Small business owners love to see their names in the papers – physically or online. But getting noticed by journalists doesn’t usually happen by accident. A well-written, and timed, press release can be the difference between obscurity and marketing success.
Why to Issue a Press Release
Not everything your firm does is newsworthy. But there are a variety of business events that could attract the eye of a journalist. Consider creating a press release to announce:
- Opening a new business or location
- New hires
- Promotion of executives
- Big wins in court (for lawyers) or business deals
- New product offerings
- Expert opinions on current events
Deciding what to cover in your press release depends in part on why you are writing it. Are you trying to gain national attention or reach your local community? The bigger your audience, the bigger splash you will need to make. The national media outlets will care more about a multi-million dollar verdict or a unique perspective on a trending issue than they will about your firm’s staffing choices.
On the other hand, local journalists are often eager to feature the people in their community and small businesses doing well. You can have good luck sending press releases to them about new hires, promotions, and new locations.
How to Write a Press Release That Journalists Notice
Writing winning press releases is one part formula, one part social skills, and one part skillful writing. It’s all about writing a tight, succinct statement that is simultaneously interesting, informative, and easy to use. The nuances of a highly printable press release are too many to list here, but any press release worth noticing will include:
- A headline short, interesting, descriptive headline that grabs the reader’s attention right away
- A first paragraph (or two) that gives all the relevant information right up front
- An easy quote from a partner, CEO, or other important person that journalists can lift and use for their articles
- A photo or video that journalists can feature in the article
If possible, try to tap into local and/or national trends. That could cover a lot. It might be women at work, Pride month, or immigration anxiety. Look at what you want to say and find a way to tie it into the news of the moment.
Every press release should end with a straightforward summary of what your business is, its location, and possibly where it was founded. Invite anyone interested in more information to contact your firm, and provide the name, email, and phone number of the appropriate contact person.
When to Send Out Your Press Release
Once you’ve chosen your topic, drafted your press release, and proof read it into perfection, it is ready to send. But if you are like many small-business owners, those marketing efforts wait until Friday afternoon, or maybe even Sunday night. Clicking send to push your press release out to all your media contacts at 2:00 am on a Saturday probably isn’t the best way to get your firm noticed. Be strategic, and connect with journalists’ publication schedule to make biggest splash you can.
PR professionals make careers out of reading trends in timing and publication. Experts differ slightly in their findings, but they say Tuesday or Thursday at 9:00 a.m. are likely the best times to send out your press release. If you run a busy law firm, that probably lines up with court call. Delegate the task, or schedule your email so it can go out even if you are busy at the opportune moment.
That said, if your press release is about something that has already happened – like a big verdict or an event – you need to get that in front of journalists before the information get stale. If your topic is timely, aim for the start of the work day, but get the information out as soon as you can, even if that means first thing Friday, or even Saturday morning.
Making the most of your company’s big news requires being strategic about what, how, and when you send out press releases. By targeting the right media outlets with a catchy press release, and making sure to send it out at the right time, you will be more likely to attract journalists’ attention and see yourself in print.
Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist, in Ferndale, Michigan. She provides ghost writing services to lawyers and small businesses. If you need help crafting a high quality press release for your company, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.