Press releases are amazing in their ability to accomplish so much in so few words. Consider this: a piece of writing of, say, 300 to 500 words can reach readers all over the world, almost instantaneously, at little or no cost. You can submit frequent press releases for a cumulative effect. And sometimes a news publication will get so excited about the news item that they’ll assign someone to turn it into a complete story.
Following are the basics of creating an effective news release.
The purpose of a press release:
To create awareness about your business and your product or service.
To establish an image of you and your business as standouts in your niche.
To drive traffic to your website or store.
How to use press releases most effectively:
Don’t think of a press release as a one-time thing. Send them frequently, perhaps once a month, to maintain top-of-mind awareness among your target audience.
Sell, don’t just tell. Since your goal is to generate business, your news needs to be more compelling than “here we are, we’d love to have your business.” It’s okay to use that occasionally, or just to get started. More persuasive angles are discussed below.
Distribute them far and wide. Depending on whether you’re an online business, a brick-and-mortar business, or both, you have many options: your local newspaper(s), trade publications, and online news release services. Go ahead and send it multiple places.
Attention-grabbing angles for a press release:
Push an emotional hot button. Depending on your product or service and your own convictions, there’s a lot to choose from; hot-button issues are famous for getting people to take notice–and take action.
Piggyback on a current news item. Anything in the news already has their attention; they’ll be interested in your story for more information.
Tie into a holiday. And be imaginative with what constitutes a holiday! Probably every week of the year, there’s a recognition of some sort; find one that connects with what you do.
Hook up with a charity. Depending on your niche, it could be animals, children, world hunger, or any number of good causes. The ways you can capitalize on people’s generosity are almost countless.
Tell about a controversy. Or…create one, by challenging something that an expert has recently said.
Reveal a scam. People love to hate scams, and this works very well in certain niches.
Announce a free report you’ve just released. (Be prepared to deliver the report, of course.)
Hold a contest. Or ask for contributions of reader stories on a particular theme that relates to your business.
Give away a free product or service.
Do a human-interest story. People love warm-fuzzy stories, so this is one that has great potential for being turned into a full-length story.
Remember, whatever angle you choose, the press release should always lead back to you, your business, your product or service, your website, or your store. A word of caution, though: in order to do its job, a press release must be done right! No readers means no buyers.
The ultimate goal of a press release is to motivate people to buy from you. When done right, they can be powerful marketing tools. Find someone skilled in writing press releases and get in the habit of sending them out regularly. Before you know it, you’ll be the best-known business in your niche–and have the profits to show it.