Why Small Businesses Shouldn’t Send Press Releases to the Media

salim100You may have heard a thing or two about how getting attention from the press can give your small business a big boost. Who doesn’t want their business featured in the local newspaper, on their regional network television station, or on morning drive-time radio? After all, it’s free advertising, and it’s great if you can get it.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs go about getting media attention the wrong way. Most commonly, business owners will write up a press release and send it to local journalists, expecting to get a prompt and enthusiastic response.

Clearly, these business owners have never heard from Joan Stewart, “The Publicity Hound”.

I recently interviewed Joan Stewart recently and here’s what she shared: “Journalists despise press releases. They get thousands of press releases a day, most of which are garbage.” And she means that literally. The majority of press releases received by journalists and producers wind up in the paper recycling bin.

Instead, Stewart stresses that most of today’s journalists go looking for their sources online. If your business is a winery, for example, and you want to be called when a local reporter is doing a story on local wines, you’ll want to be sure you can be found on the internet. A winery owner who wants his business to be “found” by journalists needs to think about what keywords and phrases a journalist might type into a search engine when looking for a winery. Then, that winery owner needs to get his business online in ways that utilize those very words and phrases.

One way to do this is to create a business blog. Stewart explains: “A blog is a place where you write and comment on your area of interest. You help people with their problems, you answer questions, you share tips and comment on breaking news stories…you talk about your industry and help people better understand what you do.”

For a winery, that might mean blogging about the winemaking process, educating the reader on different types of wines, and offering suggestions on wine and food pairings.

Another way to “get found” is to take all those press releases you’ve written and post them online. Instead of sending them directly to journalists, Stewart advises, “you can write press releases galore and post them online on press release sites or through press release distribution services. Why? To be found by the search engines. Your press releases will be found if you’re using the same words in your press releases that (journalists and consumers) are typing into Google.”

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