As a B2B company, recruiting customers and increasing sales is a top priority. Public relations can play an important role in keeping your business in front of local consumers and businesses by communicating your message at a fraction of the cost of paid advertising. And nothing gets the word out like a good, old fashioned press release.
Your local media outlets are interested in community-impact news above anything else – as a result, you don’t need a creative idea or gimmick to get their attention. But you also need to be careful to not sound over promotional. Public relations is a completely different beast compared to marketing. Editors and writers do not want to hear your marketing push. They want news that will be of interest to all of their readers. What you deem newsworthy might not be of interest to them. This is important to keep in mind when identifying opportunities.
An effective press release that clearly relays your news is the first step in getting your item published, starting with the ever-important “Five W’s” of a press release. WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY—and it’s not technically a W, but also HOW. This basic information should be listed in the top two paragraphs of a press release. They are the first questions a writer or editor will ask.
In addition to providing key information in a timely release, giving the editor the information they need in the form and style they are accustomed to will also ease their work load and increase the likelihood of publication.
My reference of choice and what most print media outlets follow is The Associated Press Stylebook. First published in 1953, this reference book is now fully-updated for the 21st century, even with a dedicated section on the proper lingo in our fully-integrated digital world. In addition to a collection of grammatical rules for journalistic writing, it is also part dictionary, part encyclopedia and part textbook. It remains a universal source for not only writers and editors, but public relations professionals.
Presenting your ideas using clear and concise details and in the correct form will help your press release stand out from others crowding the publication’s news desk. Over time the release will be a better reinforcement of your image and the services you provide within the community.
Whether it’s a business announcement, award recognition or front-page feature – influencers will begin to value and recognize your business on a new level once they begin reading about you in print. There’s an unconscious bias on the part of most people to believe what they read in a news article or magazine, and this can have a powerful influence on their buying habits.
As a sign company, some newsworthy items include: change in ownership, new hires or promotions, special events, new equipment, center expansion or remodeling, change of location, interesting or well-known project, personal/business success story, new training certifications, community involvement in groups and charities, awards and sales milestones.
Regardless of your experience level, some simple research and basic writing can take you a long way. So get in the PR game and don’t miss your chance at a little free advertising!