chapter 15

Write a Press Release

There is a lot of debate whether or not press releases are worthwhile for new and upcoming ecommerce merchants anymore. We have heard good arguments on both sides, and to be perfectly honest, for most online store owners it's one of those tactics that could be a hit or miss, but if it hits, it could result in a major press launch for your brand. For example, BeardBrand launched their store and never looked back literally the day an article about beard grooming for men mentioned them and was published in the New York Times.

Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola can send a news release and two seconds after it hits the wire, there are headlines in every paper and on every TV station in the world. Sadly, this isn’t the case for you and your online store. You can spend $500 to send a press release to tens of thousands of news outlets and be ignored by every single one of them. Crickets. But even if a press release doesn’t generate coverage, there are benefits, including backlinks and showing up in Google when someone researches your company. There is also the possibility of getting coverage and sales, so for some merchants it’s worth a shot. Here’s what you need to know. 

Be Newsworthy

This is a little obvious, but you need something newsworthy to issue a press release, otherwise who cares? Have a look at Canadian ecommerce company Well.ca and their impressive list of awards for which they've garnered significant media attention:

To help you get your creative juices flowing, here are some potential press-worthy topics you can consider:

  • Ecommerce store launch
  • New product or service
  • Contest, competition, survey or poll
  • Changes to shipping and delivery policies
  • Free samples
  • Sponsorship of a charity
  • Major sales
  • Receiving an award
  • Customer success stories

Elements of a Good Press Release

  • Heading: 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 a reader’s 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.

It’s important to include your company logo or a relevant image with every press release. The better the image, the more real estate it might get in print or online. Also, traditional press releases always conclude with # symbols underneath the last line to signify the end of the release.

Sample Press Release

<INSERT LOGO>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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, jackiem@lasershootingrobots.com, 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

# # #

How To Submit A Press Release

Many businesses choose to hire a local public relations firm or a PR freelancer. They will know the ins-and-outs of your local press outlets as well as the online ones. Here is how you can find these professionals:

  • Your business networking groups – If you have been attending local business networking groups, chances are some of the members work in the local PR scene. If not, ask some of your group members if they know of any PR agents.
  • Craigslist – Post a “Gig” in the Craigslist Gig section and title your post “Looking for a Local PR Professional”. Chances are you will receive a dozen replies by the end of the day.
  • Google search – Obviously if you do a local Google search by typing your city and “PR” or “Press Release” you will find some professionals ranking on the first page.

If you want to get started without professional help, there are plenty of services that offer easy and inexpensive distribution. PRweb.com is a popular option, and they have many options for releasing online press releases. 

From Press Release To Orbit

If you’re starting an online retail business that is truly remarkable, a good press release can be all the spark you need to blast your business into outer space, where you won't find martians, but could potentially get that first sale (and many more) you're thirsting for. This is why we keep reiterating that you should focus on being different, newsworthy and exceptional from your competition, that is the key “secret sauce” in all of these strategies and tactics.

Next chapter

16. Pull a PR Stunt

3 min

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