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Writing an Online Press Release for Your Business

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Posted by steve on March 5, 2011 at 2:43 am

Local business owners are constantly in search of cost effective small business marketing ideas.  While there are many ways of promoting your business online, one is often overlooked by smaller businesses: press releases. Press releases are a public relations tool small businesses can easily implement to gain relatively inexpensive visibility in their markets.  A press release is a specific who, what, where, when and why announcement about a company’s newsworthy event that is distributed to the media to entice them to write and run an article about the company.  Press releases are short and succinct; the compelling small business press release is skillfully crafted with creative, newsworthy content to engage reporters and media outlets.  In addition, a press release can be posted on your own small business website, where if it is rich with keywords it can have the secondary benefit of attracting search engine traffic to your site. A small business press release can attract new customers, garner publicity for your business, and bring more traffic to your website.

What to put in a small business press release:

There are a number of common events for almost any business that can be newsworthy milestones and appropriate for a small business press release. These events demonstrate your innovation, expertise, company growth, and industry recognition.
• Release of a new product or new product features
• Hiring of new employees • Announcement of awards or recognitions
• Promotional or charitable events
• Announcing new business partnerships
• Reporting on interesting survey results

The standard small business press release includes the following elements:

Headline:

The headline should contain a “hook”, a reason for the reader to continue reading It should be short, creative, informative and under 80 characters.  An example might be “Demandmart.com Integrates E-Commerce Partnerships with One Click Events”.

Summary:

The summary is a short synopsis of the event in no more than four sentences.    Many press release services show their subscribers the headline and summary of all press releases, but require them to click through in order to read the rest.  Thus it is important to make your summary compelling enough to justify clicking through to read the rest. 

Body:

The body of the press release always begins with the city, state, month, day and date followed by 2 dashes:
Miami Beach, FL May 1, 2010 —

  The dateline is followed by the rest of the body, the who, what, where, when and why details of the event. This information should be engaging and informative without showing bias. A press release that blatantly advertises or shows bias will be tossed aside and your small business will lose credibility when engaging the press.  The body of your press release should be between 300-800 words. Be sure to include facts and relevant information backed up by quotes from company leaders and experts in the industry.   Include bios of key players in the event, which should reveal experience, expertise and motivations that add credibility to the event and generate interest.   Include websites (not emails) where readers can learn more information about a person or an event.

The last two elements in the body of the press release are the “About Company” and contact information and follow this format:

About Company ABC:

Include company description that reveals the nature of your small business, its products, services and locations.
Media Contact:
Name
Phone number
Website address

Small Business Press Release Distribution:

There are many newswire services that can distribute your small business press release to a variety of media outlets. In addition, posting your press release in HTML format into your website will drive customers to your website. Sending bulk emails to reporters and news media with one message can be viewed as crass marketing and impersonal. Tailor individual messages to each media outlet and reporter; your first impression will be professional and your message will be taken more seriously.

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