Every other week, On Small Business reaches out to a panel of young entrepreneurs for answers to some of the most pressing social media questions facing small business owners. The following responses are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of entrepreneurs.
Q: Should business owners continue sending out traditional press releases, and if so, how can they make them more effective?
Amanda Congdon, co-founder and director of operations of Vegan Mario’s in Oak View, Calif.:
Press releases have been overused in recent years, clogging journalists’ inboxes everywhere. I get a multitude of these emails every day of the week, and they almost always wind up unread.
How to combat press release oversaturation in the marketplace? Build relationships. Read blogs, write comments, connect over social networks, and meet people in real life at conferences. Become a genuine part of your industry’s community.
Then, when you have something to announce, you can ping the bloggers and journalists you think would be genuinely interested in your news. Cut and paste your press release below the personal note you write just for them. Be as specific in your correspondence as possible, and try to reference past work by the blogger or journalist.
‘Hey Jen, loved the post you did on windmill energy last week for your blog. Wanted to let you know my company just came out with some windmill technology that is going to blow all the others away. See the press release below and please get in touch with any questions.’
And always remember the golden rule of press releases — only send one out if you have something truly newsworthy to share.
Anthony Saladino, co-founder and chief executive of Kitchen Cabinet Kings in Staten Island, N.Y.:
We periodically send out press releases to alert the media of new promotions, corporate events, or new product/service offerings. It is advantageous to send out press releases on multiple fronts, but we find the SEO benefit to be the most valuable. A carefully crafted press release will generate several hundred online pick-ups from powerful mainstream media sites which, in turn, will help you climb the search engines for keywords related to your industry.
Make sure your press release contains several industry-related anchor text keywords to maximize the SEO benefit. Additionally, due to the online media pickups, the press release will directly generate additional traffic for your website, allowing you to reach a new audience for your products or services.
Consistent, high quality press releases help establish your company as an industry expert, which will help you gain the trust of new customers. It may also help generate additional media exposure from journalists, looking for a company to comment on a story related to your industry.
Nina Rodecker, founder and chief executive of Tasty Clouds Cotton Candy Company in Los Angeles, Calif.:
We have found that paying for services to send out press releases has been nothing but a waste of time and money. Practically all of the great press we have received has been a direct result of networking, making connections and building real relationships.
Social media has also become a great tool in business communications, further reducing the need for press releases. A great social media marketing plan will likely be far more effective than a press release in today’s business world.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
Do you have questions you would like answered by these young entrepreneurs? Share them with us in the comments below or via email and we’ll pass them along to the YEC for future series.