Press Release Tip 52
Tell a dramatic story
The art of storytelling is perfect for press releases about fiction or nonfiction.
That’s what I did when I wrote the press release for my client, Cheryl Obermiller, author of “Fraud Points! – the Small Business Owner’s Guide to Outwitting Embezzlers, Thieves, and Scallywags.”
I could have used the problem/solution angle in the first paragraph. But the story of how she was embezzled was so dramatic that I knew it would catch readers’ attention.
This was the perfect opportunity to also include a list of tips excerpted from the book, and then continue the story. Notice the phrase “Small Business Embezzlement Expert” at the beginning of the headline, and the sub-head.
Here’s the release:
Small Business Embezzlement Expert Writes Survival Guide on How to
“Think Like a Thief” and Outsmart Crooked Bookkeepers and Accountants
FraudPoints! shares foolproof tips on how to keep every dollar safe
HARRISONVILLE, Mo., Jan. 21, 2019 – Cheryl Obermiller remembers the sickening feeling the day she read the certified letter from the IRS demanding that her construction company pay almost $35,000 in payroll taxes.
On that cold, snowy morning in 2010, Obermiller thought the IRS must have confused her with someone else because her trusted bookkeeper would never have made that kind of major mistake. Within days, with help from the FBI and her bank, Obermiller discovered that the bookkeeper, who was also her friend, had embezzled almost $500,000 over eight years, right under her nose.
“I felt so dizzy and sick, I could barely stand,” Obermiller said.
The major upheaval cost her more than $1 million total, including many months spent rebuilding her family-owned heavy construction business. She was determined to protect other small business owners from experiencing the same nightmare.
Obermiller’s first book “Fraud Points! – the Small Business Owner’s Guide to Outwitting Embezzlers, Thieves, and Scallywags,” is a wake-up call for any company that uses internal bookkeepers or accountants. It explains that even though most of them are scrupulously honest, they are the people most likely to commit financial fraud. FraudPoints! (PotHole Press, 2019, ISBN 978-9994951-0-0, $27.95) is available in hardback, softback, ebook and audiobook at Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/fraudpoints.
The book identifies more than a dozen fraud points: areas of a small business that are vulnerable to fraud. It gives hundreds of tips on how business owners can prevent and detect fraud in these sensitive areas. Obermiller also gives advice on how small business owners can manage their accounting functions, even if they know little about accounting. The book explains how to stay safe with special passwords, manage checking accounts, make sure all taxes are paid on time, and recognize areas where a small business is most vulnerable to thieves.
3 Best Ways to Detect and Prevent Fraud
Obermiller, the chief executive officer of Obermiller Construction Co. in Harrisonville, Mo., offers these three tips to other business owners on how to avoid the mess that disrupted her world:
- Fetch your mail from the post office and open it yourself.
As you touch each piece, ask yourself, “What could a dishonest person do with this?” This includes bank statements that can be photoshopped, applications for credit cards that anyone can complete in the business owner’s name, and IRS notices that can be hidden or destroyed.
- Keep your checks and credit cards under lock and key. Don’t let anyone have access to them unless they go through you. Invest in a giant fireproof floor safe where you can store permanent records and other sensitive items that an embezzler can use to steal from you.
- Review your online bank account every day. Make sure you recognize every transaction. This takes just a few minutes and is the fastest way to spot trouble early.
With tenacity and grit, Obermiller defended her company against the IRS, and spearheaded the prosecution. Her bookkeeper was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Obermiller spent many months rebuilding the company, researching fraud, and creating a simple, inexpensive system for any business owner to keep their money safe.
“A small business of less than 100 people is literally 100 times more likely to be embezzled than a large company,” Obermiller says. “The kind of loss that might have very little effect on a larger company can bankrupt a small business.”
For questions about bulk orders or Obermiller’s speaking availability, contact her at Cheryl@FraudPoints.com or 816-380-5510.
About the Author:
Small business embezzlement expert Cheryl Obermiller founded Obermiller Construction, a family-owned heavy construction business, in 1993. Eight years later, she had built it into a successful multi-million-dollar company with dozens of employees. In 2010, she discovered that a trusted bookkeeper had embezzled almost $500,000 from her company, the beginning of a five-year legal and financial mess that cost her at least $1 million. With tenacity and grit, she defended her company against the IRS and spearheaded the prosecution that resulted in a 33-month sentence for the bookkeeper. Obermiller speaks to business groups and associations on fraud prevention and detection. She and her husband, Roy, are the parents of eight children and live in Harrisonville, Mo.
About the Book:
Fraud Points! — The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Outwitting Embezzlers, Thieves, and Scallywags is a wake-up call for small business owners who rely on internal accountants or bookkeepers to manage their money but know nothing about accounting or how to spot fraud. Author Cheryl Obermiller, who discovered her trusted accountant had embezzled almost $500,000 over eight years, explains the FraudPoints System she developed that changed her vulnerable company from “cash buffet” to “not on my watch.” The book walks business owners through dozens of ways to prevent and detect the most common and expensive kinds of financial fraud and keep every dollar safe.
Review Copies and Media Interviews:
For a review copy of FraudPoints! or an interview with Cheryl Obermiller, contact her at Cheryl@FraudPoints.com or 816-380-5510. When requesting a review copy, please provide street address. If you would like to receive it as a Word document or PDF, let us know.
The publicity package I created for Cheryl’s book included five pitches for a variety of online and traditional media. Every pitch was customized, and I researched the journalists I was addressing before I wrote each pitch so I could weave in personal details about their media outlets or jobs.
Remember that a press release, on its own, won’t result in nearly as much publicity as it will if accompanied by a strong, customized pitch/
If you want to research and pitch as well as I do, I’ve created a bundle of pitching templates and samples for you. See “19 Quick & Easy Ways to Pitch Your Book.”
Opportunity #52 to write a press release: Open house
If you’re having an open house, tell people what they’ll find when they get there. Explain what you’re giving away, whether you’re serving refreshments, if children are welcome, or any other facts people need so they can decide if they want to visit. The media seldom attend open houses. But you can take your own photos, write captions, and submit them to the media afterward and share on social media.
Next: Tie your topic to a celebrity.