Small Business Marketing: Press Releases Are Your Ticket to Publicity!

A simple press release can be your ticket to big time publicity at a minimal cost.  A finely crafted press release can win you all kinds of attention from print publications, television stations and radio contacts.    It will put your business and your message directly in front of those media professionals who decide who to cover and who to skip.

What is a press release?  It’s typically a one page announcement of something happening at your business.  It could be your grand opening, the release of a new product or an upcoming special event.  If you don’t have something big to announce, it could be an introduction of yourself or your colleagues as a specialized expert in a specific area of interest to the press.

Who should see your press release?  You should target your press release to publications or broadcast media professionals who would be interested in what you have to say.  It can be national magazines, local lifestyle editors, television producers, and more.    Keep your message on track to keep your targeted readers interest and minimize the chances of ending up in the the recycling bin.

What format should you use?  A solid press release follows a standard letter format with some minor tweaks.   It should be presented on company letterhead, double spaced and include your company contact name and contact information.  You should start it off with an eye-catching headline designed to capture the reader’s attention.  Make sure you include a dateline so the recipient recognizes the timeliness of the information.  Once you start to get into the meat of the information make sure you cover the basic elements of who, what, where, when, why and how.

Pay attention to the details!  Spelling and proper grammar are absolute essentials.  If you deliver a press release full of types and errors, it is very likely that you’ll find it quickly tossed into the nearest recycling bin.

What do you do when they take the bait?  If you get a reporter or editor to pay attention to your release, you will often get a follow-up call for more information.  Keep your message tight and on tone with the release itself.  If you are promoting a specific event or product, keep to the basics and let them follow-up with questions.  Offer useful information and establish yourself as an expert in whatever you are pitching.  Make sure you manage the relationship to ensure you are a resource they can turn to in the future for future articles or features.

About the author:    The Business Girl is Terri Sullivan Biehn.  I have been a professional business writer and management consultant for more than seventeen years.  As a management consultant, I work with entrepreneurs to develop business plans and other documents.  Through my consulting practice, I coach entrepreneurs and small business owners on their general start-up, marketing, financial, operational and management issues.