Here are some last-minute 2018 to-dos.
- Check your website’s SSL status. SSL give visitors confidence that your site can be trusted.
You can check it here. https://www.digicert.com/help/
- You can renew it here: https://pxlme.me/mifIY0xW
- Claim and optimize your Google My Business site. This is SUPER IMPORTANT! Go to Google.com/business
- Find out if you are in the Google 3-pack. (Google lists local searches with a featured 3-pack. These are displayed after paid ads and before organic results. This is the MOST VALUABLE real estate on a local search)
a. Open a private or incognito browser window.
b. Google “Martial arts in your town.”
c. See if you’re in the 3 pack.
If you need help with any of these projects MATA can help. Our MATA websites are beautiful and professional looking. They make a great impression.
Our SEO plans are customizable and can be found here. https://pxlme.me/InSO5PGC
Our Google My Business set up and optimization is here: https://pxlme.me/91UN0KmS
1. Use a Clear and Informative Headline
With blog posts, you’ll usually implement many different techniques to capture attention. Take a look at this post’s title, for example – it’s descriptive, but we also provide extra information about what you’ll get (i.e. a press release template.) This is great for blog posts, but not so much for a press release given the target reader will need to sort through hundreds of similar emails.
The best way to grab a journalist’s attention is to summarize your press release within its title. Here are a few examples of real press release titles we like:
TV Ears Unveils the First Senior-Friendly HDTV at Consumer Electronics Show.
The Powerline Group Announces New College Scholarship Program For Long Island and National Students.
Day Translations Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary.
Each of these press releases describes exactly what the content will discuss. If you’re used to writing ‘clickbaity’ titles, it’s a habit you need to get out of when writing a press release.
We also recommend you keep post titles relatively short most of the time. This way, they’ll show up in their entirety within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). However, you should look to include as much detail as you can offer within your titles. It’s a hard balance to get right.
2. Get People’s Attention With Your First Paragraph
It’s an unfortunate truth, but many readers of your content don’t actually do anything of the sort. Studies suggest online readers skim a lot – in other words, they jump from one section to another and are only concerned with the specific information they’re searching for.
In practice, this means you need to make an extra effort to engage readers, especially for your press releases. When you write a press release, you need to provide all of the most pertinent information. There are five key elements to cover:
Who your press release is about.
What the core subject of the press release is.
When the events within the press release will occur.
Where your news, event, or promotion will take place.
Why readers should be interested, or why the press release is newsworthy.
There’s a lot to cover, but you’re helped due to a press release simply containing facts. In contrast, other types of content usually need a narrative of some kind. What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to write in the order we’ve presented. For example, check out this example opener:
New York, Nov. 5, 2018. The Handsome Puppy Shelter will be holding an adoption drive on November 10th, 2018. The initiative is spearheaded by John and Jane Doe, who run the shelter and will organize the event. The drive will take place at the Nepperhan Community Center (342 Warburton Avenue), and it’s a great opportunity if you’re looking to find a forever home for ‘Man’s Best Friend.’
You’ll notice we presented the five points in the best order on this occasion. Each press release is different, so you feel free to play around with the structure. Also, depending on what your news is, it may not be necessary to hit all five of those elements, and they may even be a little abstract. For example, if there isn’t going to a physical event, the ‘where’ is irrelevant. However, you may want to provide company location details to tie the press release to local news outlets.
3. Include Quotes Whenever Possible
Many journalists love quotes because they give social proof and a more personal touch to their stories. Take a look at this snippet from the example near the beginning of this article. You’ll notice part of the second paragraph is a quote from bank President:
“We are proud to celebrate 80 years of business. We’ve been fortunate to have a great team that has served generations of families in north Alabama. We are grateful for the relationships we have with our customers, and the trust they place in us. They have a lot of options these days, so it is not something we take for granted” says Gates Little, President of The Southern Bank Company.
The quote could easily feature in the full news article. Plus, it includes information about where the quote came from, which saves the editor more time on research.
As far as quotes go, you’ll usually want to stick to people from within your business. Preferably, this person will be someone with authority and relevancy, as they’ll need to give some insight about the news you’re trying to share.
4. Add Some Boilerplate Information About Your Business
Unless you’re well-known, the recipients of your press release will have little idea of what your business does. Ideally, your press release’s first paragraph will take care of this somewhat with the ‘who’ element. However, it’s always a good practice to devote part of your press release to giving a basic introduction to your business.
You’ll normally add ‘boilerplate’ information to the end of the press release, and it should be even more factual and formal than your press release’s body copy. For the uninitiated, here’s a quick example of what we mean:
The Handsome Puppy Shelter is a non-profit organization based in Yonkers that rescues dogs from the streets, provides veterinarian assistance, and regularly holds drives to foster adoption. The shelter is run by John and Jane Doe. For more information, visit puppyshelter.com, or email email@example.com
The goal here is to provide all of the most basic information for whoever’s tasked with reading the press release. A decent journalist will often still carry out further research, but including this information is still considered good practice.
NOTE: If you’d like a free review of your website, just respond to this email asking for one. Be sure to include your website address and the best email to send the review to.
Last week, I talked about the three groups of prospects that are visiting your website. That really resonated with people because interest in our websites spiked.
In SEO language, these are micro-moments. Essentially, a micro-moment boils down to the reason a visitor is on your site.
He or she is:
1. Just starting to look for a school and doing research.
2. Ready to join a school but undecided which one.
3. Ready to join your school.
Your site should speak to each of these visitors in a language they are looking for.
One of the elements of our EmpowerKickboxing.com website that visitors liked was the tone of the site. It’s easy to understand and fun.
The line that got the most response was, Everyone from Bruce Lee to Mr. Miyagi said the secret to success is to “Focus on what works and discard the rest.” Who are we to argue with those guys?
That line communicates that we are fun and don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re not intimidating.
Also, our PROPRIETARY slogan, “Martial Arts You Can Master Faster!™” tells visitors exactly what they want to see because most websites convey a message that is, “Martial Arts You Can’t Master for Decades.”
Even the old adage that, Martial Arts is a Way of Life can be a turn off to many people. Maybe I’m happy with my life and just want to learn martial arts. Maybe I’m a Christian and want my kids to be raised with that as their foundation, not obscure mystical Asian traditions.
Indoctrination into a “new life” is a huge red flag that seems more cultish than recreational.
Martial arts school websites seem to fall into three categories.
1. The wix.com type DIY site that looks like a wix.com DIY site.
2. The pre-designed site that looks more like a template than an organic representation of the people in the school. Prospects can see stock shots a mile away and it’s a turn-off. It reeks of commercialism/higher tuition.
3. The site that is a tributary history lesson on the style and the instructor. Boring.
The website that you want is one that visitors think, “Wow! This makes total sense! They’re talking to me!”
Where are you in the spectrum of your online presence?
- Do you have your Google My Business claimed and optimized?
- Do you have your YouTube channel optimized?
- Is your school in the all-important Google 3-pack on searches?
- Is your site due for an upgrade?
Remember, if you’d like a free review of your website, just respond to this email asking for one. Be sure to include your website address and the best email to send the review to.
If you’d like to get a better feel for how to move prospects down the path of discovering and joining your school, read this short post.
At the bottom, I have a link to a new prototype website for Empower Kickboxing™ that illustrates that you can’t assume that a visitor knows anything about martial arts.
The site is not complete yet, but you can see that it is speaking to someone in the early stages of their journey.
What percentage of your website or Facebook page visitors do you think are:
- Just starting to look for a school?
- Ready to join a school but undecided?
- Ready to join your school?
Before you design any marketing for new students, decide which group you are targeting.
People just starting to look for a school are faced with a number of choices.
How are you helping them to understand and navigate the complex world of martial arts where many styles are hard to pronounce, much less get excited about in 2019?
A two-week trial doesn’t make your school attractive. Everyone has something similar. How can stand out by helping people understand how to choose a school without talking down to them.
Most school websites and FB ads lead with a price offer or an insider headline that only 1 in 1,000 visitors would understand. Example, “We teach Nihon Goshin.”
Virtually every website uses the same stock images and same stock headlines, so how does a visitor make sense of a world that, by design, is foreign to them?
Here are the headlines from the top 8 martial arts schools in a Google search where I live in Tampa Bay. I did a private window search for “martial arts schools near me.”
- Welcome to our dojo where we teach Nihon Goshin Aikido
- Gulf Coast FCS Kali
- Traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, & MMA Training
- About Iron Dragon MMA
- About the Academy
- A Complete Fitness and Martial Arts School
- Confidence Building Martial Arts Classes in Palm Harbor, FL
- Our Mission: To Train Relentlessly. The Learn the Perseverance of a Warrior
What makes your school different from these guys?
When you see the new Empower Kickboxing website prototype, notice that we don’t say, “Watch out for schools that have contracts!” Or, “We’re the only accredited school from the Kukkiwon.” Or, “Master Graden’s lineage goes right to Bruce Lee!”
No one cares. I didn’t find out about the Kukkiwon until I was a 4th-degree black belt in tae kwon do. I didn’t care then and I don’t care now.
What we do say is that martial arts is complex and here is how we’ve made it easier for you to understand and learn.
If you’d like MATA’s help in crafting a more clear message for your prospects, just comment below and reply to this email.
Click here to check out the new Empower Kickboxing™ website.