This week I sent out my first press releases for distribution on the internet. This has been on my to-do list for some time but one of those things I’ve been procrastinating about. It was so quick and easy I won’t delay next time I have something to publicize. I found some great tools to make the writing easy and with some website recommendations I went out to about 8 sites to fill out their submission forms and get them published on the web.

Press releases can be a great way to get more traffic to you website and get local publicity with news shows and papers. They can also be an inexpensive method of advertising and connecting with pet owners. Getting press releases published via online services will also get you back links to your pet business website which will help your rankings in the major search engines.

A press release is typically appropriate to send out whenever you launch a new service or product, to announce a promotion or competition, highlight a community event or fundraiser you participated in, or to announce a special event or anniversary. There are also special pet weeks such as Pet Sitters International “Take Your Dog to Work Week” that you can promote. If you don’t currently have anything to announce get involved or start your own competition or event for your customers!

You will need to format your release correctly to make sure it is accepted by the editorial staff at the submission site or local news office. Here is a quick example of the standard layout:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:
Contact Person
Company Name
Telephone Number
Fax Number
Email Address
Web site address

Headline

City, State, Date — Opening Paragraph (should contain: who, what, when, where, why):

Remainder of body text – Should include any relevant information to your products or services. Include benefits, why your product or service is unique. Also include quotes from staff members, industry experts or satisfied customers.

If there is more than 1 page use:

-more-

(The top of the next page):

Abbreviated headline (page 2)

Remainder of text.

(Restate Contact information after your last paragraph):

For additional information or a sample copy, Contact: (all Contact information)

Summarize product or service specifications one last time

Company History (try to do this in one short paragraph)

# # #
(indicates Press Release is finished)

Once you have your release written submit it online using the forms at the following sites:

http://www.prleap.com

http://www.prweb.com

http://www.addpr.com

http://www.openpr.com

http://www.express-press-release.com

http://www.free-press-release.com

http://www.pressreleasespider.com

http://www.i-newswire.com

Most allow free submission. PRweb.com is the most recognized distributor and I highly recommend spending a few dollars to get your release on their site. Their site says that you have to pay $40 fee but when you get to the pay part of filling out their form, click the button that says “Choose Other Amount” and change the $40 to $10.

If you also want to distribute to local news and radio you can research and find contacts in the yellow pages, and by reading newspapers and magazines and noting the names of reporters that cover similar topics. Their contact details should be listed with the story. You can also use online directories to find contacts such as http://dir.yahoo.com/News_and_Media/

Once you have their contact details call them and find out how they want to get your release: email, fax, or snail mail. Send out your release to each reporter via their preferred method to get the best response.

To write my press releases I used a tool from Alice Seba called the Press Release Pack that gave me ready to use, fill in the blanks, customizable templates. These templates allowed me setup my press release for the launch of

Pet Business Success Circle

in less than 15 minutes. There are several packs for different situations and are reasonably priced – you can see them all and get more info at http://www.allpresscontent.com/.

You can also have press releases written for you by Rachel Monroe. I used Rachel to write a release to announce my pet charity donation program last year which I distributed to local newspapers. Rachel specializes in pet business copywriting and knows what to write to connect with pet owners.