These days, there’s so many different ways to gain coverage for your business – podcasts, YouTube, Instagram – aside for traditional media, it can be a little bit overwhelming. 

We all know that traditional media can cost a small fortune, particularly if you’re just starting out. So, what is the concept of ‘earned’ media? How can you get your business featured for free? If you can nail this marketing strategy, you’re a sure-fire hit for the big time. 

But, how do you pitch your business to the big guys so that it gets seen in the first place? 

Check it out. 

WHAT IS A PRESS RELEASE AND WHEN IS IT USED?

A press release – also known as a media or news release – is a document sent to media organisations for the purpose of sharing information and making an announcement about something that is newsworthy. In other words, it’s you making a pitch to the media that you’ve got something exciting/interesting/important to share.

Remember that there are all different types of media that are consumed by all different types of audiences. No matter what industry you’re in, chances are there’s an audience somewhere that would find what you’re doing to be newsworthy and interesting.

When seeking opportunities to secure media coverage, it can be helpful to think outside the box and look at your business from a few different angles. For example:

Do you have any upcoming events that you’re hosting, sponsoring or contributing to?

What is your unique journey to becoming a small business owner? Do you have any experiences or lessons to share that might be beneficial or interesting to others?

Is your business involved in any charity work or local community initiatives?

Are there opportunities for your work to be profiled or featured in relevant industry media such as magazines or blogs?

When you find an opportunity, it’s time to put your best foot (and press release) forward.

WHAT ARE THE KEY COMPONENTS OF A PRESS RELEASE?

From a journalist’s perspective, these are the must-have items in order for the media to make a decision about whether or not to progress with a story: 

Who: who is involved in the story/event?  

What: what is the event, or details behind the story

When: when is your event or situation taking place

Where: where is your event taking place

Why: why is it important for readers to know about this?  

How: how did this come to be?  

No matter what type of media you’re approaching with your story idea, the journalist on the other end will need these key points of info. And yes, it sounds very much like being back in high school, but by including these key structural elements in your press release, it allows the media organisation to have a full circle story and increases your chances of gaining coverage.

ANY EXTRA ELEMENTS THAT COULD HELP TO SET MY PRESS RELEASE APART?

In addition to the structural must-haves, your release should always include ‘press contact’ details (which usually belong to the person who is organising the event, or taking ownership of the story. ie: YOU) along with at least two high-resolution images (1MB or higher). This shows professionalism and will make the journo’s life a little easier, often increasing your chances of the story being run! Just make sure you always include names of people in photos and credit your photographer. 

If you’re sending a press release about an event (such as a fundraiser or launch), it’s great follow-up to send another release post-event with a wrap up of the day and any social images for online galleries. This kind of top-and-tail event coverage is really effective for your brand awareness, community engagement and public relations. 

HOW CAN I APPLY THE PRINCIPALS OF A GOOD PRESS RELEASE TO OTHER AREAS OF MY BUSINESS?

The structural elements of a press release can be applied to almost any pitch, proposal or outreach you do within your business. For example, if you’re looking to collaborate on a styled shoot, have your work featured in print or online or even seek out a business mentor, you can use the formula of a press release to put together a really informative, well-structured email or submission.

FINAL TIPS FOR A GREAT PRESS RELEASE?

Remember less is more – try and keep your wording short, succinct and powerful, while still getting the main points across. Also, plan ahead for any coverage you’re hoping to secure for your business! Whether you’re wanting to be featured on tv, in print, on radio or online, all media outlets plan their stories in advance so you need to allow enough time for a journalist to interview you and confirm details.

Getting your business featured in the media isn’t something that many small business owners have experience with, so it’s natural to be a little unsure how to go about it. A public relations or communications professional can help you secure opportunities that are relevant to your business, and take the stress out of preparing a great press release.

If you’re looking for professional communication services to help you diversify your communications and media strategy, I’d love to hear from you! www.windmillhousecreative.com.au Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @Windmillhousecreative