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The Power of a Press Release

Excerpt from Inc. By Marla Tabaka

Size doesn't matter. Story does. Any business is capable of being newsworthy, but reporters have to know about your news to cover your story. That's why it's so important to send out press releases. Reporters search for fresh stories every day. So, start by thinking like a reporter and then about the people who read, listen to or watch their stories. What kind of topics do they cover? How does your story relate to their audience? What stories would they tell about you? How do you contribute to your community? Why do people come to you? How do you help people solve problems? Do you see a trend people need to know more about? Begin to think about how to position you and your business as a reliable and valuable news source. Your next assignment is to write attention-getting press releases. But, what if you can't write? You can hire someone else to write your releases for you. Professional writers craft elegantly polished releases that make your company sound appealing and highly newsworthy. Writing your own press releases is simple, though. Outline your story into a who, what, where, when and why format. Reporters appreciate brief press releases that introduce an idea and leave room for them to retell the story in their own way. A well-written press release is only about 400 words – and that includes a few standard sentences about your business at the end. What is the purpose of sending out press releases? How much could it really do for my business? The purpose of a press release is to make news, get attention, create community and attract more business. Here's an overview. Realistically, each individual release has its own intended purpose and targeted audience. One story might appeal to several groups; it's okay to write a press release for each one. Some companies write press releases before they invent a product or produce a project. They want to set up a mindset to guide the process towards how they want to be seen in the news. Publicity benefits businesses in many ways including better visibility, increased traffic, and more branding awareness. But, maybe the biggest benefit to a one person business is this: ongoing publicity positions you as a well-regarded thought leader. Being quoted in the press gives you credibility that you can't get from any other marketing strategy. When prospects compare your company to the competition what do they see? Who has the best press? Having media coverage gives you an advantage.

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