Press releases are a great way for your small business to get publicity, yet they are sometimes the most overlooked. The power of a press release can get your company name and message out to your community for little to no cost.

News editors and reporters are always looking for good stories that people want to read. They are looking for newsworthy content about grand openings, mergers, new products, community involvement, or anything the public would be interested in. If an editor is interested in your announcement, they may decide to feature your press release in their publication. They may also want to expand upon it and turn it into a featured article.

But how do you get your story to these editors? Reporters and news editors get bombarded each day with possible stories. How do you make your story stand out among the rest?

To help your announcement get published, consider the following questions while you begin crafting your press release:

  • Is it newsworthy? – Ask yourself, “Why should the general public care?” You may think it’s important, but would others feel the same? Above all else, you have to have a story people want to read, or care about.
  • Is it accurate? – Just state the facts and keep the marketing language or opinions out of it—unless it’s in a quote.
  • Is it engaging? – Your headline should grab attention as well as clearly, and accurately, state what the press release is about. Bold your headline and have it in all caps.
  • Does it answer the 5 “W’s”? – In the first paragraph, clearly answer Who, What, Where, When and Why. If no one reads beyond your first paragraph (which often happens), make sure your readers have at least received the most important elements of your announcement.
  • Is it grammatically flawless? – Sounds like a no-brainer but many great stories have been declined due to typos and grammatical errors. Have someone else proof-read your press release because rarely, as the writer, do you catch all the mistakes.

Your press release is now ready to go! Now what? To find out who you should send it to, visit your local newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio stations’ websites. Most websites will have editor contact information as well as a general email address to submit news stories on their Contact Us web pages.

After you have your list of editors and reporters you wish to email your press release to, follow these steps:

  1. Place the press release in the body of the email. Many emails with attachments get blocked to help prevent the spread of computer viruses. Plus, attachments can take up a lot of space. This is also why you don’t send images unless asked.
  2. Personalize each email to the person you are sending it to. No one likes to receive an impersonal email. If you have taken the time to research and write your press release, take a little bit more time to personalize each email message sent to your distribution list.
  3. Give a short pitch or description of what your story is about. Again, reporters are very busy and they may not have the time to read your entire press release. By giving them a few sentences about who you are and what the press release is about, it will help them decide if they should continue reading.
  4. Clearly give your contact information. Make it as easy as possible for editors and reporters to contact you if they have additional questions. If they can’t find out how to contact you, chances are they won’t take the time to go searching for it.
  5. Create a strong email subject line. Just as the headline of your press release needs to engage readers to continue reading, your email subject line needs to be interesting enough for busy editors to want to open your email.

To reach a wider audience, you can also use a press release distribution service such as PRWeb, PRNewswire and Business Wire but there is a cost associated to use these services.

At BaseCamp Franchising, our marketing department helps create press releases for their franchisees for grand openings, awards and recognitions, and community involvement. For more information about owning a Kid to Kid, click here. For information on owning an Uptown Cheapskate, click here.