Top 20 Reasons to Write a Press Release
Any marketer will tell you that publicity is more effective than advertising for creating visibility for your business. And dollar for dollar, publicity is usually the least expensive way to get your name in the paper.
But just because publicity is a good thing doesn't mean that it is easy. When you're sitting at your desk staring at the "press release" item on your to-do list, you may be wondering what the heck you can write about your business that is newsworthy this month, and that might possibly interest the editors on your press list.
The good news is that the job of editors is to fill space, and so any appropriate press release that you can give them will be welcomed. The not-so-good news is that to be appropriate, your press release must be relevant to the publication's readership, well-written, and in before deadline.
As to what is appropriate for the publications in your sphere, you can either check the press release submission guidelines (found on most publications' web sites) or develop personal relationships with the editors (not a bad idea, but it can be time-consuming).
If you haven't got the time to do your due diligence, or if you're the maverick type who prefers a "throw it against the wall to see what sticks" approach, here is a list of appropriate topics for press releases that most business section editors would welcome:
1. Opening a new business. Yes, even your small business is newsworthy.
2. Seasonal gift guide. Whether you sell products, services, information, or experiences, gift guides are great for getting coverage. Create gift guides for giving holidays featuring your best offers, such as Mother's Day, grads, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever. Sell software as a service (SaaS)? This concept still works, when done right.
3. Signing a major new client or contract. Nothing succeeds like success, so don't be shy about tooting your own horn. Just be sure that your agreement with your new client doesn't preclude publicizing the relationship.
4. New hire, internal staff promotions, or other personnel shuffles.
5. Introducing a new product or service. Yes, you'd think this one would be a gimme but many small businesses simply fail to let the public know what's new.
6. Formation of a new alliance, co-venture, or licensing agreement. Partnering with another business creates credibility.
7. New office space acquired, or old office space remodeled. This may not be big news, but it helps position your business as being upwardly mobile.
8. Launching a web site. This really only works when your web site is more than just a brochure for your business; you need to provide some value for your site visitors to get space on the page.
9. Announcing a contest, sweepstakes, sales promotion, or competition. Who doesn't want to save money or win something?
10. Events calendar of classes, seminars, workshops or programs.
11. Giving a speech for a civic, philanthropic or other outside organization. Not only is this an event announcement, but also it's a great way to position yourself as an expert.
12. Winning or being nominated for an award or other special recognition. Yes, it really is an honor just to be nominated, and it's flattering when someone outside your business thinks you're great, so why not tell the world?
13. Awarding recognition to others. I once had a client who selected a vendor each year for their internal Vendor of the Year award, and it always resulted in positive publicity for both parties.
14. Commemorating a significant milestone or anniversary. Hey, even McDonald's made a big deal out of selling one million burgers back in the '60s, and look where they are now.
15. Media mentions such as interviews, spotlights or quotes in major newspapers or magazines, or planned appearances on television. We'd all want to know if you were booked on Oprah, so immediately after the taping, please do write that press release.
16. Reaction to or statement regarding a topical event or issue. I once advised a client in the music industry to release a statement outlining his position on the voluntary labeling issue when it was a hot topic. He was quoted in a front-page article in a national publication along with executives from two major labels.
17. Survey results or findings, or an industry report. It doesn't have to be fancy, but if you can provide a report on the pulse of your industry, you can carve out a significant place in your market.
18. Philanthropic activities such as programs, support, or donations. Holding a bake sale for charity? Donating a day's receipts to the Humane Society? People love to hear how businesses support their community.
19. Special events such as a celebrity visit, involvement in a campaign or endorsement. You don't have to hire Jen and Ben to get a lot of attention. Americans love celebrities, so if you work with one, let everyone know.
20. Significant policy changes, such as a decision to use nothing but recycled materials in manufacturing, eliminating your internal hierarchical structure, or working only with American vendors.
Remember that the key concept in news is "new," so if your news is old, there is probably less chance of it appearing in the paper. And of course, if your press release is poorly written, there is little to no chance that it will make it into print.
But if your press release is well written, in well before deadline, and contains information of interest to the readers of that publication, the chance that you'll see your story in print are far greater than you might imagine.
And don't forget to include ALL the information! Be sure to answer the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why.
This article was written by Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach. Ronnie's web site is a comprehensive marketing resource for small office/home office business professionals. For free marketing resources including articles and valuable marketing tools, visit her web sites at www.VeronikaNoize.com and www.DIYMarketingCenter.com, or email her at Ronnie@VeronikaNoize.com.
Top 20 Reasons to Write a Press Release © 2003 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.