Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, stated a proper press release can drive as must awareness as most printed advertisements for small growing companies.”. Note any edits were by our Grocerant Guru® for added clarity.
Jim Farrell began, “Don’t overlook the tried-and-true (and often under-utilized) press release or public relations (PR) effort to help position your company as a “top of mind” choice.
A press release is a straightforward “who, what, when, where, why” announcement that if done properly should find its way into a variety of newspapers and magazines and onto some key websites.
Tell your customers and potential customers your good news through a PR campaign that targets your local media — from the community newspapers to business journals and the dailies that cover your market. If you want to “get noticed” in the industry, definitely include the industry trade journals.
PR is different from other forms of marketing because it is “earned media,” which means that news outlets include your information generally at no cost to you because it is deemed newsworthy. That distinction carries with it the third-person validation of someone else saying good things about your business.
Over time, PR can accomplish two important goals: (1) Boosting a company’s brand recognition and visibility through Google and other searches, and (2) Establishing the business as an industry thought leader.
A press release can also serve as a springboard for larger coverage. Curious writers and editors may also be interested in an interview, a profile or even a contributed “thought leadership” piece from you on a topic such as, “Ten trends in fast food in the c-store industry.”
Whether you use the services of an outside public relations firm or have an internal marketing person or team to assist, here are a few basic guidelines.
1. Your chances of having your news published or posted are greatly enhanced if what you submit is genuinely newsworthy. The “rookie error” of do-it-yourselfers is not understanding the difference between news and advertising. For example, offering 25% off a product line for the month of June is not news — unless you are donating the proceeds to a local non-profit that feeds the homeless. New hires and promotions, expansions, community charitable good works, new locations, awards won and new products are among the topics that make for good press releases.
2. News releases should be written in a very simple, factual, straightforward way. Remember the 5Ws – “who, what, where, when and why” — in writing. The introductory sentences should clearly tell the story.
3. News should be written in the third person. It is about (but not “by”) the company. For example, “John Smith, CEO of XYZ local chain of grocerants, was named Citizen of the Year by the Smalltown Chamber of Commerce.”
5. Remember that the goal of a press release is to inform, not promote.
6. Where appropriate, include a picture. If it’s a new hire or new promotion, a good head-and-shoulders photograph is a plus.
7. Check with the outlets that will receive your press release as to their preference for format. You can find contact information for media outlets with some careful (Google) research. Typically, the body of press release is embedded in the email message and the subject line should summarize the story. If sending to multiple recipients, put all addresses in the bcc column.
8. Don’t submit news more often than every other week (unless it is truly “breaking news”). More frequent distribution may wear out the welcome mat for you and lead to less coverage.
9. And when you do get placements, the links to the coverage look good on the “in the news” section of your website, or on your social media pages.
Success at PR is more about consistency than magic. Well-written news releases that address topics of interest to editors should yield favorable results. Good luck, and good publicity!
Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”. Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance. Call 253-759-7869 for more information.