Why You Need a Press Release

Why You Need a Press Release

By: Charlene Davisphoto

One of the most important – and underutilized - publicity tools in a marketing campaign is a press release. Basically, this is a news story about a significant event regarding your artisan business. It can be about a new product or website launch, to announce an art show you are participating in, or tied into a special date such as the holidays. There really is no limit on the reasons for a press release; however, it should be of newsworthy interest to anyone who needs to know about you or what you’re offering. A few benefits of a press release are:

• Promotes your artisan business to a wider audience.
• Shows you are a leader or expert in the artisan industry; specifically your niche.
• Keeps customers and prospects aware of new products or services.
• Allows you to rebrand an old product.
• Online press releases allow for links that help increase your website’s search engine rankings.

Press releases are an excellent way to make important information about your business available to interested readers. If it is a particularly eventful revelation, newswires, websites, and blogs may pick up the feed. However, too many press releases can become annoying like spam emails, so use them wisely and sparingly.


How to Write a Press Release

A press release (also known as a news release) should be written in the style of a news story. This means it should be informative and factual while avoiding peppy sales jargon and superlatives. Provide interesting information that gets straight to the point by letting readers know how this announcement will benefit them. Although you are essentially advertising your business or specialty you want to avoid this type of slant because self-promotion is not considered newsworthy. Ask yourself the following questions when preparing a press release:

1. Who is your target audience?
2. What is your key message to them? In other words, what do you want people to know?
3. How will existing or prospective clients benefit from your product or service?
4. What is your main objective? Increase sales? Enhance your reputation? Bring you or your business more exposure?

An attention-grabbing headline is essential when writing a press release. You only have about three seconds to snag a reader’s interest and this can be accomplished with a compelling title. Follow that up with an engaging opening paragraph that includes the key ingredients below and you have the makings of a successful press release:

WHO is making the release

WHAT is the purpose of the release

WHERE this is taking place

WHEN this will happen

WHY you are writing this release

HOW this news release will benefit the reader

Press releases should be written in the inverted pyramid style. This type of format summarizes the content in the opening paragraph with relevant details to follow in subsequent paragraphs. This will allow for any editing that may occur due to space constraints. For example, if an editor needs to pare down the number of words in a release, they generally work from the bottom up in the process of elimination. So it’s important to keep the main points at the top of the press release for the greatest effect.

Keep the length of the press release to one or two pages – approximately 400-600 words. Be sure to include relevant keywords so it will be optimized for search engines. At the end of the press release you can add a short blurb about you and your business, but no more than two or three lines. Also provide contact information including your name, address, phone number, email address, and website.

Press Release Distribution

For local distribution, put together a list of media contacts including television, radio, newspaper, and relevant community organizations. Again, be sure to add your contact information, including your cell phone number and email address. Journalists work on tight deadlines and if they can’t reach you right away for more details, they may be inclined to drop the story and move on to a more accessible one.

Many online websites offer free press release distribution that works pretty much the same way as article directories. Simply post your press release on the website in the required format and hope that it will get noticed by interested parties.

Other press release distribution websites offer paid services and a wider audience. A combination of both types of services is ideal depending on your budget.

• PRWeb (http://www.prweb.com/) offers various fee-based packages depending on your budget and distribution requirements.

• PR.com (http://www.pr.com/) offers free and paid services for press release distribution.

• MarketWire (http://www.marketwire.com/) is a full-service press release portal.

• OfficialWire (http://www.officialwire.com/) is press release distribution service that offers budget-friendly options.

Your website should also have a media section specifically for press releases. This increases your exposure to search engines and allows visitors to read interesting and newsworthy stories about you.

A well-written press release that is properly distributed can have a positive impact on you and your business. It’s an effective and affordable marketing strategy that you can use again and again to generate interest and increase sales.

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CHARLENE DAVIS (http://www.thewriteessentials.com/) is an internationally published writer specializing in business, retail, e-commerce, and food. She has written Design and Start an Online Travel Business in a Week, Start Your Own Photography Business, Start Your Own Clothing Store, and How to Sell Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories on eBay, as well as two additional books co-authored with Jacquelyn Lynn, Make BIG Profits on eBay and Start Your Own Senior Services Business (all published by Entrepreneur Press). Charlene wrote this feature article exclusively for the Association of Artisan Businesses (http://www.artisanbusinesses.org/), an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the artisan industry.