The Power of the Press Release: Understanding Its Potential

Press releases are perhaps the most valuable tool for garnering “free” press and publicity any business can employ. I put free in quotes because nothing is ever truly free, is it? You do have to invest time in writing and distributing press releases. (This is assuming you’re doing it yourself. If you hire out, well, then it’s definitely not free.)

But that’s the beauty of press releases. They allow you to save money on marketing while potentially netting huge results because you can do it yourself.

“Sounds nice, but they wouldn’t work for me.”

I used to think that too. But the more I studied press releases, the more I realized the ones that got attention (meaning, reporters calling and the business, author, et cetera featured in the paper, magazine, or on the news) were ones that had news in them. And were written as if they were news reports already.

So I decided to try my hand at them. I’m no one great and important in the fiction realm. Far from it. But let me share with you some amazing things that happened that wouldn’t have if I hadn’t used the power of a press release.

Three Success Stories

A. My first success came when we lived in Jacksonville, Florida, and my book, Beneath the Morvan Moon, was released. I sent press releases to all the papers. Success! Because it had a semi-creepy element, Folio Weekly featured an interview with me during October to coincide with the Halloween season.

B. My second press release success netted perhaps my most impressive result. After the hurricanes of 2004, I decided I’d donate a percentage of my royalties to the Red Cross’s Disaster Relief Fund. Since that was newsworthy, I crafted a press release and again sent it out. This time Florida Monthly Magazine featured me as one of the year’s 21 Intriguing Floridians.

C. Then last week I went on a press release rampage to promote Casting On, Binding Off, my latest Amazon Shorts release and the Bylines 2008 calendar I’m featured in.

The calendar in particular presented prime press release material. So I sent it to every paper and news source I could. But there was one reporter in particular I singled out because she has an animal column in the Tennessean. Because one of my cats appeared with me in my author photo in the calendar, I specifically brought that information to her attention. Success again. She wrote back to let me know she’d get me on their schedule.

A Press Release’s Power

Basically, press releases allow you to reach audiences who might not otherwise find out about you for what amounts to essentially zero dollars.

The next time you or your company receives an award, releases a new product, has some kind of item others would be interested in, send a press release.

The worst that can happen is nothing. But the best? Well, you never know the amazing places it might lead.

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Photo credit: sxc Standard restrictions apply for use of this photo.