As a small business owner, you’re probably well acquainted with press releases. When news breaks at your company, someone (possibly you) jots down the details, puts them together into a digestible piece of news and sends them out to local (and maybe national) media outlets, and your social media networks.
Well, media outlets are well acquainted with press releases, too. And every time one pops into a journalist’s inbox, the eye roll in response is practically Pavlovian. Why? Because most press releases are garbage. And those that aren’t often don’t fit a particular coverage need, timeframe or audience.
Even social media followers know a drab press release when they see it, since a lot of companies are now using them as a press release distribution platform.
While this sounds like a campaign against small business press releases, it’s not.
The point is that you need to know that the deck is likely stacked against your small business every time you let a PR arrow fly. Understanding this is the first step in bettering your tactics and increasing your chances of people actually reading your release. The next step is reading on for some best practices on when and why your small business should send a release.
Are Small Business Press Releases Actually Necessary?
As a small business, many people simply don’t know you – and people aren’t likely to buy what they don’t know.
So the most basic principle of a press release is to simply build awareness of your brand. Even introducing your small business to a media outlet is an important step because your name or mission could be enough to prompt a few people to search out more information online. It’s a slow build, but it’s a start.
Past that, press releases provide more information about your small business – what you do, and who you serve. More specifically, press releases can tell people about events, products or ways that your business is participating in the community.
So, make no mistake: Your small business needs to utilize press releases. But that leads to the much more critical question:
Who Needs Your Small Business’ Press Release?
Ever notice how 60 Minutes never runs a segment on how an athletic gear shop in Kenosha, Wisconsin is having a 25% off sale for Labor Day? That’s because nobody outside Kenosha cares. It’s not newsworthy.
The media needs stories to cover, and they do rely on press releases from time to time to discover news. But you’ll typically find more success with one of these two avenues:
1. You have unique insight/research on a broader topic that people care about. Let’s say you run a home cleaning service and you notice some trends – what parts of the house people tend to be the dirtiest, or when business really starts to pick up for spring cleaning. Let your local paper and other outlets know that you have a few insights for features stories. You might end up landing a quote or two as an “expert” source.
2. You’re participating in (or even organizing) a community event, such as a charity 5K, food drive or concert. Those are feel-good stories that media outlets try to cover on occasion. You probably won’t be able to drop many quotes about why your small business’ legal will-preparation sources are important for anyone, but people will get to see that you’re part of the community. And that’s a step in the right direction, too.
You can afford to be a little more lax with posting to your social media accounts. After all, people opted to follow your small business, so clearly they care about your company. Just remember, if you flood their feeds with too much boring information, “follows” can be undone. Keep the content interesting!
What’s the Best PR Tactic for Your Small Business?
You want coverage, and media outlets want to fill news hole with something engaging. They’re two ideas that often are at odds … but not always. And that’s where you can find opportunity.
Mischa Communications has an edge in the press release department because we employ several former journalists – all of whom had to endure their share of awful press releases. So we know what qualifies as news and how to tell your story in a way that will get the media’s attention. Call or email us, and we’ll put that expertise to work for your small business.