According to the Small Business Encyclopedia, a press release is your “ticket to publicity.” However, it is important for small businesses issuing press releases to know the difference between a press release and a news article. Although they are both used to illustrate a newsworthy topic, they are different animals.
A press release is an official statement about a particular newsworthy event or matter. A well-timed, well-written press release can get said news in a plethora of publications and places online. This is especially important for small businesses, as the more press releases written about you and your business, the better your chances are of appearing in a variety of media outlets.
A news article, on the other hand, can be about any topic that is deemed newsworthy. News articles generally do not talk about a single current event, but rather a subject in detail, whereas a press release typically focuses on one specific subject, e.g. an anniversary, event, grand opening, milestone, etc. A good general rule of thumb is if you could have sent your press release out a month ago or a month from now, it is most likely not a good use of a press release.
Press releases are marketing tools designed to keep journalists, editors and the public updated on current, relevant information related to your business with the who, what, when, where, why and how elements.
Furthermore, a press release includes links to build visibility, which can increase rankings in search engines and appear on highly trafficked news sites, and bloggers can use a press release to drive traffic to their own sites. A press release can create a positive perception of you in your community and helps you stand above your competitors. It is an announcement about you and your business that is newsworthy. When your business is searched, press releases appear. Press releases are especially beneficial for small business owners, social media experts and those in the restaurant, real estate, insurance, law and e-commerce industries, to name just a few.
Still in doubt about what constitutes a newsworthy press release? Consider the following topics, which can all be turned into a press release: starting a new business or renaming your current business, introducing a new product, opening a satellite office, spearheading a donation drive, announcing a partnership, receiving an award or earning a designation, announcing a public appearance or speaking engagement, launching or revamping a website, announcing a case you’re involved in if you are an attorney, announcing a new listing if you’re a Realtor or, if you’re an expert in a particular field, creating a list of tips on a relevant subject.
When formulating ideas for a press release, always keep in mind that millions of people are searching online for businesses like yours every day. So, the more newsworthy your press release is, the greater the chance it will find its way to publication.