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Will a Press Release Really Help My Business?

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It is a known fact that a company or organization's visibility will increase with powerful publicity. Publicizing a business, a website, you or your products will help increase the value of each to you and your whole target audience.

The idea is that publicity will bring the news of your company to the world, online or off, computer or no computer. The basic weapons you'll need to do this are a press kit, a company background piece, press releases, story ideas, and articles or columns about your firm. The most important of all though is the press release.

The press kit can includes the background piece, press releases, photos of your executives or your products, more or more story ideas, reprints of previous articles about your business, a list of customer references and anything else that the news media might find newsy or just be a simple fact sheet on you and your company. If you provide them with news that will appeal to their readers, you will gain instant credibility and have a very valuable promotional relationship. This can be very powerful from a marketing point of view.

Examples of such news are your online presence providing important information and tools regarding change management or whatever other business components you offer, special information that can be obtained online, any proprietary product or methodology that you offer through your consulting services, the announcement of articles, events and appearances, worksheets, tips and techniques, etc.

There are also a host of online magazines that might want to post your story, article or information. (This is related to both press releases and any published articles you might have or create.)

A publicity campaign should begin with a master plan. The more newsworthy you make your company, the more coverage you'll get. And publicity will earn credibility that advertising just can't buy. Your goals should be uniqueness, timeliness and top-of-the-mind awareness. With publicity and visibility, your company profile raises and your client and prospect level rise as well. One successful story about your company resulting in free publicity is advertising worth hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Part of managing the total marketing campaign and especially the Public Relations portion is supplying the media with a unique story that will grasp their reader and viewer audiences. Press Releases also have a dramatic impact on customers and your targeted prospects.

PR is one of the most cost effective parts of marketing that an organization can undertake. The cost is in the development of an organized campaign and the writing and distribution of press releases. There is usually no cost associated with printed pieces or placement into publications. Because of this it is considered to be very cost effective.

There is definitely a knack to writing a "newsworthy" press release even though sometimes the goal is awareness and promotion. Editors do not like promotion so crafting a press release to appeal to an editor is key. There is no guarantee that any press release will ever be published but with a consistent professional newsworthy approach with reputable editors of reputable publications, probability is good that some press will be gained and awareness will increase.

Press releases are also great vehicles for communicating with clients and prospects. Putting them on a website is a very effective means of promotion to your captive markets. It also further substantiates your place in the marketing and your credibility in your field.

In undertaking such a campaign, the question often is asked, "I'm not sure our company has anything to do a press release on. What do you suggest?" The following, although not exhaustive, represents 38 ideas on items editors consider newsworthy in press releases.

1. Starting up a new business
2. Introducing a new product
3. Celebrating an anniversary
4. Announcing a promotion
5. Announcing a restructuring of a company
6. Offering an article series for publishing
7. Relocation of offices
8. Opening up of branch or satellite offices
9. Receiving an award
10. Receiving an appointment
11. Participating in a philanthropic event
12. Introduction of a unique strategy/approach
13. Announcement of a partnership
14. Announcement of a significant contract award
15. Company or product name change
16. Recognition of company, product or people by a national or even regional publication
17. Announcement that you are available to speak on particular subjects of interest
18. Election of a new board or advisors to the company.
19. Issuing a statement of position regarding a local, regional or national issue
20. Announcement of a public appearance on television, radio or in person
21. Announcement of a website
22. Announcement of free information available
23. Announcing reaching a major milestone
24. Announcement of a retiring executive
25. The business gets a new significant customer
26. Your business is expanding or renovating
27. You have a unique vendor agreement (e.g. beta test site)
28. You meet some unusual challenge or rise above adversity
29. You have been certified by a major buyer or accredited
30. You have restructured your business or "repurposed" its business model
31. You have set up a customer advisory group
32. You want to announce the results of research or surveys you have conducted
33. You have acquired an exclusive franchise to a product, brand or service
34. Your business presents an award or recognition to an employee or client
35. An individual in your business is named to serve in a leadership position in a community, professional or charitable organization
36. You are sponsoring a workshop or seminar
37. You have made public statements on future business trends or conditions
38. Your company has just formed a new strategic partnership or alliance

These are only a few reasons to write a press release. Almost any event can be turned into news if your press release is well written. The one word of caution is to not make it promotional sounding. Editors do not like promotion; they like news. Releases that have the greatest probability of getting published are those that offer timely and newsworthy information and those announcing companies that are new and different, that are doing something unique or are specialized in nature. Editors want news and an angle and want to publish something that their readers will like (and read).


Alfred J. Lautenslager is a marketing/PR consultant, direct mail promotion specialist and entrepreneur (www.1-800-inkwell.com). He writes about these subjects for online magazines, including Entrepreneur Magazine, and is on the small business council for USAToday. He can be reached at al@prforprofits.com.


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