Any business can benefit from regular promotion—the more exposure, the better. One of the best ways to get your name out there, and one that small business owners too often overlook, is writing press releases. Whether you’re selling an extremely rare item on eBay, or your website is offering a unique service, communicating that to the right audience is an excellent way to bring in new business.
Writing Press Releases Right
There are certain things you can do to increase your chances of getting published, according to Rieva Lesonsky, editorial director of Entrepreneur Magazine:
• Familiarize yourself with a publication, whether it’s online or printed, BEFORE submitting anything to them. Know what they do, their format, and their target audience. Tailor your tone and writing style to match theirs’.
• Be concise. Cautions Lesonsky, “No matter how much you love your product, no one wants to read three pages about it.”
• Lead with what’s interesting. Tell them up front why they should care. Think about what would be appealing to readers, and use that to grab their attention.
• Know their schedule. Some magazines are weekly, others bi-weekly or monthly. If you’re pushing a special eBay listing, you aren’t going to talk to a quarterly magazine—you can’t wait that long. You need to get your release to a newswire that will send it out overnight to radio stations, newspapers, and interested magazine editors.
• Target your releases to specific market. In other words, send your releases to magazines directed at people who are end users of your products. If you sell unique Christmas items, find out the deadline for magazines like Women’s Day and Family Circle, and try to get into a holiday issue. Even if they don’t publish your release, they may contact you for a story that’s related to yours, so the word gets spread a different way.
• “Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back immediately,” advises Lesonsky. Magazines have planning cycles that can go out five months or more. If you send in a piece today, they may decide it would be great for their May issue, which means they wouldn’t actually contact you until January, when they start planning for May.
Having the Right Backing
Besides free advertising aimed directly at your target market, press releases give you the added advantage of credibility by association. The magazine is essentially talking about you, so it’s an implied endorsement. Readers trust the publication, and because you’re connected to them, they’re more likely to have confidence in you as well. Take advantage of this opportunity to grow your business and reach potential customers.