; letting them know builds the credibility of the release and promotes your name and brand online.

Write Professionally: It takes only a few sentences to discern whether a news or press release is written professionally. If your release contains hype, slang, excessive exclamation points or direct address, chances are it will be viewed as an advertisement rather than a news release. There is no better way to destroy credibility than to distribute a release full of hype. Additionally, on occasion, media outlets may pick up your release and run it in their publications with little or no modification. The more professional your release sounds, the greater the chances are that this will happen.

Answer the Tough Questions: Not everything is news. Your excitement about something and its availability does not necessarily mean you have a newsworthy story. Think about your audience. Will someone else find your story interesting? Let's assume that you have just spent a lot of effort to launch a new online store. Announcing a company's opening is always an exciting time for any business, but the last thing the media wants to write about is another online store. Instead, focus on the features of your site's shopping experience, unique products and/or services. Answer the question, "Why should anyone care?" Make sure your announcement contains news values like timeliness, uniqueness or highlights something truly unusual. Avoid clichés such as "customers save money" or "great customer service." Focus on the aspects of your announcement that truly set you apart from everyone else.

Pick an Angle: Try to make your press release timely. Make sure that your release has a good news hook. Tying your news to current events, recent studies, trends and social issues brings relevance, urgency and importance to your message.

Use Anchor Text and Features: PRWeb news releases can accommodate multimedia files like images, video, links and other features that will capture the attention of your readers and highlight your news. Nothing is worse than seeing a release go out "naked" with none of these capabilities utilized. Attach logos, head shots, product shots, photographs, audio files, video files, PDF documents or any other supplemental materials that build up your release. Use anchor text and hyperlinks to point readers back to your site ensures both your website and your important keywords receive simultaneous promotion in your press release.

Illustrate the Solution: Use real life examples to illustrate how your company or organization solved a problem. Identify the problem and why your solution is the right solution. Give examples of how your service or product fulfils needs or satisfies desires. Using real life examples powerfully communicates the benefits of using your product or service.

Don't Be Afraid to Toot Your Own Horn: Online new or press release distribution is a successful way to create expert status. If your company has reached a milestone, celebrated an anniversary, hired a new president, experienced significant growth or received an award, tell the world what you did right. Or, write a tip sheet that offers readers "tips" or help in your field of expertise.

Don’t Give Away All the Secrets: If you're running a new promotion this season, tell readers where they can go to learn more. Provide links in your press release directly to the page on your website where readers can learn the specifics about your news and then act upon it. If you give your readers no reason to click through to your site, they're not necessarily going to. This kind of "call to action" pulls them away from reading and urges them to respond.

Stick to the Facts: Tell the truth. Avoid fluff, embellishments, hype and exaggerations. If you feel that your press release seems sensational, there's a good chance your readers will think so too. With so much information available to the consumer, readers are naturally skeptical. If your story sounds too good to be true, you are probably hurting your own credibility. Even if it is true, you may want to tone it down a bit.

Use Active Voice: Verbs in the active voice bring your press release to life. Rather than writing "entered into a partnership," use "partnered" instead. Do not be afraid to use strong verbs. For example, "The committee exhibited severe hostility over the incident" reads better if changed to "The committee was enraged over the incident." Writing in this manner helps give life and energy to your release, which may set it apart from the rest of the pack.

Economize Your Words: Wordiness is distracting, so be concise. In addition, news search engines sometimes reject news releases with overly long headlines, excessive lists and high overall word counts. Eliminate unnecessary adjectives, flowery language or redundant expressions such as "added bonus" or "first time ever." Make each word count. If you can tell your story with fewer words, you'll have better results with your readers and the search engines.

Limit Jargon: Jargon is language specific to certain professions, industries or groups and is not appropriate for general readership. While a limited amount of jargon is required if your goal is to optimize your news release for online search, the best way to communicate your news is to speak plainly using ordinary language. Using an abundance of technical language and jargon limits your reading audience.

SOURCE: http://www.prweb.com/pr/press-release-tip/best-practices.html

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Tags: Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, Car Dealerships, Create Press Releases, Generate Website Traffic, How To, News Release, News Story, Phone Calls, Press Release, More…Public Relations, Showroom Traffic

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Comment by Eric Miltsch on May 3, 2010 at 10:08pm
@Ralph,

I've been a big fan of the SMR (Social Media Release) for a while; Jason Kintzler's PitchEngine is a great tool.

Here's our newsroom and a recent release.
Comment by Brian Pasch on May 2, 2010 at 5:19pm
@Mike
I love the local news coverage and that will start a buzz but that is not sustainable each month. TV stations will not cover that topic again. PRs and blogging as on monthly process keeps you in the drivers seat. When you combine customer reviews and review videos in the content publishing mix, dealers can create their own PR campaigns with social media power.

Great idea on getting your local news media to do a profile!! Love it.
Comment by Wendell Dossett on May 2, 2010 at 10:42am
Great stuff Ralph. I have been toying with this and analyzing how I can work with it best. This was done in the height of Toyota bashing days. Here is my example: Great Sales Experience at Beck Toyota
Comment by Mike Annable on May 2, 2010 at 8:31am
The first comment by Brian is a good example of obtaining backlinks, but if you have a really good story consider hiring a local press release distribution company.
Last week we had such a good story I didn't even write a press release, I simply wrote a blog post about it and emailed it to a local news station.
Within 24 hours a camera crew showed up at our dealership and did a story. This particular news station loops it's stories every hour for a 24 hour period.

You want to talk about filling up a showroom? I couldn't believe it! Check out the news story here and you'll see why:

http://www.tampacarblog.com/park-automall-in-the-news.html

Since that story was aired last weekend we've received inquiries from major networks, so I'm excited about the potential.

We were able to create the same effect about six months ago from the same station
http://www.parkautomall.com/MediaCenterVideo1.swf

Do it yourselfers, I highly advise you try this second example. Remember, sometimes there is no real news going on so the press has to broadcast something.
Comment by Brian Pasch on May 2, 2010 at 5:48am
Ralp, great topic and timely. So, I'll add some advice and a complete PR plan for do-it-yourself members of ADM.

In regards to press release writing, dealers will be rewarded if they first decide what the goal of the press release is all about. This will save them money.

There are many strategies that could be created but two main categories are: SEO and PR. They are two different strategies and let me explain why.

For PR, paying for a $300-$700 press release fee, will get your press release on hundreds of websites that are paid to post the press release or are owned by large companies like PRWeb. This extra hefty fee is based on your desire to get your message in as many places as you can, and maybe even get picked up by offline media.

In these cases, the Titles of the press release are less about SEO and more about catching someone's eye. I have tracked the links back from the network of PR sites often included in the PR network and they are not as fruitful as you would hope for SEO but still effective.

In the new Automotive Advertising Network, members can publish unlimited press releases on local and national automotive website. This gives better, relevance to the inbound links to your website.

Candidates for this type of service are when you win Dealer of the Year, Top OEM dealership is sales, or related big events.

Press Releases For GPOM

The second strategy is for SEO and more specific localized SEO and to get on Page One. I'm a big fan of this strategy because there are a good dozen PR websites that charge from $0 - $25 that get the job done. What is that job? Getting your press releases on Google Page One (GPO) for key in market search phrases.

Let's say that a dealer wanted to increase their visibility for the search phrase "Boston Nissan Sale". You can get on Google Page One using a free press release service, like www.prlog.org. If you do a search for "Boston Nissan Sale" you will see this listing on Page One:

Boston Nissan Sale


Free and low cost press release services will provide live links back to your website that you want to optimize. The number of live links varies on the free or low cost services but I use these types of sites all the time with dramatic results.

Dealers normally don't have the time to write and publish 2-3 press releases a month per brand but the rewards are measureable. For dealers who need help, PCG does off monthly PR services as part of our digital marketing package.

Free Education For ADM Members

If you want to do it yourself, I have attached my seminar slide deck on using PR for driving more links, calls and sales. The PDF lists my favorite sites (that I can talk about publically) and a complete do-it-yourself strategy. Click here toview: automotive-press-release-strategies.pdf
Comment by David Johnson on May 1, 2010 at 8:46pm
Haha, I love it! I remember using video to sell cars back in 2003-04 and it's just coming into its own in the car business now. Of course that was before YouTube and I used Hello World, a subscription service, to host the videos.

Heck, I even met my wife of 9 years (as of the 29th of April!) 11 years ago on Yahoo! before it was the thing to meet girls on the internet, don't worry we lived in the same town! LOL I found her profile, liked what I saw and sent her a message, she in turn read mine and as they say, the rest is history!
Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 1, 2010 at 8:39pm
Just remembered... I was using Geocities Social Media UGC sites in 1999 to make it easy for Cyber Car Consultants to assist Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships to set up their Internet Sales Departments... The Geocities profiles I created were used by Cyber Car Catalysts to download "Best Practice" email templates, reporting spreadsheets and Ford, Lincoln and Mercury related image files. We would also upload and post files we found at various dealerships that the Internet Sales people would tell us worked exceptionally well...

Then, in the Spring of 2000 we all started using Geocities, Yahoo! and a few other UGC Social Media sites to start listing dealership inventory as status updates and inside various UGC web pages we designed to attract consumers who were shopping for cars by posting all sorts of vehicle information, product and specifications.

I will never forget the first vehicle I ever sold using web based Chat... It was while I was working at a Lorraine, OH Ford dealership and I had just listed a used Ford F-150 Lightning on my Yahoo! public home page "Classified Ad" widget or plug-in, when my Yahoo email indicator went off. It was a truck buyer in Oklahoma and he wanted to know if I would chat with him using Yahoo! Chat... I quickly installed the Yahoo! Chat client and we engaged in a dialogue that went on for about 20 minutes.

He and his brother then drove something like 18 hours straight through to get to this Cleveland area Ford dealership the evening of the next day and bight that F-150 Lightning...

Like I been saying all along, if you think that UGC or Social Media is something new, then my question to you is where have you been for the last 15 years!

I met my wife, Elizabeth, using a social media UGC site in 1998... We "engaged" online for the next year before I met her in person for the first time in June 1999, the rest is history.

Social Media Marketing a new shiny object? I don't think so, unless you measure what's new in decades!
Comment by David Johnson on May 1, 2010 at 8:34pm
Ralph,

You're right, of course. It seams that when a concepts become big, meaning that more people know about than not, people like to talk about it as if it were new, when in fact it's been around for years. I like to take social media back even further and mention that if you take away the internet, the social network and the computer your left with people, networking in particular, and that has been around forever. Of course it's the technology aspect of it that has gotten our attention but the end results are the same.

Traditional press releases are too news like in nature but with the social media press releases that Roger mentioned they are given the old, or new, technology spin for the new wired generation.

I signed up a while back for a site called PitchEngine.com which specializes in SMPR, its worth checking out.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 1, 2010 at 8:26pm
@David - It is funny you should mention that Press Releases remind you of microsites... It was my work in developing a variety of microsite platforms in 2003 that led me start using LinkedIn in 2004 for business development, marketing and promotional purposes, but in very subtle ways. Then in 2005 I started using Blogger, Wordpress, 1and1 along with a few others for low cost microsites, which were built off of blogging platforms... Anyone who thinks Social Media marketing is the "New Shiny Object" has either only recently started working in the automotive digital marketing world, or has simply been ignorant for however long they have been in the business and not realized that hundreds of other people have been using social media for marketing and communication objectives for at least 7 years that I know of, and possibly longer... New for some people, not so new for many others!
Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 1, 2010 at 8:14pm
BONUS UPDATE: Download a PDF "Whitepaper" from PRweb... How to Write a Press Release: PRWeb Whitepaper Series. Quick Guide to Writing an Online Press Release.

PRWeb's online press releases are designed to help you increase your online visibility, push your news to the top of search engines and reach millions of people. And the best part of all—it's easy to do. In fact, by simply following the steps we've outlined in this guide about how to write a press release, you can create and send your first online release today!

A PRWeb online press release provides your audience with an enhanced news experience, with images, audio, video and web links, all designed to bring your release to life. Each highlighted section of this guide represents a critical feature of an online press release.

You'll also learn how to write a press release so that your news can drive valuable traffic to your website, increase your search engines rankings and appear on top news websites where millions of people go every day.

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