When it comes time to grab some attention for your business, don’t discount the media as a free opportunity to get your name out there. Sure, marketing and paid advertisements are important. But taking advantage of the business news section of your local paper can provide great dividends as well.
Did someone get promoted? Have you had a record sales year or month? These are great reasons to pen a brief press release. It’s important to have something that is newsworthy in order the grab the attention of the media outlet you plan to send your release to. It’s a good idea to browse through the feature and business sections of the publication to get an idea of what they publicize. Then, evaluate your business and find an angle. Are you launching a new product line? Have you won an industry award? Are you participating in a fundraiser for an area charity? Have you topped last year’s profits? Delve deep and most businesses can come up with angle, but be sure to include plenty of information about your business as well, including the services your offer.
Templates can be a great help and there are plenty of free options available. Mircosoft Office has some built in and there are multiple free options from viable business associated websites. Keep in mind that your release should say “For immediate release” at the very top, followed by accurate contact information.
Be concise. Reporters want to know the facts: who, what, where, when and why. Supply the information in a clear, uncluttered manner. Remember, this is not advertising copy … but rather a free service provided by an unbiased source, so keep the flowery, complimentary language to a minimum and stick to data and facts.
Grammar, usage and internet etiquette counts. Don’t send a press release in all capital letters making it difficult to read. Likewise, don’t use industry associated acronyms and internet slang that others may not understand. Don’t try to be too witty – but rather opt for nice, clean, well-written sentences. Don’t be in too much of a rush – editing and rewriting may be required. Don’t expect to complete your project in one sitting. Instead, write a rough draft and come back to read it later, first checking for content and then for grammar, language and spelling. This is your chance to present a professional face to the public – make a good impression. Don’t hesitate to read it out loud to yourself and get a feel for how the release flows.
Be sure to include a photo if available. If there’s something specific to illustrate, make sure you include print-ready art. Most media outlets require a large format, 300 dpi images. Color is always better, as it can easily be converted to black and white as needed, while the opposite isn’t possible. Make your photo interesting. Instead of trying to line up the entire office staff holding up a sign, focus in on one or two employees doing something more active.
Use a friendly format. If you email your release to area media outlets, make sure it is in a user-friendly format. Most offices today can read a simple Microsoft Word document. If in doubt, a raw text format is safe. Many a press release is simply disregarded because it cannot be opened by the recipient. Avoid a .pdf that will require the newspaper to retype the release if they decide to use it.
Include a quote or two from the company president/owner or from the parties involved in the subject matter. And create a standard “about us” section that you can tack on to the bottom of each press release giving a brief description and history of the company.
Include your logo and contact info. Put that logo at the top of the release for ease of name/business recognition. Double check your contact information – a typographical error in your phone number or email address can make all the difference.