When running a business, whether it is located on Main Street in your town or online, publicity is essential. When a small business has little or no advertising budget, the best thing for the owner to do is to get people interested in your company. How do you do that with a limited budget? Write a newsworthy press release and send it to the editors of local and national publications in the market that potential customers read.
This press release should be no longer than one page. Make sure you only send the release to the editors that directly cover your field and don't forget to include your contact information. It is not necessary to follow-up with the editor as long as you include your contact information. In fact, most editors do not like getting follow-up calls about your press release. If they like it… they will call.
Here are the four steps to writing a newsworthy press release:
1. Decide when you are sending out the release. It is always best to send out your release after 11AM EST, any day besides Friday and Monday unless you have hard news. Also decide whether the release is "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" or not. If not, include the specific date and time that you want the publication to make your press release public knowledge. Write the release date and time or "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" at the top of your press release.
2. Create a catchy headline that accurately summarizes your press release. Your press release's headline can be one line or have a subheading as well. Just remember you are competing against hundreds of other press releases on the editor's desk. When editors do not have time to sit and read every single press release that comes in, they sometimes just take a glance at the headline. It is very important to have a headline gets their attention so they start reading. Work on the headline because it is just as important as the body of the press release. While you should make your headline interesting and intriguing, make sure it has something to do with the contents of the press release. Using a headline like "Free Trip to Bermuda" when your press release is about your organic baby food company is not appropriate unless you are giving away free trips to Bermuda to your customers, and even then that headline should be revised.
3. Compose the body of your press release. A short (3-4 paragraphs), newsworthy press release will grab the attention of editors, which will in turn get you publicity-and for only the cost of emailing, faxing or mailing the release. The release has to highlight the uniqueness of your business - what differentiates you from your competitors. If you can't think of a unique thing about your company-wait until you can before you send out the release.
Here are a few newsworthy topics to write about in your release:
1. Grand Opening/Re-Opening of your business, e.g. an interesting story about why/how you started your company and the target market of your business.
2. The results of a recent survey your company created, e.g. provide the results of the survey to the news media.
3. Tie Your Company to an Upcoming Holiday, e.g. a company that makes Hawaiian lays in National Luau month or if you work at home and it's Home Based Business week.
4. A strategic partnership that your company has formed: e.g. Annabelle's Organic Baby Food has formed an alliance with Shannon's Baby Gift Baskets.
5. Include a short, concise company profile or business owner bio at the bottom of the release. If the editors have never heard about your company, this is the place to give them some additional background information or to give them your standard company description.
After writing your release, edit it and re-edit it. Get rid of words that are not necessary. Make sure the sentences are easy to read and even easier to understand. Use strong and lively words in your release. Format your press release to be double-spaced on one page and at the end of the release type "# # #" so the editors know they have reached the end of your press release. Remember when you distribute the press release to only distribute it to publications where the readers would be interested in your subject and make sure the release is real news and not an advertisement.
Dana Victoria Sophia, a small business consultant/coach and publicist to women entrepreneurs across the country, actively assists women in achieving their business goals through her website for small business coaching (www.DanaSophia.com) and her website for small business public relations (www.SophiaPR.com). She can be reached at (800) 249-3346 or Dana@SophiaPR.com.