Celebrities and public officials get media coverage all the time. Journalists would be the ones flocking to them in order to get a story and include it in their publication.

If you are a small business, you can’t expect that kind of media attention. It is unlikely that reporters and editors will come to you a write about the latest news about your business.

A press release is a marketing tool that your business can use in order to get that media coverage your business is targeting.

PR expert Heidi Thorne shares with us some tips on how to write a business press release.  

A press release is an article that you send to members of the press, namely tv, radio and newspapers to announce news about your company.

It can contain new product launches, a company event, change in leadership or any other topic that may interest the media outlets’ readers, viewers or listeners.

The media outlet editors are the ones who decide if your news story is approved to be included in their publication or broadcast. If your release is not newsworthy then it could end up in the trash folder of the media outlet.

When your press release is accepted, they may publish it as is or edit some portions to meet editorial guidelines. They can also assign their reporters to cover your story and write an article or even add an interview.

Getting your press release accepted and published is an achievement for your business. The only cost you incurred is in writing and sending your press release. Being published gives you media mileage that you don’t have to pay for. Imagine the cost if you have to pay for media outlets to publish or broadcast your story. TV spots can run up to $10,000 for a short 30-second spot.

As a small business owner, you might think that you don’t have something to offer as newsworthy and relevant. This may be true to some extent, but that does not mean that you should stop in making press releases about your business.

Just keep in mind that your business release should be like a news report. This means that you are like a reporter sharing something that has happened or about to happen. Make sure that your content is factual and does not infringe on copyright laws or trademarks. You should also avoid libelous or defamatory statements, not breach confidentiality nor invade anyone’s privacy.

You should familiarize yourself with the legal aspects of what is appropriate to publish for you and your business.

You should use the inverted pyramid style of writing for your press releases. This involves placing the most important information like the who, what, when, where, and how at the beginning of your article. The least important details should follow.

Editors have to follow space limitations and they usually cut stories from the bottom up. This means that if all your important information is at the bottom, they can be removed from your business release. It is also important to write in the third person as journalists would do.

You should follow a format that is convenient to press releases. A notation is placed at the left margin stating that your story is For Immediate Release or Hold For Release Until…The next part of your content should be your Headline which is followed by your location and story date. The body should contain around 500 words or less. You have an option to include an About information as your last paragraph. You then finish by providing your contact information and placing a notation of END or ### which means that nothing follows.