Lots of small business owners believe that writing press releases is something that only larger companies do because they can afford to pay a PR professional.

Not true . . . . .

There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t learn how to write your own simple press release if you’ve got something happening in your small business that you’d like to shout about. Any press release you write will have just as much leverage as it would for a large business in a bigger marketplace.

In this article we’ll reveal a few secrets about writing local community press releases and provide you with some templates you can use to write your own.

The Power of Writing a Press Release

One of the biggest problems any small business has is getting well known enough in the community to attract business and service inquiries from local people or businesses.

A press release can help to make this a lot easier by creating publicity in local newspapers and on local radio and television.

But if you haven’t written your own press releases before you might not be inclined to take on the work involved.

Questions that probably jump to mind are:

  • What do I write about that the local community will be interested in?
  • How to I create something that will attract attention?
  • How should I structure my press release, and how long should it be?

Let’s see if we can answer these questions for you and cover some other important things you need to know before you make a start writing.

Press Release Examples

There are several different types of press release. Here are examples of four types of small business press release that will could be of interest to your local community. Each type has been used very successfully by small businesses in the past.

1. The “rags to riches” press release story

This type of press release is always very popular with local media.

They know that “rags to riches” stories go down well with their audiences. Your business “rags to riches” story might describe how you set up in business with virtually nothing but succeeded in creating a thriving company with several employees.

The headline for this type of press release might be something like:

“Local Garage Owner Starts With Nothing and Builds a Thriving Business.”

If you are able to write a small business press release of this type it should contain the following:

  • Why you first set up in business
  • What you wanted to achieve
  • How you turned your dreams into a successful small business.

Local newspapers, radio and TV love stories like this.

2. “Brilliant business success” press release story

People always like to hear stories about local businesses winning big sales orders, especially if these are from large national or international companies.

A headline for this type of press release might be:

“Small Local Engineering Company to Supply Parts for a New Army Truck”.

The press release story itself should describe what you did to win the business and how you beat your competitors (especially if they’re big companies!).

For this type of story to work you’ll need a written or video testimonial from your new customer. In most cases the media like positive proof of your success before they write their news stories.

3. “Helping a local charity” press release story

Local newspapers, radio and television like helping local charities and are very interested in small local businesses that are trying to help these charities financially.

So, if you have decided to give a percentage of your overall sales or the sales of a particular item in your product/service range to a chosen local charity, the local media will be interested in hearing about it.

An example headline might be:

“Local IT Company Donates 3% of its December Sales to Help Local Hospice Over Christmas”.

If you can write a small business press release along these lines, you’ll find that the local press and radio will be happy to help out by promoting your charitable activities.

We’ve found that they will even sometimes encourage their readers or viewers to buy from the small business in order to support its charitable work.

4. The “succeeding in a difficult economy” press release story

In the current economic situation the media are always on the look-out for local businesses who are doing well despite the poor economy.

If you can write a story that links your business with recent news events about the current economic situation you’ll be able to piggy-back on these events and raise the profile of your business.

For example, you might be able to write a headline along the following lines:

“Local Business Owner Defies Recession’”

or…

“Local Entrepreneur Says Now’s the Time to Start a New Business”

Your press release should describe what you’ve been doing to succeed in your business against all the odds. Here again you’ll have to provide examples and reasons about why you are succeeding when others aren’t.

Press Release Template

Here are some tips on how to structure your press release:

  • Use a single large sheet of typing paper for your release. It should have your company logo and the press release date on the top.
  • Choose a headline that will attract attention (you may find the media use your headline without changes)
  • Start your release with a short paragraph containing a snappy introduction and a press release story summary
  • In the next one or two paragraphs expand on your story and explain its importance and relevance
  • In your final paragraph outline the major benefits of what you have done and include suitable testimonials.

At the end of your small business press release create a short final section containing some summary details about your business and provide contact information. Editors and journalists will probably want to get in touch with you to discuss your story.

Read this example press release and download a useful guide to writing press releases

Prepare a Press Release Plan

I hope we’ve managed to convince you that writing your own press releases is a good idea. Now you need to make a start by preparing a Press Release Plan. Your Plan should have four stages:

  1. Note down ideas about newsworthy events associated with your business
  2. Prepare a brief schedule for writing your press releases. Aim to produce a new release every four to six weeks if you can
  3. Build a list of the names and contact details of the local journalists and media editorial staff likely to be interested in your story. This information can generally be obtained by making telephone calls to the editorial desks of newspapers, TV and radio in your area.
  4. Send your press release to your local media contacts,
  5. Follow up with these contacts on the ‘phone a couple of days later. They’re busy people like you and will appreciate your pro-activity.

You’ll probably find that some of your media contacts are interested in running with you story and other’s aren’t. This is quite normal. Don’t be put off. In time you’ll get to know your contacts better and be able target your press releases precisely to the right people.