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Online press releases are an increasingly popular tool for small business owners, thanks mostly to their affordability. The same process that used to cost thousands of dollars to the average business owner, is now less than $100 and the speed at which news is now internationally distributed has broken down a host of traditional barriers to entry.

One of the demographics primed to benefit from this digital movement is small businessmen like vacation rental owners, who are using press releases to leverage their micro-niche expertise on a worldwide scale.
 
Let me explain…
 
Not too long ago, I published a press release entitled, NewVacation Rental Marketing Survey Exposes Challenges For Owners, and wanted to share my experience as a means of understanding this marketing form.
 
Now, to summarize, online press release distribution companies are quite simple: as a small business owner, you write a news piece announcing a new feature of your property, a special seasonal discount you’re offering, an upcoming festival in town…etc. Companies like PRWeb then distribute your press release to hundreds of thousands of outlets in a span of about 2 days. I typically go with the $199 exposure package because I find it offers the best value, but the prices start at under $100.
 
So to fully explain the exposure I received, my release was featured in The Miami Herald, CBS MoneyWatch, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Boston Globe (just to name a few of the 123 publications that featured my news in the first 12 days).
 
And to give you a more exact idea of how much stands to be made in vacation rental profits as a result of press releases, here’s the statistical breakdown of a previous release where I promoted my vacation rentals (and neighborhood) as “the new Latin American Soho.”
  • $199 Press Release
  • 42,035 impressions (or people that viewed my headline)
  • 682 reads (people that read my press release)
  • 398 clicks (users who clicked through to my actual website)
  • 14 inquiries about staying at my rentals
  • 9 bookings totaling 22 nights
  • These bookings combined for a total of $3,850 in revenue
And this is just one example of many! Because my press releases have been so successful, I voyaged out to interview the man at the very top. 
 
Frank Strong, the PR Director at PRWeb (arguably the most powerful online PR company for small businesses) is someone who sees hundreds of press releases every day. So how can small business players like vacation rental owners accelerate their learning curve and see results literally overnight?
 

Here are 3 of the many expert tips I picked up from our extensive meeting:

1. Why Use Online Press Releases? Frank could probably go on forever listing the benefits, but most importantly he said press releases drive traffic to websites, improve organic search engine results, add an element of credibility to small businesses, allow you to reach new client demographics, and have an infinitely long shelf life, which is to say, they live on the web forever and residually generate business for your company. 
 
2. Four Things To Remember Before Hitting “Submit”: Frank was quick to point out that you are a) writing for people (not computers or search engines) because that’s the most important target, b) proof reading your work several times over because when you publish publically, you’re grammar is your reputation, c) reviewing the preview version of your release to assure the formatting and layout is as desired, and lastly, d) double- and triple-check the timing of your release to guarantee it lands on news shelves at a hot hour.
 
3.  To Quote Or Not To Quote? As you might imagine, almost all press releases quote individuals, but what are we to do if WE are the only individuals available? Frank said he could understand how this might feel a little awkward, to those new to press releases, but in this context, it’s perhaps the only time in life where it’s okay to speak about oneself in the third-person. He said quotes are important; they should add color and detail to the facts listed in the release.  People expect to see quotes in press releases, and quite frankly, this is an area where he believed small business owners had an advantage over polished PR pros:  it’s you, it’s authentic and the media (should they be interested) can reach you directly. Besides, Frank points out, if we shy from telling our own stories, how can we possibly motivate others to re-share it?
 

If you’re interested in more of Frank’s tips, you can download “Mastering Press Releases” which is the entire interview with Frank Strong, available FREE for NuWire readers, for a limited time on VRLeap.com.