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Press Releases are for the Big Guys – NOT!

January 25, 2010

Filed under: Media — Trevor Holewinski @ 1:17 pm

Have you launched a new website or product lately? Hosting an event or won an award? Are you speaking at the local library or Rotary Club? If so, your local news wants to know…really they do!

Small business owners often feel intimidated or uncertain about submitting press releases. If that’s you, just stop it now! It’s time for your 15 minutes of fame.

Writing a press release isn’t as tricky as you might think; thinking of a newsworthy topic doesn’t have to stop you either. Let’s look at some of the common myths about press releases and next week we’ll go through the how to behind the art of an effective press release.

Myth 1. Press Releases are for the Big Guys
So you don’t have a marketing and PR division, that’s no reason to think you can’t submit regular press releases. If you’re not into writing copy, outsource it. There are plenty of copywriters out there who can put a spin on just about anything. And yes, you and your company are newsworthy. Don’t devalue what you’ve achieved, you’re a business owner and the local press loves a good success story.

Myth 2. I Tried That Once and They Didn’t Write About Me, Why Bother?
Once? You tried it once? Guess what? It can take months of submitting releases before the press bites, but once they do they’ll come back for more. When I owned my coffeehouse, I submitted at least one release a week to the local press. It took about 6 months, but soon they realized that there was always something cool going on at The Fat Bean. They also caught on that I knew a lot of people and had tons of resources. Within my first year of business I began receiving calls from the press at least twice a week – and my business was featured at least once a month, often more. We were just a coffeehouse; we were the darlings of the press. Submit, submit, submit. Soon your logo will become a familiar beacon for a good story.

Myth 3. I’ll Never Figure Out Where to Send These Things
Ask your VA or even a savvy friend to check out all of your local press outlets and find the name and email address of the editors in charge of the sections that would be relevant to your business. For my coffeehouse, I submitted to the editor in chief, as well as the entertainment editor, the food critic, the local business and the local scene editors. Don’t forget local magazines, nearby towns and communities, and television. Your list should be pretty lengthy, much like having a large mailing list for your on line marketing.

Myth 4. It’s Not Worth the Trouble
Well, if you have a business that doesn’t enjoy or benefit from publicity, it’s not worth the trouble. Otherwise, having your name in the press adds credibility to your business, creates a buzz, and might even bring new customers. When you get a write up, scan it, and put it on the “about us” or “media” section of your website. I can’t count the ways it’s “worth the trouble.”

Myth 5. There’s Nothing to Write About
One of my clients landed a contract writing content for a large corporation who’s headquartered in our area. I suggested she write a press release about it and she was baffled. After all, why would they care? “Local work-at-home Mom works for BIGCOMPANY, Inc in her pajamas.” One of the local papers liked that concept enough to call her for an interview and she was featured in the “People You Should Know” section. Now, she’s writing press releases for other companies as well. All because we took a simple piece of information, put a fun spin on it, added a touch of the human interest angle, and took a chance.

Tip: Remember to combine personal tidbits (when appropriate) to spice up your story. In this case my client was a single mom who lost her job and started her own business. A nice human interest story.

This article was specifically written by Marla Tabaka. She is a professional life coach and business life coach specializing in helping women entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. She writes for several popular publications including Inc and Sparkplugging. Information about Marla’s coaching services can be found at www.MarlaTabaka.com.

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