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Build credibility and influence decisions with press releases

By now you are aware that you need to get your business online, but do you know how to drive people to your website? One easy method is writing and uploading a press release.

Press releases have two functions. Firstly, they update existing and potential customers and your peers about relevant and topical news about your business such as events, products and new personnel.

Secondly, they facilitate lead generation. You can send a press release to targeted media including online and offline publications, and upload them to online industry sites like FranchiseBusiness.com.au, who also offer writing guidelines and a free review service to ensure each press release is expertly tweaked for key words and therefore maximise its performance.

An additional benefit of press releases is that when uploaded to your businesses website it can boost Search Engine Optimisation, making your website feature higher in organic search results on search engines such as Google. This works because search engines favour new content (so the more frequently you update your businesses website, the better) and keywords (found in press releases).

Press release topics

A press release can contain information such as the work your business is doing, a new product release, the signing of a new contract or comments on industry issues and trends.

What is the buzz in trade publications? Does your business have a fantastic new product that you want to tell people about? Has your business recently appointed a new CEO? Telling people your news is a great way of building a profile within your industry.

Have you noticed that New Year’s resolution articles fill newspapers and magazines every January and tax tips are featured in June? Editors always have a need for so-called evergreen stories, but need fresh twists and hooks that are relevant to their audiences. A “top ten” list of tips is always welcome.

What makes a good press release?

The main rule is that all releases have to be newsworthy. If a release isn’t newsworthy, then it simply won’t get picked up. What makes items newsworthy differs greatly from one publication to the next or even from one section to the next. News is something new, up-to-the minute and of interest to the readers.

Here are some guidelines for great press releases:

  • The lead paragraph is the most important and should provide a ‘hook’ for the journalist. It should contain who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • When you are writing an online media release, it is important that content both starts and finishes strongly to provide optimum lead generation opportunities.
  • Write in short sentences, short paragraphs and keep the information simple and to the point. A press release generally shouldn’t be longer than one page.
  • If you read an article in the paper, you will see they always include quotes. So you should provide quotes to use. Attribute them to a relevant person in the business and ensure they are newsworthy.
  • A good media release has no typographical or grammatical errors.
  • Head the release with “Press Release” and date it clearly.
  • Use a catchy headline. Editors receive hundreds of releases a day and a good headline catches their eye and ensures they realise the contents quickly.
  • At the end of the release add “For further information, contact. . . ” The contact details should include name and telephone number. The editor must have somebody to call to answer questions or to be interviewed.

Distributing your press release

Once you have written a press release, what do you do with it? Finding the right journalists to send a release to can be as simple as looking through the publications you want your business news to be published in.

You should also think about the audience you want reading about your business news and think about which media outlets they get their information from.

Upload your press releases online to get your businesses news to thousands of people and increase the traffic to your website. Upload them for free to online directory sites such as FranchiseBusiness.com.au to increase the chance of your business appearing in the first few search results on search engines such as Google.

– Raffael Fernandes is Account Manager at FranchiseBusiness.com.au, which is the official online business directory of the Franchise Council of Australia, listing franchises and service providers. Owned and operated by Catch, an online division of Reed Business Information Australia, FranchiseBusiness.com.au provides a comprehensive central online source of franchise opportunities and industry updates and news.

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