Generate Free Media Attention with Press Releases
People love stories.
Most of us get a daily fix of storytelling of some sort, whether it’s from reading a book or newspaper, watching TV, or just enjoying a good chat with a friend.
What’s more, we remember the stories we hear – and if they interest us enough, we find ourselves repeating them to everyone we know. Good stories are never forgotten and never ignored.
The same is not valid for advertising and marketing materials!
In this post, you’ll learn how to use press releases to grow your eCommerce business.
How to Share Your Products with the World
The fact that you’re running a web business is probably desperately interesting to you.
If you’re like most of our readers, you think about your business 24/7 (which is pretty much your work schedule, too.). If you’re fortunate, your business will be just as fascinating to your friends and family as it is to you. That’s great.
But the rest of us?
Well, unless you’re giving something away free, or offering a service we desperately need and can’t get anywhere else, here’s an unpleasant truth for you:
No one else cares about your business.
Not yet, anyway.
The fact is that people start new eCommerce businesses every day. There are tens of thousands of new companies incorporated every year. While each of those businesses is obsessively interesting to the people who own and run them, to the rest of us, they’re just another new business. They don’t exactly set our worlds on fire – or most of them don’t, anyway.
So how do you do it?
Keep reading to find out how to pull it off.
Different Types of Press Releases
Chances are good you already know about press releases. They have been around forever now.
Do you know the different types of releases, though?
While the purposes and characteristics generally remain the same regardless of type, it is crucial to understand that there are different varieties of press releases to use in different situations.
The three main categories of press releases are listed below.
Standard Press Releases
You use standard press releases when you need to share standard information. These kinds of press releases contain the data you want to share, offer various contact methods, and should contain your logos to help differentiate your company from others.
Media Advisory Press Releases
You use media advisory press releases to announce to the media when your press conference will be taking place. This kind of statement doesn’t share information as much as it helps create interest around your event. It helps generate enough excitement to hook media professionals into attending your conference without disclosing specific information about the announcement. You submit that data in the press conference itself.
Embargoed Press Releases
Embargoed press releases are released not meant for immediate publication. They often contain information to be used after a specific event.
The text of a speech, for example, could be sent as an embargoed press release to be issued after you deliver the address. Embargoed Press Releases make it easier for journalists to quote the speech in their writing or news programs, but also helps keep the contents of the address under wraps until after it is delivered live.
Embargoed press releases can also contain information like the exact specifications of a new product you’re selling, with the intent that the announcement regarding it be made before the specifications are published. Again, this helps keep the original statement a surprise while still ensuring that the public has an accurate source of information regarding the specifics.
Types of Newswires
Newswires belong to different tiers. In general, the respect and influence of specific publications decrease with their tier level – the two are inherently related, in other words.
What Does a Press Release Do?
There’s no one function that a press release serves for your business. Its purpose differs from situation to situation and can help you in several different ways.
Mostly, however, you can think of a press release to create and maintain the public image of your business. It accomplishes this by helping you ensure that the press sees announcements made by your company and pick them up.
When that happens, your site starts receiving targeted prospects showing up at your website.
Control the Flow of Information
Sometimes you need to relay important information as quickly as possible, but also need a more professional or “official” platform than social media.
In these instances, as well as many others, you can use a press release to suit your needs.
Press releases are especially useful when responding to a crisis or announcing changes.
Press releases also give you the chance to share your stance on an issue or event. It’s an opportunity to publicly, but professionally, respond to any claims made by others and helps you keep full control over the image you present to the public.
It’s also one of the most surefire ways to ensure that the information you’re sharing is accurate. Because you can create the release yourself, you have full control over its tone and message. It’s easier than ever to express an opinion to thousands of people online at the click of a button – and unfortunately, you don’t have control over what other people post about you or your company.
That’s why it’s incredibly valuable to have a platform where you control every detail of the story. You get to send out information that accurately represents your official stance and ensure that potential customers have at least one source of accurate and current information.
Gain Media Attention
Press releases are invaluable to obtain media attention.
This purpose remains embedded in the name itself: the original intent of a press release was to make it a document that could be released to the press and published in newspapers.
While technology and society have changed to the point where this is no longer the sole purpose of a press release, it’s essential to keep in mind that they are still considered a traditional and respected mode of communication between you and the media.
Press releases hold an interesting position where they are “traditional” enough to have an air of trustworthiness while still giving you enough flexibility to express yourself in a way that is true to your beliefs and needs.
Along with gaining media attention, press releases can help you earn more business!
The audience for press releases tends to be people looking for specific information about companies or products; that interest them. They’re not necessarily looking for advertisements, but rather facts to help them form an opinion before they invest or decide to use your product.
It’s a good idea to keep in mind that press releases can be even more powerful when coupled with other tactics.
Why Should You Use a Press Release Rather Than Another Platform?
Wouldn’t it be simpler to post your information directly on to Facebook or Twitter rather than take the time to submit a press release?
The answer to this question is simple: press releases are more trustworthy and professional than social media.
Depending upon your industry, there could be quite a few potential customers – a social media or blog post might not carry the weight that you need it to convey the importance of your message. Press releases are more factual and sincere than informal social posts, even if the content is the same.
Sure, social media rocks.
But don’t pick one over the other.
Instead, consider using a hybrid of both options to get your information to as many people as possible.
As mentioned above, press releases are often better respected than informal posts on social media or blogs.
Another critical reason to use them, however, is that they help ensure that journalists have an authoritative resource from which to pull information. Why is that important? It helps make writing stories about your company more manageable and can even help facilitate communication with journalists and news outlets.
It is important to note that even when you’re having a conversation with a journalist via email, it is a good idea to send your press release to them via a link or attachment as it will help them keep all of the details of your conversation in mind.
Press releases help facilitate discussion about your company or client in the media via an official and professional mode. For this reason alone, they are worth the time and monetary investment.
Who, What, Where, When, & Why
One of the worst things you can do when writing a press release is not remain focused and concise.
Any writer or journalist will be familiar with the five Ws, who, what, where, when, and why.
These are the elements of a story or document that we always need to keep in mind. If the information that you want to add doesn’t help clarify one of these five elements, then you should reconsider including it. Adhering to the five Ws can help you stay focused on the vital information and keep your writing concise and logical.
In addition to the elements we just discussed, you want to be sure to include information that addresses all five Ws in your press release.
Make sure that your readers know who is releasing the press release as well as to whom the information applies. As in all writing, identifying your target audience is extremely important when writing press releases. If your statement only affects people in an area, include that in the headline or subheading so that readers can quickly identify whether the information is relevant to their needs and interests.
It’s worth stating again the importance of keeping your release concise and straightforward. Don’t ramble! Get to the what of your press release as soon as possible. Ideally in the headline, as well as the first paragraph – so that readers understand why you’re writing and whether the press release will contain information that is useful to them.
One crucial tip to keep in mind is to go back through the statement once you’ve finished writing it and ask yourself if all the information included supports one of the five Ws. You want to ensure that you’re as clear as possible when detailing the what of your press release.
You want your target audience to be able to find your release as quickly as possible.
Accurately including the information about where your event or news story is happening even helps individuals who won’t be personally affected by the contents of the release, but who are still interested in the situation.
It doesn’t always refer to a physical location – it’s just as important to include information about where readers can find something online, too.
The headline and first paragraph should consist of the relevant information about the event’s location, be it a website or (more likely) a physical site. If there is additional information that is perhaps too long and wordy to include in your press release – probably, it’s on a page of your website or even a blog post – include the name of your site or incorporate the link.
Make sure to adequately address where the events described in your release will occur.
It’s vital to ensure that you’re thoroughly clarifying the date(s) in question.
Give the time of day as well as the day of the week. While it might seem as though merely listing the date is sufficient, people will be more receptive to the information, and better internalize it when they can say, “oh, that’s happening next Wednesday!” rather than just thinking about a more easily forgotten date.
Keep things consistent! It will help you present a unified, polished press release that looks as though a professional wrote it.
Ideally, you will answer the why of your press release in the rest of the information included in the statement.
Knowing why you’re holding the event or releasing the news story helps reporters and potential customers feel at ease with you as the source of this piece of news. If they are unsure of your motives, they will assume that their well-being and your purposes are not compatible with one another.
Will submitting a press release help you grow your eCommerce business?
If you follow our tips, you stand the real chance of catching the attention of the journalists covering your industry with your story.
When that happens, the sky will be your limit, friend.