Saturday, January 21, 2012

Product Lines

Kim Adams Francis posted in her blog, The Classic Quill, that many freelancers and entrepreneurs fail to identify and define their actual product. For freelance writers, says Francis, this means defining whether you are selling articles, an e-book or yourself. My experiences as a jewelry, metalwork and spray paint art vendor taught me the importance of multiple product lines, but applying that knowledge to the writing world has been hit-or-miss.

For example, when I started this blog, I intended to showcase fellow artists, poets, musicians and writers, along with businesses in Tempe and Phoenix, Arizona; Asheville, North Carolina; Portland and Lewiston, Maine; Atlanta and Athens, Georgia; and all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. I stuck to my intentions for the first month, but my focus has strayed this month in the effort to participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. That has to stop soon, because the focus on a given quantity of posts reduces quality. Instead, my remaining posts for the month will focus on writing effective press releases, because the market is wide open right now.

1. Effective press releases must answer as many questions as possible about the event, whether it is a product launch, grand opening or performance. Include the sponsor and any performers, the location where the event will take place, the time and duration of the event, and why attendance matters.

2. Include the name of the event and the date, time and location in the introduction, and the name of the organizer or contact person in the second paragraph.

3. Quote the headliner and anyone who has attended similar prior events if you have enough time before your deadline. Use quotes that you know will provoke a response without going overboard, but do not censor yourself so much that your copy lacks a voice.

4. Repeat the date, time and location in the final paragraph, along with a strong call to action. Avoid such phrases as "Be there or be square." Instead, tell your readers what they will be missing, whether it's gritty street poetry, new art media or the opportunity to be the first to visit a new night spot.

5. Read the comments readers leave, both before and after the event. Respond to any questions you receive prior to the event as soon as you see them, to ensure that readers have all the information they need. Modify your press release to include any information prompted by reader questions. Forward the comments your receive after the event to the organizer and headliner, so that they can incorporate that feedback into their next event.

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