Maybe you’ve heard about press releases and you might not be sure what they’re for or if you need one, so let’s clear the table and explain the benefits of sending out a press release for your small business. There may be more benefits than you think!
First, What is a Press Release?
Have you ever heard on the news (radio or TV) where they say a certain company made an announcement about something? Well, they probably did that either by having a press conference, or more likely, they put out a press release (sometimes called a news release, media release, or press statement).
Journalists and editors for TV news stations, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and websites use press releases to look for news stories. They see them all day long. Press releases are how news is sent out and how many news stories are created. They use the data in those releases to either create a story or they might even call the contact listed to find out more or do an interview.
The press release is put together in a certain format that journalists like and then sent out through news networks. Journalists like the format because they can easily scan them and the information they’re looking for is in the same place on each one. It’s a consistent format, which makes their jobs easier.
Elements of a Press Release
Here are the elements needed in a press release:
- Headline (Should be in all capital letters)
- Media Contact
- Dateline / Release Date
- Introduction (The who, what, when, where, why)
- Boilerplate (Background information about the company)
- Close (“###” centered on a line to indicate the end)
Most press releases start with “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” to indicate that the news has been released and can be used right now.
Make sure your headline grabs attention. It needs to be compelling, which means after someone reads the headline, they’ll want to read the rest of it or they’ll feel like they’re missing out on something.
Rules for Press Releases
Not just anything can be put out in a press release. Well, you can try but it won’t get any traction / you won’t really get all the benefits.
- It must be newsworthy information (no selling)
- It must be timely
- Stick to the facts and get to the point / be concise
- Avoid hype and don’t use exclamation points
- Proofread it – no typos
Writing them isn’t for everyone. It’s best to get someone who has written them before to write them for you. There’s usually a cost associated with you having them do that and for distribution but it’s a good investment.
What Are the Benefits?
If you really have good, exciting news, then a press release will do wonders. You’ll get lots of interest from journalists and your news will get out there on news websites, radio, TV and newspapers. It’s free or low cost marketing for your company or organization.
Even if your press release isn’t groundbreaking, you may still get some interest from specialized websites – like hobby websites, trade journals, blogs, podcasts, or regional websites.
And you might not get reporters banging down your door but you can, for sure, count on increased website traffic as people come by to check you out. Some distribution services also publish releases on social media, so you’re getting a boost there as well!
Another benefit is you get instant exposure. You’re building branding and trust by boosting visibility. You’re getting your business out there, you’re establishing yourself as an expert in the fields and all of that does actually count for something.
There are also SEO (search engine optimization) benefits because of the tons of extra backlinks you get. Listing your website and company address in your press release is important. Your release will appear on many websites and even though it’s the same content all over the place, you still get some SEO credit / love from Google. Your website will get a small boost and all those citations (your address) on many websites may help you rank locally in the Google 3-pack (when you see local businesses and a map on search results).
A press release is a natural way to get backlinks to your website. You’ll link to your website using your domain or URL, which is very safe to do. It’s safe because you’re showing Google that you’re trying to rank for your domain name. That’s completely allowed. There’s no harm in doing that and a press release accomplishes that. It’s pure power!
One other, fun benefit with some press releases is that if it appears on websites of TV news stations, you can then say you’ve appeared on CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox and maybe use a graphic like this on your website or LinkedIn profile:
No, you weren’t officially on TV (or maybe you were lucky enough to appear on camera) but your news was, so if you feel it’s right to advertise that, you can. This can add some credibility and trust wherever you post it.
When you post and distribute a press release, you’re controlling the story of your business. Think of it as reputation insurance. You know, insurance… which is for the “what if” or “oh, crap” kinds of situations. If you lay the foundation and have some good information out there about your company, those earlier press releases can help soften the blow in case something really bad happens. It’s like proactive reputation management or like doing it in advance. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, right?
Yet one more awesome benefit is that investors watch press releases – or maybe they pay some people to do that for them and show them the best ones. In either case, your news is getting to people that are looking (searching!) for investment opportunities. A simple, well-done press release can unlock those doors for you and have them calling on you – imagine that!
With a press release, you’re reaching a wider audience and receiving all the benefits mentioned here. After all this and seeing what could possibly happen, why wouldn’t you get a press release created and distributed? It make perfect, business sense!