Today, press releases can do much more than simply get your business name in the paper. They also improve search engine optimization for your website, create backlinks and drive traffic to your online storefront. Of course, that's assuming that you write a good press release.
Get the most out of your press releases by following these simple small business tips.
5 Tips for Effective Press Releases
1. Substance counts
Press releases offer so many benefits, it's easy to overlook their original purpose: to announce a piece of news. A press release should contain substantive, timely and relevant information -- not thinly veiled advertising.
According to PRNewswire, a release distribution site, appropriate news items may include:
- New product launches
- Business milestones
- Opinions on industry news and trends
- Joint ventures or other business collaborations
2. Write professionally
That doesn't necessarily mean you need a professional writer to compose your release -- although that is certainly an option -- but you do need to be sure your release follows basic journalistic standards.
If you write a press release about an "AMAZING product that will REVOLUTIONIZE your life," you're missing the point entirely. Skip the caps, lose the second-person references and stick with an objective tone.
Many press outlets will publish a good release verbatim. As a general rule, however, read back your release out loud, and ask yourself if it sounds like something the paper might print. If not, it may be time to revise.
3. Include contact details
You've distributed a compelling piece of news. Now, how are people going to learn more?
Include a media contact for journalists who may want to follow up on a story. In addition, be sure that you link the press release to your website and include any relevant consumer contact information for interested customers who may come across your release.
4. Distribute both online and offline
For a price, online press release distribution sites such as PRNewswire, PRWeb and eReleases will publish your release both on their site and on major portals such as Google News and YahooNews. Some distribution sites will even write and edit your release, too.
Of course, you don't need to pay to publish a press release. Upload it to your website, post it to LinkedIn and email it to newsrooms that may be interested.
And don't forget about offline publications. If you have a storefront or other presence in a small community, make sure you get your release into the hands of the local paper or community magazine where there is less competition with other newsmakers.
5. Don’t pester the media
While there's no set rule about how often to send out press releases, chances are you don't have something newsworthy happening twice a week. Avoid inundating your media contacts with endless press releases, or you risk becoming the person whose emails earn an express trip to the spam folder.
Press releases are an important component of any successful business promotion, but take care to use them appropriately and judiciously.
Maryalene LaPonsie has been writing professionally for more than a decade on topics including education, insurance and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Western Michigan University.