Your small business is launching a new service, and you want to spread the word. One way to do that is to send a press release to local news media. A press release is an announcement sent to a media outlet like a newspaper, TV or radio station, business journal, website or other publication. If it’s news worthy, these outlets might use it for a story (or better yet, assign someone to do an interview with you). It is promotion you don’t pay for, and buyers tend to trust it more since it comes from someone other than you. But in order to get noticed, your press release needs to stand out.

Here are some tips to make sure your press release gets noticed for the right reason:

  • DON’T Start By Describing Your Company – Don’t lead with your company history. Media outlets receive numerous press releases every day. So respect their time and lead with something that will appeal to their readers instead. Tell why your new service will make life easier for readers or the media outlet. Use words like “you” and “your.” Give them a reason to use it (and put it in your first paragraph).
  • DON’T Rely on an Automatic Spell Checker to Proof It – Don’t rely solely on autocorrect programs to detect spelling errors. After all, a business offering “bear” rugs is quite different than one who offers “bare” ones. Autocorrect recognizes both of these words are spelled correctly, and would not have identified the error. Set your press release aside and proof it later, or have someone else read it through.
  • DON’T Make It Sound Like an Ad – Don’t write an advertisement. Media providers prefer that you purchase advertising space from them for items like these. Your objective should be to inform, not to promote. So avoid the use of all capital letters, exclamation points or phrases like “free for a limited time” or “better than any other company.” Remember that outlets won’t be endorsing your new service, they are just reporting on it.
  • DON’T Leave Off Your Contact Information – Don’t forget to tell media outlets how to contact you if they have questions. Make it easy by providing a number of options including your cell number (where you can also receive text messages), FAX number and email address. Some businesses also provide links to their website and social media pages.

Make sure your press release clears the screening process and gets noticed for the right reason by avoiding these common errors.

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