Running a small business is hard. There’s the organising, the hiring, the invoices… Whether it’s you operating as an individual or there are just a few of you on the go, it can be tricky just getting through the week. To successfully write press releases and land media coverage, you need to know what they are and what they can do for your business.
It can be overwhelming to know how to get it right because not only does your story needs to be relevant to journalists and your target audience, it needs to distributed to the right outlets at the right time too.
Here we share why releases can benefit your business, how to write them and what you should include – and of course, what to do if you have writer’s block.
What is a small business press release?
As a small business, getting the word out there about what you do, is key. Everyone needs to recognise your brand and know where to turn when they need your product or service.
A well-crafted press release tells your target audience your news in around 350-400 words. When it is then distributed using an experienced distribution service, it will be sent to hundreds of publications where it will be read by your target audience – and potentially shared by many. (More on this later)
Writing a press release can be a vital part of the wider marketing strategy for your small business as it can contribute to increased sales and improved brand awareness – both great ways to engage with your target market and grow your business. Having such a plan in place will help promote your brand, raise your visibility and give you the edge over your competitors.
If you want to attract organic traffic to your website and encourage a larger audience, a press release is one of the best ways. A press release – and the impact it can have – can often be overlooked. Any business can have a newsworthy story – it’s just a case of finding it. You may have the best product or service around but if no one knows about it, then all is in vain.
What are the potential benefits of writing a press release?
If you only post your press release on your website, most consumers won’t know about it. More people need to see what your product or service is all about. Distributing press releases can help you land coverage on many publications. Additionally, there’s a chance those websites will link to yours, which can help to boost your search engine visibility. Here are more benefits you could reap by writing and distributing a press release.
Online presence – Once your press release has been distributed (leave that bit to us) you’ll have something tangible online. When people search your business, your news might appear. Releases are a great way of getting your name out there to new and existing clients. They also give people a chance to learn more about your business.
Link building – One of the greatest benefits to including PR in your marketing strategy is link building. Even though a press release does not necessarily help with SEO, it will bring benefits. If you include keywords that you want to rank for in your press releases, when reporters read the release, they may include some of those keywords. This means your news is more likely to be found in Google.
New leads: With exposure comes the potential to gain leads. Press releases can invite new a target audience. You could even add a call to action within your release that contributes to lead generation, such as a link that leads to a high converting page on your website.
Gain trust – Having your news published can also help shape people’s views on your reputation. Being seen as an expert in the industry helps you gain trust from your customers – and that is something that money can’t buy. Once they rely on you, they’ll prefer to purchase your products or services over your competitors. You could even be asked to comment on related topics by the media – a great way to get your brand out there!
Remember to set realistic expectations
The main thing to consider is to set realistic expectations about the coverage you want to achieve. The reason some press releases don’t give good and tangible results is because of unrealistic expectations and/or a lack of communication between the client and the company writing the release.
It’s not realistic to expect coverage in every national and every regional newspaper in the UK, America and Japan for a release about a new kitchen cleaning sponge. Consider your target audience and hone down on making them interested in your news.
How to write a small business press release
The key word to remember here is ‘news’. Journalists do not provide an outlet for a free advert!
If a press release comes across too salesy or pushy, it’ll end up straight in the bin. Likewise, if it reads like an advertorial (a piece of content someone is paying to have published) that’s not going to get very far either. The subject of the press release has to have an angle that makes it genuinely different and of real interest to the public. Journalists are always looking for stories that are relevant, timely, and of interest to their audiences—whether due to prominence or proximity.
In your release, you should try to answer the questions WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and HOW.
For example, for a new product launch, you would discuss:
- What the new product is called and what it does
- Who will use it
- Why it’s different or good
- Where you can buy it
- How you can benefit by using it
Your headline should be snappy and the release should be well written with no spelling or grammatical errors.
What should you write a press release about?
With press releases it’s all about getting the balance just right. There’s no need to churn them out every other week – as people will stop reading when your business name attached. However, with a carefully thought-out release, you can express something genuine to new audiences out there. Think about your new news. Is it actually interesting? If you’re not bothered about reading it, chances are neither will anyone else. So have a really good think what it is you want to share before you set out writing.
If you’ve got a new member of staff – especially if they come with an impressive background – that could be of interest to online business sites.
News about a new product or service – if it’s something different useful, clever or incredibly cheap for what it is – could bring another line of interest.
Perhaps your company has carried out a survey with surprising stats. Could they be of interest to your potential audience?
Maybe you’ve come first in a prestigious competition or your share price has trebled overnight?
Whatever it is, ask yourself one thing. Is it newsworthy? If the answer is hell yeah, then great! You’re ready to take the next step.
Identifying who your target audience is
Your target audience refers to the specific group of consumers most likely to want your product or service, and therefore, the group of people who should see your press release. Target audience may be dictated by age, gender, income, location, interests or other factors.
Press releases are usually sent to assignment editors and journalists who work for newspapers, magazines, television networks, radio stations or online media outlets.
Sending your press release to the people who need to see it is crucial. If you’re an established business think about who already uses your products or services and how you can reach those people. If your release is about a product launch for a cleaning product you might consider sending this out to home and style magazines, women’s and parenting magazines. They might be interested in your product they have the readers most likely to need or associate with it. There wouldn’t be much point sending this release to a sports magazine.
If you’re a start-up, consider your original business plan! Who is your target audience for your product? We can help you get your message across to businesses in this area.
Where to send your press release
Our distribution team is on hand to help you get your release to whoever needs to read it. Over years in the industry, we have built up many contacts in many niches and as an outsider looking in at your business, we’re also able to suggest good places to publish your release. If your product has a market abroad, we can also release your news to the United States.
Lots of small business owners make the mistake of adopting the “spray and pray” approach whereby they purchase a list of journalists who may be somewhat related to their industry – and usually don’t work at said place anymore – and they bombard them all with a press release. Most writers will just click ‘bin’.
When you have proper contacts you can send them personalised messages – or even call them – which is much more likely to have the desired effect.
Does a press release lead to sales?
You may get more sales if the press release is written well and has been sent to the right people at the right time. If your business is a small shop, a press release can help get people through the door. Running an event? Measuring foot traffic into your store after distributing a press release is a great way to gauge how successful your release has been.
With a new product, a targeted press release can have a significant impact on your bottom line because it helps drum up interest and sets you apart from the competition. Press release services like PR Fire’s have mastered the art of writing press releases and distributing them for maximum impact.
For more information about our writing and distribution services click here.