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The Power of the Press Release in Small Businesses

Posted by Ilise Benun on

Here is a guest post from William Eve, who shares details about the ideal make up of a press release, as well as how to create and distribute one.

The press release is an essential tool which provides low-cost publicity for small businesses. A well crafted, highly targeted press release can bring returns far greater than the most cutting-edge marketing campaign. As long as a press release follows some basic rules, it will be accepted by both major wire services and specialty publications.

In today’s business world, every event of any significance is heralded by a press release, yet this tool continues to be highly effective at informing your target demographic and the greater consumer and business markets of your current activities. By following some simple rules, you can ensure that your business, product or service is brought to the attention of those who will benefit the most from it as well as those who may be interested in investing..

Anatomy of a Press Release

Let’s take a brief look at the makeup of a press release and consider how to craft one that will be noticed by distribution services and publications. First and foremost, a press release is a news bulletin. Its content must be of importance to your target audience. It cannot contain sales language or refer to your audience in the second person, as in this article. It must be a formal, third-person document, but that doesn’t mean it can’t contain lively language to grab the attention of your potential customers and the publications and broadcasts they’re likely to frequent.

A press release can highlight a new product, a revision to an existing product, a change in direction of your business, how your business compares to your competition, your business’s view of a current controversy or anything else newsworthy. You shouldn’t limit yourself to writing a press release only when you release a new product or update your service, but at the same time, you shouldn’t deluge your target audience with meaningless press releases that retread old ground. Once you lose your audience, it’s next to impossible to get them back.

Here are the detailed components of a press release. A press release contains a headline, one paragraph of key points, two or three supporting paragraphs and a call to action explaining where readers can find more information. It should also contain at least one quote from a person of interest, which for small businesses is usually you as the business owner. That’s all there is to it, but writing an eye-catching press release can be more difficult than it may first appear.

Crafting and Distributing a Perfect Press Release

As a small business, you likely don’t have the budget to hire a top-flight PR agency to create your release and get it in the hands of the right people, but luckily, you don’t need one. If you have a marketer or writer in house, they can more than likely create something that will do the job just fine. If not, there are plenty of writers with PR experience to whom you can outsource the job for a reasonable fee. In many ways, creating a press release is the easy part; distributing it to the right people is more difficult.

There are any number of companies and agencies dedicated to distributing press releases, and you can pay a pretty penny if you’re not careful. When searching for the right distributor, the first question to answer is to whom should your release be distributed for maximum impact? If your news will only be of interest to those in your local area, you may be better off contacting local publications directly, rather than paying to distribute your press release nationally or even worldwide. For businesses with broader appeal, distribution companies offer packages which allow you to target your release to specific industries or population segments. This is the best way of creating buzz amongst the people most likely to take advantage of your product or service.

Not every press release is going to make your business a household name, so don’t be discouraged if the first one or several meet with a meagre response, or even none at all. Simply adjust your distribution channels and try again. Remember, a perfect press release shown to the right audience can take your business from the bin of mediocrity to the precipice of fame in the blink of an eye.

This article was written by William Eve. 

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