Publicity can be free. And if that’s not enough, sometimes it won’t even cost you anything!
Publicity--the good kind that talks favorably about your company, an employee, product, and the like--usually starts with an internally generated letter or correspondence, commonly referred to in the communications industry as a press release.
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In large corporations the press release is handled by the public relations department. However, for the small business owner it’s usually the novice communicator who may be assigned the task of spreading the company message. Here’s a few tips to help get you started.
Where to begin? Determine what "news" is. Business Marketing magazine lists new product releases as the most beneficial public relations activity. And that’s exactly where we want to start, especially for trade publications. Many of them have new product sections, and the editors are always looking to fill this section. Other topics include personnel releases about promotions and new hires, as well as stories about your company’s involvement in the community, such as social services and educational support.
How do you prepare a press release? First, identify the type of publications most appropriate for your company. Keep the news upfront once you start writing. Deliver the who, what, when, where and why close to the headline. Make sure the headline summarizes the release quickly for an already overworked editor. Leave plenty of white space on the page. The editor may call and ask questions, and you may need to provide additional information. Have the press release approved by the appropriate company officials before sending them out. Follow-up with a call to the editor about a week after you send the press release, to give you a chance to answer any questions and to test their interest in your press release. If the editor is looking for a new angle on the story, do your best to help. It will usually result in more publicity.
What’s after the press release? Develop good relationships with people in the media. Become a resource by offering information to editors of business and trade publications, editors of association newsletters, as well as editors of in-house publications. All of these publications target potential customers in need of your products and services.
Are there other alternatives? You can always hire a free-lance writer to develop your press releases. If you’re lucky, you’ll find someone familiar with your industry or profession.
Another alternative is to contact a professional who already has the expertise and the media contacts to get your message some ink. We have the PR experience that can help you grow your business. Call us at (412) 233-5491 or send us e-mail to discuss your public relations needs.