Tuesday, October 27, 2009

News Releases

A big issue facing all small businesses, especially new ones, is marketing or 'getting the word on the street'.  How can others learn about my product and/or service?  Tweets, Facebook posts, emails and posting notices may help, but generally will not provide adequate exposure.  This is a major problem if my business is a locally based dry cleaner or pet grooming service. Not many people willingly send laundry or Rover across the state.

How about this idea - a press release?  The media is still the most significant and powerful form of marketing yet invented and provides instant credibility and exposure.  How often have we heard "I read it in..." or "I heard it on..." so it must be true?  This concept, known as 'social proof', prods people to browse or purchase. A story in a local newspaper or trade publication is often a golden ticket. 

Press releases are used on the Internet too, potentially creating traffic from search engines such as Google or Yahoo and exposing a business to a larger audience.  This is a major advantage when a target market is geographically large or the business sells via the web.

Tips for writing a winning press release:

- Consider the 'newsworthy' nature of the release.  Why would a journalist write your story?  A journalist writes to sell copy - the article - not your product or service.  Give them something unique and they'll gladly write about it. FOR FREE!  Both sides win; the writer sells more copy and you gain clients.

- What is unique or distinctive about your product or service?  Have you recently opened a theme restaurant or patented the Chia Chinchilla?  Do you have a new product or service for your target area?  This product or service may have succeeded elsewhere but is fresh and original where you are.

- Write in an inverted pyramid style.  This is different than fictional writing in which a story builds.  In a press release, put the important points first - who, what, where, when, how, why - and leave the details for the second half.  Readers like to skim and the first lines must catch their attention.

- Be short and to the point.  300 to 500 words, no more.  Be concise, simple, and relevant.

- The title of your release less than 10 words.  More is an article and boring.  Make it catchy.

- Include contact information.  Address, phone number, web site (URL), or email.  Ensure the person that responds to inquiries knows the product or service.  Don't turn off new clients with incorrect information. 

Any other suggestions?  Please add them to the comment area.  Thanks!

- AJ


  1. I highly recommend if at all possible spending the extra money on the press release service that will get your release listed in the search engines. Usually this will happen within 24 hours of release. For PRweb this cost at this time is about $200.00. This is how you get the search engines to follow your links (called backlinks) which you will of course included in your press release. I can't stress enough how much difference this makes in boosting your site with the search engines.

  2. This is more expensive than I thought... I had heard around $80.00.

    Have you seen results from using a press release? If so, can you put a tangible number on that?

  3. Here are results from one press release. Mind you this is about machinery moving services so it doesn't have quite the same pull as your who's who in Hollywood press release will have.

    Full Page Reads:

    Read from PRWeb site - 1,142
    eBook download - 127
    Printer friendly version - 17

    Headline Impressions:

    Displayed thru RSS, XML or other - 22,224
    Displayed on a PRWeb site - 15,575
    Requested by Topix Network - 83
    Displayed on 3rd party site via Javascript - 28

    Total Activity: 43,609

  4. Pretty darn good, Craig, especially given the industrial nature. You must and should be quite pleased. Have you received additional business because of it or just exposure?