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Marketing Through Press Releases

Marketing Through Press Releases

Some “experts” on free marketing will tout press releases as though they are a magic bullet. As another highly overused and abused marketing tactic, they are difficult to write well, and hard to get printed. When they do, they work very well, when they don’t, they are a waste of time.

The biggest hindrance to the effectiveness of press releases is narcissism. And it hinders not only the egotistical business owner, but it also makes it harder for all the honest and sensible ones!

You see, with a press release, there is one major concept that seems to elude self-centered business owners:

In order to get something printed, it must be NEWS!

Just because it is exciting to you, does not mean it is news. It needs to be interesting to OTHER people. Glorified ads aren’t interesting, they are trashy.

News is something that people WANT to know… That means it has significance to them aside from its relation to your business.

A business opening is usually news, IF the business is unique. Nobody cares that you joined an MLM and now have a product to sell. If you do something unique, and needed, then that is news.

If you are sponsoring an event that helps other people, that other people want to know about either to apply for help, or to assist in helping, that is news. If you are holding a sale and calling it an event, it is not news, it is advertising.

And even when something happens that IS news – you were honored with an award (makes your community look good too), or you got a contract that will allow you to hire more people, it is only news if it is the BEST news that can be found that day.

Timing is a fickle element that intrudes on press releases. It isn’t hard to get upstaged by someone else who did something bigger than what you did.

Crafting a good press release is a skill, and getting it noticed is even more of a skill. Since every single small business submits press releases, and since 99% of the press releases submitted are trash, you have about 5 seconds to persuade the reader that yours is NOT trash.

Now, I don’t submit press releases. I don’t have the time to bother submitting things to someone who is pretty certain to decide that someone else is doing something more important than what I am. But then, I live in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. There is no local press here. It is all in nearby towns, who are more concerned with what is going on THERE, than with what is going on here. Perhaps twice in 8 years of being in business, I have had an event that was newsworthy – I started a local newspaper – I revised and expanded the town website (twice, actually). But they would not care about the little triumphs, and I am smart enough to know that. So I don’t waste my time. I do things that have a far better chance of actually working.

Don’t think of press releases as free advertising. Think of them as someone to share truly important news with, and only expect them to appreciate the sharing if it makes their job of finding REAL news easier. When you use them that way, they can get your business name into the public eye in a way that gives you great credibility.

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