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Thread: Tapping into the power of Press Releases for small businesses

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    Tapping into the power of Press Releases for small businesses

    In the online game there are certain rules that apply to ensure success for any Internet business. One of those rules is to apply a marketing strategy that contains the principle of automated multiplication.

    A well written press release certainly complies to this rule, as it is effort that are put into the writing of a single document that has the potential of being seen on a multitude of websites.

    The fact that it can take between three to five hours to write a proper press release, but that same press release will be capable of being distributed to thousands of websites makes business sense.

    But what are the characteristics of a good press release?

    Specific format.

    • Release instruction for example: “For release after date” or “For Immediate release”
    • Contact details which will include phone, fax, email and company address
    • An attention grabbing headline that will immediately hook the reader.
    • Content summary that can either be a sentence or a short paragraph that briefly describes the content of the press release. This must be written in a way that makes the reader want to read more and not give away the entire plot.
    • Main content of the press release with between 200 and 300 words, using a clean structure with paragraphs and bulleted text to make it easy to read.
      About us section. This is a short sentence that summarise your company and provides contact details to the reader.
    • End the press release with ###. This will indicate to the media house that they have reached the end of the press release.


    People would often ask what is newsworthy. Let’s be honest, most press releases have a marketing angle to them. If yours is done for marketing purposes then you need to ensure that the marketing intentions are not that transparent in the press release.

    But let’s use a simple planning system that can assist you in writing a press release.

    Who is your target market? This will determine your storyline as your intention will be to write an informative press release that are interesting and grabbing to the journalist that you want to publish the press release, but you also want to achieve some exposure to your target market in order to achieve exposure.

    Ask yourself the following questions related to your target market:
    • What are their needs
    • Where are they located and what is their interests (Demographics)
    • Current events related to my business
    • How can I hook them to contact us

    Press releases are generally distributed once or maybe twice a month therefore it needs to be planed properly ahead of time and should also be a daily monitored event to ensure less missed opportunities.

    Current events plays a very important role when it comes to press releases and can easily result into even greater exposure through other media channels such as TV and Radio.

    Therefore the next step will be to write a list of keywords related to your target market and setup a Google alert for each of them. This will ensure that you can step in when the opportunity arises to do so. Current events are a very powerful way of supercharging the effectiveness of a press release.

    If you need to do research that will form the basis of your press release you need to put the necessary research actions in place before you can continue. Off course once again you need to be sure that the research you are going to conduct is cost effective as small business marketing is designed around a very important business principle of Low Cost = High Return. For this reason it is recommended that you focus on an easy task and not make it bigger than necessary. Also consider the possibility that by conducting this research can be newsworthy itself, as it can possibly create hype to the next press release.

    You also need to keep in mind that you are a small business and not one of the top 100 companies on the JSE, so the appointment of a new CEO or manager might not necessarily be newsworthy unless the person is high profile.

    Focus on the key factors that separate your business from your competitors. Other ideas that are worth mentioning are the association with charity events, public speaking, interesting facts about your product consumption or interesting commonalities of the demographics of your consumers.

    Other benefits of press releases

    In general press releases are free to distribute although you can use 3rd parties to distribute it on your behalf.

    A further benefit of a press release is the fact that it can provide you with back links enhancing the SEO of your website. From the contact details section of your press release you might want to consider linking internally to a page on your website that is topical and themed to target the specific keywords you are targeting through the press release. This should also convert better if people interested in what you have to offer land on this page.

    Distributing your press releases

    For the International market there are several types of press release software available that you can utilize to automate distribution of a press release.

    Distributing press releases locally can however be a bit more challenging and it is recommended that you build a contact list of all the media houses so you can simply distribute it via email. Here you can look at local radio stations, newspapers, television and news websites.

    By publishing the press release on your own site or blog you can also get blog owners and forums to jump in and distribute the news as well. It is important to remember that news websites often have other websites automatically displaying their RSS feeds therefore the distribution of some larger news sites can automatically multiply to many other.
    Roelof Vermeulen (Entrepreneurship in large organizations)
    Roelof Vermeulen| Project Management Experts

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    Dave A (04-Nov-09)

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