One tool in the small business PR toolkit should be the news release (also called a media or press release). It’s not as hard to use as it may seem, and any small business including solopreneurs can make use of this tool. Most articles on releases talk about how you write them, but the most important parts are really what you are writing it about, and who you are writing it for. A news release starts with finding the ‘news‘, with identifying the ‘what‘, then linking it with who would actually want to read this info, and what publications they read (I’ll cover the how to write a release in a second post in this series).
What kind of results can you expect from a news release?
There are three main results from a well-written, well-planned release:
- Increased site traffic via search engines, which often pick up online releases and social media releases (I’ll cover the social media release in part 2).
- Pick up by other sites that expose your news to their readers, which in turn can increase your site traffic.
- And the more traditional use of releases – attracting the interest of a freelance writer, reporter or editor at a publication who either writes a story, or contacts you for more info or an interview and then, hopefully, writes a story.
What topics or activities make for a good small business news release?
Most business press releases are related to your products, services, expertise or your biz activities / events. Any of those topics can be the base for a release that may generate site traffic and/or news coverage. Look for things that connect your business with the interests of a site or publication’s readers.
If you can legitimately tie your business to something larger, it can increase our chances of coverage.
- Trend — local, regional, national, or in an industry trend – that your product, service ties into (or something that bucks a trend)
- Timely news event / story — either local, regional, national, international
- Seasonal activity — focusing on a need or trend
- Something new, different, cutting edge or unique about your product
- An upcoming event you are holding, or another event that you can tie your business into by subject (both paid and open to the public events can be publicized)
- Niche interest — if something about your business is of interest to a specific audience, and/or solves their problems — it will likely interest an editor or a search engine
Topic ideas to get you brainstorming your small business press release:
Strong releases should have what is called a “hook” or a “slant“. From the summer travel season to tax time or that new TV show — news hooks abound on which to hang stories/releases. The stronger the ‘hook’ and the closer the match with your business, the better your chances are for landing both types of coverage.
- Niche stories — if your customers read a publication, you read it too. Get to know which editors write on what topics, then when a trend appears that fits your biz —jump on it! Or send a product release to their product editor that shows how it helps people like their readers.
- Any business (restaurants, shops, etc) using mobile QR codes to attract customers are hitting a trend. Being the first in your area to pitch a story on QR codes may get you coverage, or a trend piece on several area businesses.
- A former employer held a large annual regional event and I was tasked with getting yearly front-page weekend section coverage. The editors started with a “No, we can’t give coverage“…yet every year I got it – by pitching a different slant in my release such as:
- -New, fun early a.m. kids/family activities for spectators
- -The elaborate spectator tailgate picnics and competition
- -The spring fashion and hats (First local upscale spring event)
- -The various sponsors who supported the event despite a tight economy
- -Interview the young participants for whom this was their first horse-racing event
- The best hook for product releases is if you can show how it solves reader’s problems; however if there is something new, unique, on trend or it has that cool “it” factor that can help as well, but don’t stretch the truth.
- Couponing websites — find an angle to connect what you do to TLC’s ‘Extreme Couponing‘ show — either how they do it right, or wrong. Offer tips so we can learn to coupon and save. A TV news show followed three local coupon experts on shopping trips to show how they save.
For more press release topic ideas check out this PRWeb.com post: http://service.prweb.com/learning/article/find-your-inspiration/
Cathy Larkin, founder of WebSavvyPR.com is a seasoned PR pro who makes social media, blogging and PR easy for small businesses to both understand and use to connect with their customers. She writes, speaks and coaches on these topics, and consults on PR & Social Media projects for established small business owners.