The short answer: Don’t bother.
Why am I contradicting everything you’ve read in marketing texts and be told in marketing seminars? Here’s the deal:
1. It takes time (and talent). If you’re not already a good writer (and enjoy it) – writing a press release is like sweating blood. (Trust me, it’s hard for us pros too. Sometimes the words just do not flow.) You could spend that time far better talking to an existing customer or selling to a new one or doing some personal networking with the local newspaper editor.
2. You’ll get lost in the crowd. Unless you live in a very, very small town, just emailing or faxing your release to even just local publications won’t get you very far. Editors and reporters are already drowning in emails and faxes – all touting “new” “innovative” “leading edge” stuff. They want quick, memorable, newsworthy information. And, even if your press release is a thing of beauty, it can still get lost in the piles if you don’t personally call and follow up.
If you’re looking for national coverage – those PR wires will get it out there (for a fee), but good luck getting any notice. (That’s why the big PR firms charge big bucks. They have the contacts and methods to get you noticed. But even then, “overnight success” can take months.) Also, “big city” and high-profile editors will often just flat ignore a “cold call” press release or follow-up. (You won’t make it past the spam filter, receptionist or voice mail.)
So – if you really want to get some great publicity – remember, it takes a whole lot more than a press release. Think about your goals, your strategy and how you can best reach your targets. Also, remember the media are people too, with limited time and a job to do.