How To Make News With a Press Release

Red megaphone with text saying breaking news.

Red megaphone with text saying breaking news.Press releases are an easy—and free—way to draw attention to your business. A good press release gives local news outlets the chance to see what you’re up to and possibly cover your story, providing you publicity and adding credibility to your status as a local canine expert.
Here are some tips for taking advantage of this easy, free marketing strategy:

When to Write a Press Release
Too often dog pros miss opportunities to engage with local press. Here are some times to take advantage:

When you launch a new, interesting product or service. Perhaps you’re offering a group obedience class curriculum focused on something a bit out of the ordinary, like teaching manners to get the family dog happily through the holiday season. Or a walking service that gets dogs off the pavement and out onto the open trails for some real hiking. If your services don’t look like everyone else’s, shout that from the roof tops.

When you host an event. If you’ve planned a fundraiser, seminar, trial or other competitive event, or even a fun outing for your community (movie night with your dog at the local theater, a guided weekend hike or camp trip, a holiday dress up party at your daycare) a press release can help spread the word beforehand or brag about the event’s success after the fact.

When you receive an award, scholarship, or other professional recognition. Have you recently been acknowledged as one of the best and the brightest by a professional organization, your local Chamber of Commerce, or a “Best Of” contest in a local publication? Congratulations! Be sure to take full advantage by letting your community know. 

Writing a Great Press Release
The key to getting your press release picked up is making sure it’s well written. In addition to impeccable spelling and grammar, a press release should have a few key elements to grab the potential publisher’s attention:

  1. A catchy, informative title. No need to be funny, clever, or cute here. Just encapsulate what your press release is about in a clear and succinct way. Instead of “Wagsworth Manor Has Gone to the Cats!” try “Wagsworth Manor Expands to Include Cat Playroom and Daycare Services.”
  2. A first paragraph that clearly outlines the key points of the release. Whoever is reading your press release has a lot on his or her plate, so offering up the most important elements of your message in the first few sentences will vastly increase the chances that your release gets picked up. This first paragraph should answer those classic six questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How? You can expand upon these details in subsequent paragraphs, but provide the essentials right up front to make your recipient’s job easy.
  3. Quotations that lend an air of authority. If possible, include quotes from two different people related to the news item. If you are a company of one, don’t hesitate to “quote” yourself. This is fine, so don’t be self-conscious. The second quote could be from someone at a partner organization, whether it’s the shelter you’re raising funds for or the store at which you’ll hold your seminar. The quote could also come from a client who is enthusiastic about your new product or service. Make sure your quotes expand on what has already been said, rather than reiterating information you’ve provided elsewhere. They should also include the speaker’s name and position. Anonymous quotes don’t count.

Sample Press Release
Here’s a sample of what all this looks like in action:

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