Taking Advantage of the Power of Press Releases

The evolution of digital media has created many potential marketing avenues, but when you want to get the word out about something to your local community, a carefully crafted press release can still be beneficial

Taking Advantage of the Power of Press Releases

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Running a business is not easy. Getting things and keeping things going for a local company can be a difficult job.

A major challenge for owners of up-and-coming businesses is preparing an effective marketing strategy. With the evolution of digital media, leveraging the benefits of a press release is often overlooked nowadays.

But these pieces of content can be extremely beneficial — especially when you want to get the word out about something your business has to offer to your local community. Let’s take a look at how a press release works and how you can use it to market your local service business.

How does a press release work?

The main purpose of a press release is for businesses to provide newsworthy content to journalists and media outlets. These contacts share the information to their networks to provide publicity and exposure to the company:

A business has a newsworthy announcement to make.

They work on a press release to share information about it.

Their media contacts distribute the press release.

Interested media contacts cover the post.

The company gains exposure and publicity.

Small-business press releases can cover anything from announcing the launch of a new branch to introducing a new service package deal. These can also be about using a revolutionary approach or working with a new partner.

The main goal of a press release is to put out a meaningful announcement that will significantly impact the brand moving forward. A compelling story is vital because media networks are always seeking relevant and interesting stories that their audience would like to read.

How can press releases benefit local businesses?

Press releases are designed to promote awareness of your offerings and your business in general. These content pieces can help you meet a wide range of business goals, such as:

  • Improving brand credibility: Letting your target audience know of positive newsworthy announcements — like receiving an award or partnering with a trusted brand — helps improve your company’s credibility.
  • Gaining brand awareness: Many media networks distribute press releases based on region, industry, interests, and demographics. When you use press releases for marketing, you can take advantage of a targeted approach by increasing brand awareness in your local area.
  • Being seen as an industry leader: Leveraging the right news announcements can influence how your target audience sees your business.
  • Increasing positive brand image: Positive business announcements can make your service business look good. You can use press releases to tell others of good causes you’ve been working on lately, such as donating to charity or giving back to your local community.
  • Driving sales and leads: With increased exposure comes the higher potential to drive leads and sales. The reach of these press releases allows you to tap into a marketing channel that can contribute to lead generation, while targeted exposure results in more sales.

Tips for writing press releases

Press releases offer another way for local businesses to promote their own brands. However, failing to follow the best practices when writing your content won’t help you achieve your goals.

To write effective press releases, consider the following tips:

Determine your hook

People enjoy reading articles that are interesting to them, and one way you can achieve that is by finding a news angle or “hook” for your press release. As you prepare, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What makes this news important?
  • Why should anyone care about my post?
  • Why do I have to make an announcement?
  • What social trends or current events can I include?
  • How can I use this post to inform or educate users?

Achieving all of these things in one go isn’t feasible, but you should still keep your audience in mind. You don’t want to publish a press release just because you feel it’s the right thing to do. You need to have an angle first, and these questions will help you determine that.

Write a compelling headline

Your headline is one of the first things readers will notice from your press release, so it is important that it be catchy. This heading shouldn’t be clickbait, but it does need to be brief and compelling enough to catch your reader’s attention.

In order to write compelling headlines:

  • Take advantage of numbers and statistics.
  • Don’t include your brand name.
  • Avoid using “salesy” tone and language.
  • Ensure standard grammar rules are followed.
  • Keep your target audience in mind.

Provide all important details engagingly

As you start writing the body of your press release, be sure to keep it brief and straightforward. You want to present all vital information in an engaging way in the introductory paragraph. This is primarily to draw attention to your news and keep readers interested.

There’s no definite number of words or pages for press releases. The important thing to remember is to keep it concise while ensuring all important details are included.

  • Dateline: Start with the location where the press release originates and the date. This is essential for small businesses planning to distribute to their local media contacts.
  • Keep it straightforward: Make sure your press release answers the five W’s — who, what, when, where, and why.
  • Engage your audience: Your press release should be factual yet engaging to maintain interest among readers.
  • Proofread before sending: You should proofread for typos and grammatical errors before sending your press release to media contacts. These issues can easily turn off both your media contacts and readers.
  • Always include a quote: You should include a quote from the most relevant individual discussed in the press release. Besides adding color commentary to the piece, quotes also provide journalists an easy way to pull it directly for use in other articles.

Use a boilerplate at the end

The boilerplate is basically the place where you put the details of relevant companies that were discussed in the press release. These few sentences are designed to give readers a summary of the organizations involved.

You can think of it as the “About Us” section of a press release. A boilerplate lets you establish the business or businesses involved in the topic.

When is the best time to submit a press release?

There are many scenarios where publishing a press release would make sense. The important thing to keep in mind is that the information you provide is interesting to your target audience.

The best times to submit press releases should be when there are:

  • Special events such as community activities and other philanthropic endeavors
  • Business, location, or branch openings
  • Awards that have been won locally, regionally, or nationally
  • Newly hired individuals who will make an impact on the business moving forward
  • Incidents of crisis management such as a public scandal or an averted accident

Another important thing to remember is that the timing of your press release plays an important part in deciding when to submit it to your media contacts. For instance, you should send your press release a week or two in advance if you plan to announce an event in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, you should send out crisis management press releases right away as these are vital pieces of news that people would want to know as soon as possible.

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the authors of Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love and the owners of Spark Marketer, a "no bull" digital marketing company that’s been getting sh*t done for home service businesses across the nation for a decade. They’re trusted thought leaders in the industries they serve, which is why you’ll find them regularly speaking at service industry trade shows and conferences and writing for trade magazines. Tired of empty promises and ready for focused digital marketing and balls-to-the-wall dedication that gets your business seen? Visit www.sparkmarketer.com.


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