Taking Advantage of Free Media for Your Small Business: Crafting the Ideal Press Release
Marketing a small business oftentimes is perceived as a highly challenging and potentially costly endeavor. In fact, there are some strategies that you can employ as a small business owner that permits you to up the recognition and brand value of your enterprise without breaking the bank in the process.
One strategy that you can employ to promote your small business is optimizing your prospects for free media attention, including both traditional and new media outlets. A considerable number of small businesses fall short in this area. A key reason why these ventures are not able to optimize their prospects for free media attention rests in the fact that many entrepreneurs don't fully understand how to craft and create an effective, useful press release.
Despite the manifold changes in communication in the digital era, the reality is that the formulation of a proper press release has not changed that dramatically. This is one tool in the digital age that remains rooted in traditional media relations practices.
In his book 10-Point Press Release Plan: Profitably Promoting Your Small Business, media relations expert Mike Broemmel sets forth a number of tips on creating an effective press release. Broemmel draws on his experience at the White House in the Office of Media Relations during the Administration of Ronald Reagan and his role as director of public relations, marketing, and media for an international corporation in the healthcare industry.
Keep a Press Release Concise
The key to crafting a successful press release is making certain that it contains all essential information. There is an old adage among media relations professionals that the only good press release is one that lays out the entire story for a reporter or other media professional.
Although you must make certain that you include all relevant information in a press release for your small business, you need to make certain that you don't ramble. You must keep a press release filled with all necessary information but completely concise at the same time. In some instances, that can be easier said that done.
In the final analysis, by incorporating these tips and strategies into a press release for your small business, you will enhance the chances that representatives of the media will convey your information to the public at large. By presenting your press release a truly professional manner, you open the door to developing a relationship with representative of the media that will be useful to your business into the future.
There is no specific word count rule when it comes to a press release. With that said, an accepted practice is to keep the maximum word count of a typical press release at about 300 words. Extending the word count upwards to 500 is acceptable, provided valuable and necessary information is being conveyed.
Make a Press Release as Simple as Possible
In addition to being concise, a professional press release is known for its simplicity. In this day and age, a number of so-called press professionals promote the use of press releases that contain a great deal of fluff, including complicated designs and flourishes of color. All such additions are inappropriate and convey a sense of unprofessionalism.
The layout of a press release needs to be straightforward. The title of the press release must read like a headline. Indeed, it should be written with an eye to the title of the press release being utilized as the headline for a story about the information conveyed in the release.
Media Contact and Associated Information is Vital
Information regarding the media contact is crucial. The first step in this process is selecting an appropriate person to be the media contact for a press release. The media contact must be versed on the subject matter of the release, capable of responding effectively to questions raised by a representative of the media, and fairly well available to respond in a timely manner to requests for information from a representative of the media.
The next step is setting out at the top of a press release, ideally in the upper right hand corner directly under the title or headline, the essential contact information. This includes the media contact's name and title, if the individual has one. The other contact information should also include a phone number and email address.
The contact information box at the top of a press release is not space for a Twitter handle. Supplementing press release data via Twitter is not a good practice, no matter what may be happening in Washington, D.C., these days.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who focuses on personal finance and other money matters. She currently writes for Checkworks.com, where you can get personal checks and business checks.