A "no-cost" way to promote your freelance accounting/bookkeeping business (except for a little postage, anyway)? – I want to see that. This technique is particularly powerful when you’re opening your new service.
Press releases offer an opportunity to promote your business and you as a local accounting and bookkeeping expert. Once people begin reading or hearing about you and your business their perception of you changes. They figure that if the newspaper or radio station is focusing on you and your activities you must have expertise.
What is a press release? A press release is a method of communicating to a journalist or radio presenter some information about you and your business which will highlight the fact that you are an expert on some subject — in your case, accounting and bookkeeping.
What Do You Include?
What do you include in a press release? The contents of a press release can be distilled down to the 5 "w’s" – who, what, why, where and when.
It’s really obvious that you are the "who." The remaining "w’s" relate to the thrust of the press release. The issues which could be the subject of a press release may include:
· You have commenced business – include your photo
· You have a comment regarding a tax decision or new legislation
· You have a comment on a systems development issue or new accounting software
· You and your client have enjoyed success on a particular matter
· You are doing some pro bono work for a charity or other community group
It’s the headline which grabs the attention of the journalist or radio presenter/producer and thus you should spend some time to come up with something which will tickle their fancy.
Form and Length of Press Releases
For every expert on public relations there is a different theory about the ideal form and length of a press release. Use the form and length which you feel comfortable with and check with your media contacts, when you have them, about what they prefer.
Who To Send Press Releases To
To whom do you send your press release? You will need to do some homework and discover the names of the newspaper journalists and radio presenters responsible for business reporting. Most libraries have lists available of media contacts in your area.
You should call the business editors and let them know that you will be sending them releases as issues arise. It’s a good time to ask about the form in which they prefer their press release to be sent – by facsimile or e-mail and if by e-mail if they are happy with the use of attachments. A radio station with a music only format will only cover business activities in their news bulletins and therefore it’s prudent to make contact with their news editor or journalists.
The Best Time to Send Press Releases
As I mentioned above, a great time to start using this technique is when you first start your freelance service. Below is a template of a short press release you may want to consider using for announcing your new business. This should be typed professionally with NO SPELLING ERRORS.
Basic Press Release Information to Include
Headline: Experienced Accountant Opens New Firm in (Your City)
(Your name) an accountant with (previous employer) for (number of years), has opened a new accounting firm named (name of your firm).
Based in (your city), (firm name) provides accounting, bookkeeping and tax preparation services for individuals and businesses.
(Provide a two or three paragraph summary of your past accounting work experience)
(End with one paragraph providing any credentials you may have such as professional designations, membership in business organizations, civic organizations, etc.)
How to Measure if a Press Release is a Success
You will know that your public relations campaign has been a raging success when journalists or radio presenters take the initiative and contact you for your comment on an issue they feel has local importance.
Make sure you copy any press release on nice paper and send it to your contacts. It will give you more credibility than virtually anything else you could do.
One final point to remember – local newspapers and radio stations are always looking for news pieces which cover local issues. Capitalize on this fact.
Learn to Take Your Skills to Market
With the best accounting and bookkeeping skills, you only make money once you find paying clients. Most accountants don’t have a lot of sales experience. The great thing is that you don’t need to be a great salesperson to find enough clients to make a great living. Module 4 of the Professional Bookkeeper™ program teaches you how to quickly find more clients than you can handle on a shoestring budget.
Learn How the Marketing Method Taught the Professional Bookkeeper Program Gets You Clients Fast!