SCORE Tip of the Week: How to Write a Good Press Release

SCORE's CEO, Kenneth R. Yancey, gives tips for writing and distributing an effective press release for your small business.

What’s the first step to getting your small business noticed? A good press release can garner attention from reporters, TV news media and bloggers—resulting in free publicity. How can you write press releases that work?

Start by deciding what media outlets you want to reach. Do you want to be in the local paper, featured in an industry trade journal, or interviewed on a national radio show? This will determine what topic you choose for your press release.

Next, pick a topic that resonates with the media outlets you’re trying to reach. A special event at your children’s toy store might be of interest to the local paper, but not to a national radio show. Gain a wider audience by tying your release to a national news event, season, trend or holiday. For example, you could do a press release on “Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids” or “Why Old-Fashioned Toys Are Hot Again.”

Search online for samples of a standard press release format. The most important elements are your headline, subhead and first paragraph; this is where you’ll catch journalists’ eyes. Keep your release short; include basic “who, what, why, how, when and where” information; and provide detailed contact information so the media can quickly reach you.

Once your release is done, email it to individual members of the media. Also use an online press release distribution service such as PR.com, PRLog or PRWeb. These services send your release to major search engines, so be sure you optimize your release using keywords relevant to your industry. That way, when reporters are searching on a topic related to your business, they’re more likely to find your release—and you.