Look, I get it. Press releases are old school. People see press releases as dry, dusty, and boring. But as a small business, a press release can be your best friend if you know how to use it right. Let’s go over the basics, and make your news actually newsworthy!
What to Write a Press Release About
Sure, you’ve got news. You want to update the community about your awesome new program. You dropped your prices. You partnered with a community college. Which one of those do reporters (and especially the community) want to hear about? Make sure you ask that question about every press release you write – reporters cover stories to get people to read what they write. Sure, you can issue a release about updates and price changes. But those stories aren’t going to get coverage unless its partnered with a great story about WHY you did it.
If you can share a great story about the student that is interning at your business through program at the local college, then write a release. If you can share an excellent anecdote about an employee finding cost saving measures to drop the price of your customers’ favorite item, write a release.
To help you figure out when to issue a release, I’ve included a short list of “news-worthy” reasons to pick up a pen.
- Received an award or reaching a challenge
- Issuing an important statement
- Celebrated an anniversary
- Announce a new partnership
- Adding a partnership
- New location
- Announcing a beneficial new program or service
- Releasing the date of an event
And for even more ideas – check out this article from Entrepreneur Magazine.
Key Elements of a Great Press Release
You’ve got a great “press release” worthy item to share with the world – what do you HAVE to include?
The Right Recipient(s)
The worst thing you can do with your great news is blanketing it over all the reporters in town. So, pare down your list. What reporters have you worked with in the past? Or, what reporters would be interested in your story? If you are writing about a new technological breakthrough, the person covering the obits isn’t going to care.
On the flip side, if your news is relevant to a bigger audience, make sure you reach out! Let’s say that technological advance is groundbreaking in your field. Reach out to the reporters in your specific field from related journals and specific publications. This kind of coverage helps to grow your business into a thought leader for your industry if covered.
Get Their Attention
Most press releases are sent via email today, and if your reporters are anything like me – they get WAY too much email. Hopefully you’ve cultivated a good relationship with the people your sending to, but even if you sent them cookies yesterday, a boring subject line usually means that email won’t be read. Lead with your most important news, and be to the point.
Inside the Envelope
And once they read that great subject line and open the email, ensure there is a properly formatted release in the email itself. No one wants to open up a Word doc or a pdf to try and figure out your news. Put your information into context (because not everyone may know all the details you want to include), and add extras when necessary. Place a relevant photo or link to more information to cut out steps for your reporter.
Try these tips out the next time you have great news to spread – you’ll be your reporters’ new best friend.
But if you still need help, contact me today – I’d be happy to walk you through it!