Column: press releases
One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to let people know more about your business is to issue a press release. Now, if you issue too many press releases or send them out with spelling and grammatical errors, they will be ignored. However, when something new is happening in your business, let everyone know.
What qualifies as an “event” that should elicit a press release? How about the hiring of a new executive, a record year financially, a Web site launch or redesign, an event that the public is invited to or a new product or product line? The media is always looking for information that will be interesting to its audiences.
Writing a press release is not a real complicated project. Just remember to include who, what, where, when, why and how. Start with an outline that answers those six items and make sure they are all in the release. Then make your headline and opening paragraph as interesting as possible. If you don’t get their attention immediately, your press release will find the nearest wastebasket.
Some other tips to writing a successful press release include; don’t write over one page, use one or two quotes, leave out the fluff and be brief and always include a contact person at the end of the release with his name, e-mail address and phone number.
Now you have a great press release, what do you do with it? First, consider the target you are trying to reach with the information. If the information is of general interest, you may want to send it to all media; newspapers, radio, television and magazines. However, if you are introducing a new product that is only interesting to a select few, then you need to target the media. Your local library is always a good source of information on all types of media. Also, you may want to contact your local chamber of commerce. At the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority, we maintain a very complete list of all types of media. We furnish this information to our members on request. Also, if you are a member of a chamber, send them the release. We all have some sort of publication that we send to our members, and we are looking for information to be included.
For more information on how to write effective press releases, you may want to check out the Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual at your local library.
Dave Bolick is the executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority.