By January 17, 2013 Read More →

Press releases: a step-by-step guide for home business

Master the cornerstone of PR for your home business

by Kerry Law

Work from Home Wisdom - press releases for home businessWhether you plan to run a major PR campaign or raise your profile in one local newspaper, a press release is still the cornerstone of any PR activity and the best vehicle for your home business news. But many people don’t know where to start. Here’s my step-by-step guide to press releases:

1. A press release is NOT an advert – Before you start typing away, you need to get the tone right and remember that a press release should read as an editorial news story, not an advert. A release full of references to your brand in the headline, introduction and every other paragraph ensures a swift deletion from any journalist.

Imagine you’re reading about your brand in a newspaper: What’s the story? Why is it relevant to readers? Is there a more covert way to refer to your services/product without being overly commercial? Now you’re in the mind-set to write your press release…

2. The headline – A pun-laden or witty headline may get you noticed but make sure that the tone is appropriate for your home business brand and your news story. The best headlines are straight forward and to-the-point telling the essence of the story in half a dozen words (difficult but that’s the skill you need to develop yourself, or pay for). Newspapers and magazines have teams of sub editors to do the headline writing (punning included) so keep it simple.

3. The introduction… – This is perhaps the most important part of any press release. It’s the ‘elevator pitch’ in print and you have one paragraph to capture a journalist’s attention. Your intro should include ‘The 4 Ws’: the ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘When’ and ‘Where’ (if relevant).

4. …and the rest – Use the following paragraphs to expand on the ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of your story. Insert a quote from your key spokesperson (usually you for a home business!) and make sure it adds something extra to the story with a personal insight or opinion.
Are you including a ‘call to action’ – e.g. launching a new product that people can buy, or inviting entries to a competition? Make sure you include all the relevant detail. Think being ‘enigmatic’ will entice a journalist to get in touch for more info? You’re more likely to receive a stony silence…

5. To finish – Never forget to include your name and contact details (email and phone number) under ‘Notes to the editor’ to indicate that this isn’t information for the general public. Editor notes can also include a bit more background detail about your home business – this is detail that can help add credibility but is too extraneous to take up space in the body text.

6. Additional material – It’s always a good idea to collate supporting material to go with your press release as it can result in bigger and better coverage. Offering good quality, high-resolution images, or short video clips and audio files (if you’re targeting online publications or broadcasters) gives the journalist even more to work with.

7. Final checks – Proof-read. Then proof-read again. Then proof-read a final time! Sending a release littered with errors looks unprofessional and sloppy. Insert a low-res version of your logo on the top, add the date against ‘For immediate release’, and you’re good to go!

Kerry Law runs KL PR + Communications offering PR and communications support and advice to organisations big and small. Follow her on Twitter @Amberlaw.

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2 Comments on "Press releases: a step-by-step guide for home business"

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  1. Kaitlyn says:

    Really good, clear tips. I think this would be beneficial for charities just starting up as well.

  2. Kerry Law says:

    Many thanks Kaitlyn! Yes, these are all the basics that can be used for any organisation – charity, home business, individual… Hope you find them useful!