If you think your products will sell themselves, you're dreaming. In addition to paid search, SEO, and social media, you might want to consider more traditional forms of marketing and PR as well.
There's a lot of debate whether or not press releases are worthwhile anymore. I've heard good arguments come from both sides, and to be perfectly honest, for most online stores it's hard to say whether the juice will be worth the squeeze.
Companies like Apple can send a release and 2 seconds after it hits the wire there are headlines in every paper and on every TV station in the world. On the other hand, you can spend $500 and send a press release to +35,000 media outlets and be ignored by every single one of them.
At any rate, sending a news release does have its undeniable benefits. Even if it doesn't generate any coverage, it will at least pop up in Google Search when someone is looking for more information on your store or product. If you're ready to give it a shot, here's a beginners guide to writing and sending your first press release:
What is a Press Release?According to Wikipedia, a press release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy.
Oftentimes, companies will use press releases as standalone collateral, and if written correctly, they can be extremely helpful in enhancing your business’ reputation.
What's Newsworthy?Here are 10 topics that you can consider:
- Website or ecommerce store launch
- Launch of new products and services or a merger announcement
- Contest, competition, survey, poll announcement
- Changes to shipping and delivery
- Free samples
- Sponsorship or charity news
- Holiday or seasonal sales
- Receiving an award or acknowledgment
- Working with local communities, going green, or taking up an eco-challenge
- Customer success stories
Elements of a Good Press ReleaseHeading: This needs to be strong. People are interested in how a business expands, who it sells to, and how much money it makes. Craft your headline with a strong title that grabs reader attention right away.
Sub-heading: A single sentence summarizes the entire content of the press release. It can be just as important as the heading because it gives readers a taste of the content to follow.
Opening paragraph: The opening paragraph has to be strong and include pertinent information, namely what the press release is about, who it affects, and why they should read or act upon it. If you talk of an event or launch, you also need to mention when it will take place.
Middle paragraph (/s): These add weight to the article and can include testimonials, statistics, research details, and case study excerpts.
Conclusion: This is a summary of the article and must include either a call to action or details of where more information on the subject matter could be found.
Boilerplate: Include a brief company profile and contact information.
Notes: Also include your company logo and the press release date. Traditional press releases always conclude with # symbols underneath the last line to signify the end of the release.
Sample Press Release #1
Opportunity Knocks on Laser Shooting Robot’s Door
Luxury hand-made laser shooting robot specialists expand their business to Europe.
San Francisco, California – January, 2012
Lasershootingrobots.com, the leading manufacturer of luxury hand-made laser shooting robots in North America today announced it would be expanding to Europe. The company, which prides itself on crafting unique one-of-a-kind laser shooting robots for residential and commercial projects, will tie up with Chuck Norris Metal Workers (CNMW) to manufacture and ship its products to Europe.
“We are thrilled to partner with CNMW and showcase our products in the leading laser and robot regions of the world”, says owner and CEO of Laser Shooting Robots, Brad Lambert. “Their passion and dedication to making quality robots is already well known. It’s an honor to be able to design alongside their team.”
Laser Shooting Robots has been producing hand-crafted robots for North American clientele since 2003. The company revealed that CNMW has already integrated the company’s software and sales tools as of October of this year, and while the robots will be manufactured locally, the designs will continue to be developed in San Francisco.
Yves Rochard, president of CNMW had this to say, “We are delighted with our partnership with Laser Shooting Robots and look forward to introducing their product to the European market. There is a synergy between our two brands that we feel will result in a profitable relationship for both of us. We have already integrated their sales tools into our website and will begin manufacturing, and shipping Laser Shooting Robots as of February 2012.”
To learn more about the merger, expansion plans, or to book an interview, contact Jackie Mason at 1.234.5678 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.lasershootingrobots.com.
About Laser Shooting Robots
1 or 2 paragraphs about the company
About Chuck Norris Metal Workers
1 or 2 paragraphs about the company
# # #
A Few More Sample Press ReleasesHere are a few press releases that we at Shopify have sent out. These aren't entirely applicable to you, but they should still act as solid frameworks to get you started:
- Shopify Announces Build-A-Business Contest
- Shopify Marks Fifth Anniversary
- Shopify Announces $15 Million Series B Funding
How Do I Distribute My Press Release?There are plenty of services that offer distribution. Some are quite expensive, others are more moderately priced, and some are free. Like most things in life - you get what you pay for... but to an extent, so talk to your friends, and call people you trust to ask for recommendations.
Do you recommend a specific press release distribution service? Tell us in the comments.