What’s Newsworthy About Your Business?

Writing for Your Business

Writing Press Releases for Small Business

When your customers open the business page of their newspaper or look for local news online, they aren’t just looking for bad news. Have they heard the good news about your business? If you aren’t communicating with the news outlets in your market area, then probably not.

Press releases are an effective way to get the word out about new developments in your business to the community, but not every press release will get published in every media outlet. Why? Much like a writer pitching a story to an editor, the topic has to meet a few criteria before getting the go-ahead for publication.

But what makes an update from your business newsworthy? That will vary by publication, as each has a different audience and distinct goals, but as a general rule, a special sale or limited time offer is considered advertising, not news.

Press release topics could include the hiring of a new top staff member, expansion of your business (especially job creation), above and beyond training your staff has undergone to provide better service, the opening or ribbon cutting of your business, change in ownership with a new direction, change in location, the start of a new approach to business or the web and planned events or workshops.

There are several publications and avenues your business press release could be featured in, and here are a few of the most common types:

  1. Daily newspapers — As the most likely to have a separate business section, take a look at the articles currently printed in that section. Commonly, there will be business trend stories, as well as highlights from local businesses. Often they print a wide variety of business news stories.
  2. Weekly newspapers — These can take many forms, but often the articles are more in-depth and longer, and there may not be a separate business section. Event calendars are typically a major draw for readers in these newspapers, so definitely submit any event information here. If your press release has an interesting human interest angle, they will be more likely to call you for follow-up questions.
  3. Community publications — Focused on a small community, these pull from many local sources to put the publication together. News and planned events from local businesses are often included, though not often under a separate business section.
  4. Chamber of Commerce newsletters/publications — If you are a member, chamber newsletters often print news and press releases submitted by their members, along with other articles.
  5. Locally-based blogs — The topics and tastes will vary widely from blog to blog, so read entries from the last few weeks to get an idea of what the blog owner might publish. These sites are also not necessarily objective with the content, so be aware of the blog’s tone before submitting.
  6. Press release websites — Intended as a way for press releases to easily find reporters and industry analysts, press release publication websites each have their own requirements but will allow you to resubmit if your format doesn’t meet their publication standards.

Make it simple for journalists, bloggers and others to use the information you send out, and you will be more likely to get your press release published. Including a photo with the first and last names of anyone pictured can also help.