Saturday, July 20, 2013

How to Write a Good Press Release

Sending out a press release is an excellent way to generate free publicity for your small business. Small businesses can send information to reporters and media people, who then write or report about the business.
How can you ensure that your press release is eye-catching enough for a reporter to open it, read it, and report about it?

1. Do your research. Before sending a press release, invest some time in
reviewing various writers' or producers' work. Find those who cover topics relevant to your business. That way, you can narrow down your audience to people who are interested in your line of business, thus increasing the likelihood of free P.R.

2. Choose the right style. Your research can also help you choose a writing style. Try to mirror the writer's typical style of presenting content (e.g., top ten lists, question and answers, or research-oriented). The writer will find your article more pertinent to his/her own work if it feels familiar.

3. Spice up your writing. Use action verbs, particularly in the headline, to attract more attention. The words you use should conjure up images of excitement and motion. Some examples: trigger, navigate, urge. Use your computer's thesaurus setting to inspire your writing.

4. Find an angle. Think of an interesting way to present your story. Instead of simply stating your business's focus, highlight something new. You can write about how people use your business, or how you've changed the way certain business is done.

5. Incorporate the five W's. Be clear about why your business is newsworthy. Answer the five basic questions: who, what, when, where, and why. This will tie in with your angle (see item #4).

6. Include important details. Write the date, and the city in which your business is located. Briefly describe your business, and add in your contact information.

7. Exclude blather. Keep your press release short. Don't use industry-specific jargon. Use short words and concise sentences. Above all, make it readable.

The media is always looking for new stories. Sending a good release can alert them to your business's story and give you the exposure you want.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Influence of Social Media on Business

According to a new book, "The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion," the old methods of doing business are no longer effective.

The book's authors emphasize how the "power of pull" is improved by social networking. They define that power as, "The ability to draw out people and resources as needed to address opportunities and challenges." With the improved access to people and resources afforded by social media, it's easier for workers to succeed.

How do social media affect business dealings?

- Change occurs quickly, so top-down planning is not as efficient. Managers have to be aware of information coming from all different sources, including competitors who work in the same field. They have to adjust strategy in accordance with the newly-acquired information.

- The internet allows people to create connections that were never before possible. People living on different continents can now collaborate on ventures even if they have never met in person.

- Meeting new people can provide workers with new information about their lines of business. Knowledge that used to come from stable sources, such as newspapers, now streams in via Twitter and other social sites. Business people can use social networking to acquire information that helps them to achieve.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

5 Amazing Free Small Biz Resources on The Web

Any experienced business owner will tell you that successfully running a business takes not only a lot of time, skill, and effort, but a lot of resources as well.

Do a quick search online, and you'll typically find a ton of resources specifically for smaller businesses, and many of them are for free. But, as you go about growing and developing your business, you may not have the time to sift out the good resources for the bad ones. This site will help you get there.

To start you off, here is a collection of great, free resources for small and home-based business owners:

  1. The IRS Small Business Tax Center- an assortment of guides and tutorials to teach you all you need to know about business taxes
  2. Free Forms for Micro Business Owners- a collection of free business templates for self-employed professionals
  3. SCORE- Get a free business consultant
  4. My Own Business- a 16-part free online course on starting and growing a new business.
  5. SBA Learning Center- A collection of free online courses and training for small business owners