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ProfNet ConnectChat Recap: Publicity Tips for Small Businesses

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April 17,2015

 

 

ProfNet recently hosted a Twitter Q&A (#ConnectChat) with Amanda Eldridge, director of strategic channels at PR Newswire. In her role, Amanda educates small-business owners and nonprofits on affordable PR and marketing solutions. In this #ConnectChat, Amanda shared publicity tips and best practices for small businesses, as well as advice for crafting press releases.

If you missed the chat, here are some of the highlights:

 

Amanda, thanks so much for joining us today. First off, can you tell us a little bit about PR Toolkit?

The PR Toolkit is a robust resource center that educates small businesses about PR. It provides practical tips and actionable advice to help lay the groundwork for a solid public relations strategy.

 

A popular topic for small business is the press release. What are the benefits of distributing? Why do they matter for small businesses?

A press release is a very cost-effective method for small businesses to raise awareness and visibility. Because many small businesses have a unique story to tell and they are interesting to the media, one good media placement can lead to a substantial increase in sales and tremendous growth. Even if a news release does not result in media pickup, the content can still generate significant consumer interest online.

 

What’s the most important thing small businesses need to know about press releases?

Press releases can help improve your brand image, announce a new product and help drive interest from customers. They are a vital tool for any solid public relations campaign.

 

Would you say a broader distribution is better, or is it more important to target certain media geographically?

It depends on who the target audience is that you are trying to reach. We offer a broad online distribution or can target based on a geographic location.

 

What are some tips for writing a press release that will get media attention?

Before you start writing the release, choose the angle to use (what's interesting about your news). Remember the audience you are writing for and avoid jargon. Write the release in a way that will make the reporter think, "Here is something that will interest my readers."

 

The headline is probably the most important part of any content, including news releases. What are your tips for writing a better headline?

Lead with the why and keep headlines concise. Phrases you are trying to optimize for should be within the first 65 characters.

 

What are most small businesses doing wrong when it comes to press releases?

Not making sure their story is newsworthy; not using quotes to provide insight; thinking like a PR person instead of a journalist.

 

Let’s move on to social media. Why should small businesses be on social media?

Social media provides you the unique opportunity of being able to communicate directly and honestly with your customers. It also helps with branding, creating buzz around your new product, and helps to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

 

Any specific platforms you suggest they participate in? For example, is Facebook more beneficial than Twitter, or vice versa?

I suggest spending some time uncovering where your audience is before jumping into every social platform. Do not drain already limited resources on creating profiles on platforms your audience isn't actively engaging with.

 

How important is it for small-business owners to be seen as thought leaders?

Extremely! Thought leadership creates brand visibility, creditability and loyalty.

 

What are some thought-leadership strategies for small-business owners?

Conduct and share research so your company can become a reputable source of information. Encourage customer interaction and interviews when creating new content around your products. Share great content, and make sure to inject your personality into your content.

 

What are some other ways (besides press releases, social media and ProfNet) that small businesses can use to get publicity?

We recently posted an article on the site that explored different tactics of guerrilla marketing. Some of the tactics mentioned: post sticky notes at popular locations like drive-thrus, call a radio talk show, and leave business cards in appropriate public places.

 


Looking for way to communicate directly with journalists? Find out how our small business PR Tools can help.

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