Let’s say you have something BIG brewing for your travel business.You’ve probably tweeted about it, mentioned it in your ezine, and/or ran a few Facebook ads about it. Maybe you even tried some old-school advertising and put a print ad in the paper. But … have you sent out a press release? Press releases often get overlooked, but they’re a great tool to have in your marketing arsenal. In today’s feature article, I cover the basics of the press release and why you need to be sending them out, pronto.
So, what’s a press release anyway? A press release is a news item about a business that’s crafted and sent out by the business’s public relations team (or you, if you’re working solo) to media contacts who might be interested in running the press release or turning it into a story. The content of the press release should be newsworthy (announcing an upcoming event, an interesting, new finding, etc.) and should read like a news article. Even though it’s coming from a business’s marketing team, it shouldn’t be sales-y.
Why you need them: The best advertising is free advertising … and that’s what press releases can get for you. When you send press releases out to media contacts, they can turn into stories that run in newspapers, magazines, or online. Sure, advertising on Facebook and sending out your own ezine is great – no, vital – to your marketing, but a story that runs in a third-party source adds a whole new level of credibility to you and your business. Not to mention, a media outlet that picks up and runs a story based on your press release probably has a pretty good sized audience, so you’ll be introduced to a whole bunch of folks you would’ve never gotten in front of before. Sound good? Good.
Who to send them to: When you’re crafting a list of who to send your press release to, you can start by thinking about what local news outlets might be interested. There’s your local newspaper, and often a town or city will also have special, glossy magazines tailored to your geographical area (romance experts, you probably know of a few wedding magazines specific to your area – pitch them). Don’t overlook online outlets, either; there are a lot of online websites and blogs that cater to local communities. Look at the masthead or comb through the paper to find specific journalists who cover the “beat” your press release would fit in, whether it’s the travel, local events, or even the business section. And don’t forget to think niche; a compelling press release may interest outlets outside your local area – just be sure target niche media, like specific travel blogs.
What you can use your press release for: Okay, so press releases are hopefully starting to sound like a pretty good idea … now you’re probably wondering what you should actually write about in them. As I’ve mentioned, special events are a great thing to promote in press releases, so if you’re planning an area event, then start writing! But that’s not all you should use press releases for. Are you authoring an e-book and publishing it soon? Received or renewed a special certification? Celebrating the 5th/10th/20th etc. year of being in business? Holding a super cool contest? Write a press release about it! If it’s newsworthy to you, it’s probably of interest to somebody else.
Your Assignment: Brainstorm some ideas for what would make a good subject of a press release, and then start collecting names and contact info of journalists, bloggers, etc. for your media list. If you need help with the writing portion of the press release, please get in touch! We offer copywriting and press release services to our GIFTE members through our marketing menu. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.