It’s been some time since I wrote a blog about the importance of learning how to send a press release, so I thought it was time for some reminders.
In the opinion of this former reporter-and-editor-turned-PR-consultant, there is no more cost-effective way to spread the word about your business than a press release. And consumers who read about you in the local news—in a story, not an advertisement—will trust the message so much more.
I help the leaders of businesses and nonprofits get their news in local newspapers—and often on the radio or television as well—all the time. I can help you too, but if you want to do it yourself, that’s smart as it brings your cost down to nothing but time!
There’s no magic to getting news about your business or organization into the local press. There’s a science, and it’s called: Send a press release. But when you send one, think it through, take it seriously and make it professional because your press release is the “face” of your company.
The first step in reaching out to the media is taking a step back to think through the newsworthy-ness of your press release. This is a key piece of the puzzle. Editors don’t want to hear about your holiday sale or your coupon promotion. They want to hear about your new business, your new location, your new product or service, or your new employee. (There is “new” in “news,” you see.)
Events that offer a benefit to the public and are free and open to the public are also a great candidate for business, and I can help you determine what kind of event would be a good fit for you and help you get some print and broadcast exposure.
The content of your press release should be concise and clear. Make sure to include your name, address, phone number, email address and website at the top of the release, under “Contact information.” In the first paragraph, called the “lead,” offer the essentials: the who, what, when, where, why of your message.
Don’t forget the supporting details! If you have a new business, make sure you spell out where it is and offer information on what you do and who you serve. If your release is about a new employee, make sure you include his or her title and summary information about previous work roles and education.
It’s also helpful to include a high-resolution photo of yourself or your employee, but try to avoid large group shots and low-resolution images.
Consider your geographic location when sending out a press release. In other words, don’t send a release on your business opening in Easthampton to the Greenfield Recorder as Easthampton is outside its circulation area. Think about what publications make sense for you to reach out to.
Always send your press release via email, both as an attachment and in the body of the email, to local newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and online journals/blogs. Search the websites of these outlets to determine the current and appropriate contact; don’t send your release to someone randomly.
Keep your expectations in check, and be patient. If you do it right, you should read, see or hear about your news in two to five weeks.
If this seems overwhelming, I’m happy to help.