Press releases are still a solid way to raise brand awareness. Many savvy small businesses still successfully leverage press releases to keep the public updated on important company news. If you’re considering using press releases in your small business marketing, be sure to avoid these press release mistakes so you get the most out of your efforts.

Don’t write about it if it’s not newsworthy

boringA common mistake first-time press release writers make is creating a release around a topic that’s not newsworthy. New company launch? New product release? Industry accolade? All great reasons to put out a press release. Buying new computers, changing your brand colors or logo, or some other less significant news likely isn’t newsworthy and isn’t worth putting out an announcement. Without a newsworthy angle, industry journalists are unlikely to cover your story, which makes the resources you invested in your press release wasted.

Not taking the time to craft an engaging headline

Like blog titles or email subject lines, if a press release has a boring or uninteresting headline, it will likely be overlooked by journalists or anyone else you hope to reach. Does the title tell the reader why they should care without giving away all the information in the title? Does it create curiosity? Look at the proposed release headline and consider if it’s an attention-grabber. If not, keep working on it until it’s perfected. Here are a few great press release headline examples to get you started.

Making your press release into a sales pitch

sales pitchPeople, in general, don’t like to be “sold.” Journalists really frown upon sales pitches disguised as a press release. Don’t make your announcement sound like an advertisement for your business. We loved this suggestion to test whether it sounds salesy: if you heard the text of your press release over the radio, would it sound more like an advertisement or a news clip? If you’re not sure, better to rewrite it.

Being too wordy

It’s important that your reader gets value out of the text you write, but don’t think that means your release needs to read like a book. Provide information that supports the headline; if people want to learn about your product or service, give them ample opportunity to visit your website, email you or visit your social pages. Brevity is always best when it comes to PR.

Depending on one resource to distribute your press release

Think of your press release like content marketing (which it is, really). You want to get your content in front of people through a number of channels. Many people use a distribution service and call it a day, but you’re shortchanging yourself if you do that. Start with a distribution service like PRWeb, but also share your press release on social channels, your website, and even via email by sending it to a vetting press list you may have (like local newspapers, publications, and journalists). The idea is to get your content in front of as many people as possible so take the time to focus on various channels to accomplish this.

Forgetting about the release after you send it out

measures results for ROIAfter you hit “send” and your release goes out into the world, your job isn’t over. It’s important to measure how well the release did. Did you get email responses? How well did it do on social media? Did the release get picked up by other online publications? Did any of it result in traffic? Work with a marketing professional to help you track the performance of your press release. Just like any other marketing effort, it’s important to know what the ROI was from your efforts.

Press releases can be a remarkably effective way to get the word out about your business. Be sure to avoid these mistakes to get the best results.

Patty Hughes
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