So you’ve got a great business, a great site, but now you want people to find out about it. Word of mouth is generally regarded as the strongest form of marketing, but naturally takes some time to develop, so you need to think of other avenues to drum up visits and custom.
Despite repeated claims that ‘print is dead’, traditional media such as magazines and newspapers are still extremely effective ways of getting your message across to potential customers, particularly in terms of niche and regional coverage, with the added bonus that the majority of these publications will transfer their print content onto the web, so any article containing your details will be searchable online too.
If you decide to send a press release to a magazine, newspaper, or website it is vital that you consider first what you want to get out of it, and then whether you can package it in a way that would make it relevant to the readers of the publication you are sending it to. If you have the spare cash, I would certainly recommend getting some professional PR help at this stage, but if you are willing and able to take on the responsibility, make sure you know the publications you are targeting inside out; know their style and the type of stories they carry which will enable you to write something they are more likely to publish.
The mantra you need to keep running through your head during this process is ‘make it relevant’. If you have just launched a business you are unlikely to get a story published that just announces that fact (unless your local newspaper is particularly short on stories that week!). For instance, if your business offers a service, write a press release that says either how that service fits a need for your locality (for a local newspaper) or for the general public (for a consumer magazine) or the industry in general (for a business to business magazine), and ideally you need to make it as ‘current’ as possible. Is there a big story in the news that your product or service relates to?
Most editors will receive a whole pile of press releases each week, and in order to get yours published it must stand out from the others. You can achieve this by firstly making sure your press release contains no errors and looks as though it could go straight into their publication without any chopping or changing – remember, most magazines and websites have very low staff levels, so making their lives as easy as possible is key.
Equally, if you have provided good quality (high res) photographs to accompany your piece, you instantly increase your chances of getting published. It’s amazing the number of people that forget this – photography makes web and print pages look better, and reduces the workload for editors of print publications.
Here’s a good link to help you get started with press releases. Good luck!