If you haven’t considered a press release to promote your company, maybe it’s time to consider making better use of them.

Why? Ever since the first press release was issued to newspapers in 1906, companies have increasingly used this popular medium to promote their products and services to the wider world.

A press release is more than just a basic note to the media. When done well, they can give you a new impetus to advertise and promote your business and drive traffic. When done badly, you get nothing from them at all and, in these days of increased competition, that is so much worse.

In an era where social media rules, let’s look at the top five reasons why you need to be sending out a press release:-

1. Tell Your Story

You’ve got something to say and you want your customers, stakeholders and people of influence to know all about it.

As an entrepreneur, or existing business, how often do you release a new product or service? Once a quarter? Once a year? Whatever the timescale, it will almost certainly not be as often as you’d like, so it’s important when that time does come, you make the most of it.
The mainstream media still utilise press releases as their main source of newsworthy information. A press release will reach a wide range of people who will be interested in you and give you the exposure you need. Bear in mind just how many press releases journalists receive on a daily basis. It’s important, before you send it out into the world, that you write one that will stand out and be noticed among st the banality.

Don’t just write a banal expose about the product or service you’re selling, embellish the story. The media are always looking out for unique content, so if you can tell your story in an interesting, even usual way, it will spike their interest. Tell them the history of the company, of your involvement and background and let them how you reached this point in your career, etc. Remember to use the 5Ws to describe your story; who, what, why, when and where.

Even if your press release doesn’t instantly create front-page news, don’t be shy about selling yourself as much as your product, it might just catch the eye of an influential journalist who may write about you later and this could lead to greater opportunities.

2. Improve your SEO

For those of you who don’t know Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a key factor in determining how high (or low) you rank in search results from Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

What does this mean to you? This can be mean the difference between profit and loss for your business. With stakes this high, the great benefit of issuing your press release online is that you can anchor relevant keywords and your URL into the description. Once issued, your news will be published on numerous news and niche websites, all linking back to your site to improve your SEO. This surge will result in page ranking sites, as well as the major search companies, picking up on your optimised news, allowing your website to rise up the ranking list. This will increase traffic to your site and subsequently increase the awareness of your product. It really is a win-win scenario.

3. The Importance of Being Earnest

Whether you are solopreneur, corporate or global business, what you do is important because your business is a gift to the world. Not only to you and your staff, but to your customers; many of whom haven’t found you yet.

The contribution of a cleverly-crafted press release will allow you to reach them, but there are caveats. The obvious one is to be truthful about your news. Don’t make claims of its power that can’t be substantiated or features you can’t deliver on. Stick to the facts. The ideal press release will be around 11/2 A4 pages, written in terse, declarative sentences without hyperbole. Remember you’re not trying to sell them anything (yet), just let them know about it.

Don’t forget, one of the purposes of a press release is to give you legitimacy, which can be easily outdone with a press release that is more sales pitch than project information.

4. Cheap and Easy

With many small business owners counting the pennies, it’s not often possible to market with big budgets so we need all the help we can get.

A press release can be an incredibly quick and inexpensive way to reach markets you may otherwise struggle to reach. If, for example, you are organising a special event in a particular area or targeting a specific demographic with a new product, then getting the word out there can be the difference between success and failure. By utilising newswire services, you can reach as many of those people as possible, often at a fraction of the cost of other promotional means. There are a number of companies that will offer to distribute press releases for free, or for a small cost. Like anything in business, it’s important to do some research and understand their user base. But remember a free distribution service is useless if it only reaches a handful of people.

5. Spread the Word

This one will really depend on how your business, and more specifically your website, is designed.

If you struggle to capture leads via visitors to your site, then a press release can fill that gap. Often companies can collate information which can then be freely distributed to those who have completed a short questionnaire and provided their contact details. This is a great opportunity, through regular newsletters, to keep customers informed of your latest deals, special offers or new products. Of course this only relates to those who have willing provided their details and leaves the silent majority out in the cold. However, a press release can reach those customers.

Whilst we’ve talked about new products or services, don’t be shy about telling the world about other things your business does. Anything from a revamped website, participation in a business event, speaking engagements, moving offices, financial results (probably best to just stick to good ones!) or even new staff recruitment. Be creative, the list really does go on.

Remember that each press release you send can positively help your SEO ranking, so don’t be shy, spread the word and tell the world!

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