Marketing Q & A
Marketing Q&A
By Al Jabaly


Al Jabaly is a certified marketing and business consultant with over 20 years of small business experience. Email your questions to al@FloridaBA.org. All questions will be answered via e-mail. Some of the most interesting questions will be posted in this weekly column. For further information, Al can be reached at 1-888-899-3190

“AL. HOW DO I PREPARE AND SEND OUT A PRESS RELEASE?”

A press release is a brief document in a specific format that tells news people why you, or your business, merit coverage. It is usually a page with no fancy design and gives a summary of what you do and why their readers, listeners or viewers would be interested in the story.

There is a special format that is used in press releases. Here it is:

FIRST LINE: provide your business name and address on the top line.

SECOND LINE: Provide the name and phone number that the editors can use to get more information from you.

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE”: This means that the editors can use the story immediately.

HEADLINE: Center and use bold face and larger type. You can go up to 3 lines for the headline. Example:

WELLINGTON MAN INVENTS THE FIRST CAR THAT RUNS 100% ON RECYCLED WATER!
IT WILL MAKE THE USE OF GASOLINE A THING OF THE PAST!


DATELINE: Write the city, state and date for the story’s origin.

The following are suggestions to keep in mind when drafting the press release:

1) Keep it objective and not promotional. Don’t hype it up, otherwise the editors receiving it will shun from it.
2) Proof read it. The worst thing you can do is to send a release with typos, misspellings, etc.
3) I suggest you make different versions of the release for different media.
4) Do not send the release and go on vacation. You need to be available if someone calls you for an interview!
5) Find a news angle for your headline. Put yourself in the shoes of the editor who probably receives tens of press releases a day. Why would he or she be interested in reading yours after having scanned the headline!?
6) Right after the headline, in the first paragraph, present the facts that tie up with the headline. The editor read your headline and now wants to know more about it. The first paragraph has to satisfy that need.
7) In paragraph two, you need to support the claim mentioned in the headline and in the first paragraph. Use quotes, basic facts, research results, etc. Use someone or party to back up the claim stated in the headline.
8) Use paragraph three to elaborate on the basic facts of paragraph two.
9) Final paragraph should have the details: prices, addresses, phones, etc.

Now that you have drafted the release, proof-read it, and are ready to send it, what do you do next?

1) Use a company that specializes in sending out press releases. You can find many if you search on the net. They would charge you a fee as low as $200 to email or fax 100s of releases up to several $100! Here is one Florida-based that I used a couple of times: Media Mass Distribution based in Naples, FL.

2) You will need to decide whether you want local, national or worldwide distribution and then choose the subject categories of the media so you can reach the journalists who are looking for your type of news.

3) Buy a media data base in printed form (labels) or digital (Excel format). These include the media name, address, phone, fax and possibly email. You then can fax, mail or email your press release to all of those on the list.

4) Use the resources on the net or at the library. This is good if you are on a tight budget or are targeting a certain niche media covering, for example, private pilots.