How to Write the Perfect Press Release Part 5: Making Your Own News

Here’s a basic rule of public relations for you: if you don’t have a good news story to tell, you create one. Here’s how to do it:

1. Throw a Launch Party

It doesn’t matter if your business is a few months old, or just newly opened: if you haven’t thrown a launch party, it’s time to do it. Invite everyone you can think of to your party: invite the local councilors and MPs (who will never turn down an opportunity to either have their photo taken or attend a party. Trust me on that one.), members of your local business community, your friends, family and prospective customers – and, of course, the media. Here’s another secret for you: journalists rarely turn down parties either – or not if they can help it.

2. Run a Competition

Just as everyone loves a story, you’ll find that there are very few people who can resist a freebie. By running a competition, you’ll be able to tap into that opportunistic streak all of us have – and promote your business at the same time.

3. Give something away for free

I know, I know – when your business is new, you want to hold onto every last penny. The very idea of giving something away for free is anathema to you! But trust me – freebies not only help you get into the local media, they also help bring in more business. By offering freebies, you do two things:

1. Generate goodwill towards your business
2. Gain media exposure

The media couldn’t care less if you’re selling something (even at a discount) – that’s why they have an advertising section. Once you start giving it away though – that’s when they’ll be more likely to take notice.

4. Get sponsored in an unusual way

As any PR-person will tell you, sponsorship doesn’t just benefit the charity you’re raising money for: if you’re a small business owner, it can be of great benefit to you as well. Cynical? Well, probably. There’s no getting away from the fact, though, that being sponsored to do something, whether it’s a charity hike, sponsored silence or a walk halfway round the world will give you a better chance of seeing your business name in the paper.

If you can be sponsored to do something unusual (because let’s face it, thousands of people do sponsored walks every year: and when you work for a newspaper, you get to find out about every single one of them), then so much the better. Get a good picture of you either completing your sponsored task or handing over the cheque to the charity benefiting, and your local paper may just find a space for it.

5. Sponsor someone else

If you don’t fancy being sponsored yourself, then try sponsoring someone else. Local clubs, sports teams and organizations are always on the lookout for extra cash, and while you may not be able to spring for a sponsorship deal with your local premiership club, sponsoring your local kids’ football team will earn you goodwill – and your business name on eleven shirts for a year!

6. Piggy-back on someone else’s press release

We’ve already discussed politicians and how media savvy they are. The same goes for many other organizations and businesses, who are just as desperate for publicity as you are. It makes sense to get to know the PR people working for these organizations. Say your business is in a health-related industry, and you find out that your local hospital is about to put out a press release about an issue affecting them. Why not contact the hospital press officer and ask if you can help? You may be surprised at how willing they are to have your voice of support quoted on their press release – and that means getting your business in the media.