Publicity & Media For Your Small Business

Media ExposureLately if you have been following our Media page, here at SBB we have received some pretty cool exposure.

1) Logoworks by HP featured Ed Roach where he gives us 5 Tips To Branding A Powerful Presence.

2) Dell featured Drew McLellan`s Article You Can Say Thank You Too. View the post by Dell here

In light of this recent exposure, I wanted to share with you some things you can do for your own business to not only get the word out about it, but to thrive!

Building an online business has become one of the most popular forms of entrepreneurship, and with good reason. The statistics clearly show that there’s money to be made on the Internet, in fact, last year’s e-commerce retail sales in the U.S. alone amounted to a whopping $4,495 billion dollars.
With billions of dollars being made through the Internet, it’s not surprising to see new online businesses cropping up by the thousands each and every day. Unfortunately, over 50% of those businesses will fail within the first year.
But why? Why do so many business ventures fail to find success?


Well, there’s usually a number of different reasons that determine the outcome of a business; however, an online business can fail hard and fast without the all important key of marketing.
Marketing is one of the most powerful cards an online business owner can play, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, in truth, some of the best methods are actually free. But, whether it’s from a lack of marketing, or simply that a business owner’s marketing knowledge and skills aren’t up to par, good businesses are disappearing because their owners aren’t marketing their businesses like they should be.
Of course it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest online marketing methods in the search for success, and things like the Free For All (FFA) listings or surfing in exchange for traffic that were once all the rage, tend to be nothing more than passing fads.

Fortunately, there are time-tested and proven ways to market an online business, and one particular technique that will never phase out as being ineffective, is a press release.
A lot of Internet business owners tend to shy away from offline media outlets purely because they’re businesses are online, so they assume they have to stay within the Internet style of marketing when it’s really not the case.


BENEFITS OF MARKETING WITH PRESS RELEASES

Press releases aren’t just for offline businesses; in reality there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of news related websites filled with stories and videos and those stories have to come from somewhere.
With news hungry journalists scouring the Internet in search of their next great piece, press release submission sites have made it super easy for them to find interesting story leads.

But not only are they looking for pieces to publish online, they need stories to run in their local papers, on their T.V. news programs, and even in magazines.
Obviously the biggest benefit an online business owner can get out of a press release is to be contacted by a newspaper or television program for an interview and it’s FREE exposure. However, if a press release is submitted both offline and online, the rewards for an Internet business will increase.
Not only will you gain the interest of writers looking for stories, but you’ll also be reaching potential customers who read the news online, and you’ll gain valuable links that can boost your rankings within the search engines.
Submitting regular press releases online makes good sense just for the quality incoming links that can be gained through them. It’s also a great way to spread the word about what’s going on in your business.

Whether you’re donating a portion of your sales to a charity, offering a new product, or announcing a hot holiday special, you can weave your business news into an attention getting press release.

WRITING YOUR PRESS RELEASE

If you’ve never written a press release before, it can certainly be a little overwhelming. Of course you can always hire someone to write it for you, but don’t be surprised if you have to invest $100 or more for a 1 page press release.

If you’re business is booming, then by all means use the services of a professional writer to produce regular press releases for you. It will pay for itself in the end. However, if your business is new or you’re just not seeing the kind of profit you want, then it’s likely best if you wing it yourself for awhile.
Once you know the proper format of a press release, and how to pull your information together in an interesting manner, it’ll be a breeze for you to write out a 1 page press release in no time flat.
Here is what your press release should have:


Release Timing:
If there is no specific date that your press release must be published by, then use FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. If for instance you are running an event to raise money for a charity in a month, obviously you don’t want your press release published way before the event takes place. Therefore, you would use HOLD FOR RELEASE UNTIL (the date you want people to know about your event). However, keep in mind that a hold request may not always be honored.


Target:
This is not always used on a press release, and is more suited to offline submissions. Here you would put something like ATTENTION LIFESTYLE EDITORS, or whomever you wish to address.
Headline/Title: This is one of the most important aspects of your press release, simply because the headline can be what gets your press release read, or thrown on the “slush” pile. Be sure to use all capital letters for your headline to really grab the reader’s eye. If possible, keep it short and always make it interesting. You want to arouse your reader’s curiosity so that they’re eager to read your press release to find out more. If your headline doesn’t leave them hungry for more, chances are they won’t bother reading your press release, even if it is good.


Sub-Headline:
Using a sub-headline is optional on a press release, but if you’d like to expand your main headline use a sub-headline to give a little more detail.
Date: This is the date that you want your press release to be distributed on. For example: May 21, 2008.
Location: This is not where you would put your event, special offer, etc.’s location, it’s where the press release will be distributed from. City, State/Province, Country.


Introductory Paragraph
: After your headline, this will be the most important part of your press release. Within this paragraph you need to answer the questions, who, what, when, and where, and do it in an attention getting manner. You want your event or whatever it is you are announcing to sound interesting and exciting to the reader.
Second Paragraph: This section of your press release will contain the details of your announcement. This could be a short description of your products, services, your event, etc. Be sure to include facts that will support the significance of your press release.
Preceding Paragraphs: The paragraphs that follow the first 2 will include the less important facts and information.


For Further Information:
This is where you will put your name, phone number, website address, and email address so that the media or whomever can contact you for more information. Always remember to include your website address so that people reading your press release can visit your website, and so that the search engines can index you.


About You/Your Business:
Depending on the nature of your press release you may want to provide some information about you and your background. For instance, if you’re donating a portion of the money you earn to a breast cancer foundation by selling pink candles, you may want to mention why you’re doing it. Are you a cancer survivor? Did you have a family member who fought breast cancer?
Including this information will provide readers will more of the story, and writers especially will want to know these things. Be sure to talk about your business as well. Describe your business and what you offer, and cover some key points.
Closing: If your press release needs to be longer than 1 page, you will need to put [more] at the bottom, center of the first page of your release. Once you reach the end of your press release, insert 3 of these: ### at the bottom of the page, aligned in the center.
Now that you have your press release written, you’re probably wondering what the heck to do with it. First you’ll need to decide if you are going to submit online, offline, or both. Once you do that, it’s merely a matter of making a note of where you want to send it.
Offline Submissions: You will need to find out what method each place prefers for press release submissions. Do they want them mailed, emailed, or faxed? Should submissions that are emailed be sent as an attachment, or pasted into the body of the email? Is there a department within the paper that handles press release submissions? If so, who should your press release be addressed to? A little research and/or a phone call should provide you will all the information that you’ll need.


Online Submissions:
Submissions done online are much easier, and there are tons of free and paid options. Free is always good, but if you’re looking to reach a wider audience at a much faster rate, spending a few bucks may be worthwhile.
The online press release submission process is typically a cut and paste, or fill-in-the-blank procedure. So it can be done quickly and easily, without investing a lot of time on your part.

PLACES TO SUBMIT YOUR PRESS RELEASE

  1. www.24-7pressrelease.com
  2. www.prlog.org
  3. www.free-press-release.com
  4. www.pr9.net
  5. www.i-newswire.com
  6. www.1888pressrelease.com
  7. www.powerhomebiz.com/BizNews/pressrelease.htm
  8. www.prweb.com
  9. www.businesswire.com
  10. www.prfree.com
  11. www.malebits.com
  12. www.ameinfo.com/submitpress
  13. www.marketwire.com
  14. www.prnewswire.com
  15. www.addpr.com
  16. www.pr.com
  17. www.pr-inside.com
  18. www.pressmethod.com

Here is a break-down of using a press release:

  • Decide what you want your press release to announce.
  • Write the press release following the proper format, and include all the essential information.
  • Write an attention getting headline and sub-headline.
  • Include your location (where your distributing the press release from) in your intro paragraph and cover the 4 W’s: Who, What, When, Where.
  • Your press release should be about the benefits to the reader. Why should they read about you, what are you offering?
  • Write newsworthy information. People don’t want to read about normal business happenings, they want human interest and excitement.
  • Keep your release as short and to the point as you possibly can. Long and drawn out press releases can lose your reader’s interest.
  • Include your contact information so those interested, can contact you for more information.
  • Give some information about you and your company.
  • Finally, submit your press release to as many online and offline places as you can to get the word out about your announcement.

Including press releases as a part of your marketing campaign is a great way to gain, in most cases, free exposure. Writing and submitting them on a regular basis is the perfect way to keep your company’s products and/or services in the minds of your customers. It reminds them that you’re still there, ready to give them what they’re looking for.

Vera Raposo

Vera Raposo has been an entrepreneur since age 22, owning 5 retail store locations.
In 2007, she closed and sold all locations to pursue her online business.Now she's living out an entrepreneurs dream having successfully turned business into a venture that's completely online.

You can reach her at veraATclickcreateshare.com.

Comments

  1. Thanks for your step by step info on press releases, and the web addresses. I always look forward to getting such good solid business direction when I visit SBB. Bravo Vera!

  2. Great article.

    The only thing I’d add is if you are time poor then using a professional writer gets a far greater return on marketing investment and time but you need to be selective in your writer. They tend to be distant enough from the business therefore more objective and like a new reader reading your article.

    In terms of performance we found a 10:1 difference when articles were professionally written by a writer who fully understood our market and the needs of their peers – publishers and other journalists. The key was a good clear marketing brief.

    If you use the article above to draft your brief for your writer you can then spend more time making sure the marketing message is what you want to say and more time on getting the message out there.

  3. Vera,

    An excellent tip on writing a press release. Thanks, Vera!

  4. Great list, I just find a few sites I did not know about to submit to.

  5. Hi Vera

    I’ve just submitted a professionally written release to nearly each of the websites listed – I’ll let you know the results and feedback.

  6. Karlla – No problem at all, I’ll be sure to provide more resources like this for everyone.

    Scott – Thanks for sharing these points, professional writers can use words better than most of us. Plus like you said, we can then spend more time getting our message out there instead of fretting over writing, I know for me I can take a long time with my writing.

    Noob – You are most welcome! There’s lots more to come. 🙂

    Step by Step – Glad you found some that you didn’t know about.

    Scott – Awesome! I look forward to hearing your results.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on this!

  7. This is just what I was looking for. Thanks for the useful tips. 😉

  8. We submitted our carefully crafted Press Release to each service. This took a few hours.

    The following table represents the results so far from our mass Press Release Distribution exercise after 14 days

    Please see Maxys Blog Entry (couldn’t paste table here)
    http://www.maxys.com.au/98-FREE-Press-Release-Service-Comparison.html

    Observations:
    Want Clicks – pay.

    An interesting point: Some of these services automatically syndicate their content to other websites = more articles in Google/ search engines. We will run a further analysis later to see which sites this content comes from and the number of links and new customers these derivative sites bring in.

    Next steps

    We have some new announcements coming up in the next few weeks. I’ll then run this process again spreading the budget over a wider sample and look to include PRWEB and others in the analysis.