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October 2, 2007

Finding Your PR Topics: Keeping You and Your Business Newsworthy

A press release is many things. It is a marketing tool. It’s a way of getting your name out there. It’s a way of getting links to your site if you’re distributing it online. It’s a means of getting your company into newspapers and on news sites.

However, most importantly, a press release is news. Unlike articles, which are timeless pieces, press releases must be relevant and timely. If it’s been a week or longer since the “news” happened, it’s not news any more.

A critical mistake that some people make is assuming that they can get away with writing a press release that doesn’t actually have any news in it. Press release distribution services don’t like this, and newspapers hate it.

“But…but…how do I find newsworthy topics?” you may be asking. Well, never fear. If you’re running low on PR ideas, here are a few places you can look for topics.

What is your business doing?

At first glance you might not think that your business is doing anything newsworthy, but think again.

  • Have you won any awards or broken any records recently?
  • Are you celebrating any anniversaries?
  • Are you launching any new product lines or reviving old ones?
  • Have you hired anybody for a prestigious position?
  • Are you launching a new website?
  • Are you moving to a new location or renovating your old one?
  • Do you have any upcoming events that you’re sponsoring?
  • Will your business be helping out with any major local events?

That’s just a short list, but look seriously at everything your business is doing. You can find a number of potential press release topics just from that.What is your industry doing?

Pay close attention to the news in your industry, particularly at new studies and technological advances. You can provide commentary on these advances and to better help people understand what’s going on and how it could affect their lives.

If a study shows of a special benefit that comes from using your product, or shows a major problem that your product solves, then comment on that. There’s nothing like scientific studies to back up the assertions you’ve been making in your sales material.

What are relevant trends you can offer advice on?

Look at relevant industry trends. Not only can you provide commentary on these, but you can also offer advice on how people can incorporate that trend if they so desire. For example, if there was a particular trend in the interior decorating industry that meshed with your product, you can give them tips on how to decorate their room or house in that trend.

What season is it?

Sounds silly, but there it is. If you sell football bedding, set up a tips press release to coincide with the beginning of football season. Sell hunting clothes? Have a press release ready for when hunting season starts. Do you help college graduates manage their credit? Have a press release ready for graduation time in May and December.

It’s not necessarily the most newsworthy thing, but if all else fails, it could provide you with enough of an angle to get your release out.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a press release is newsworthy just because you wrote it or just because it’s about your business. Find something that lets people know why it’s current and relevant and why they should be reading it. By making sure your PR topic is newsworthy, you’ll make it easier to write and much easier to get distributed. And that distribution is what you really want.

Author:  Jessica Cox and Michelle Pierce are graduates of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Journalism with a background in Internet marketing and writing for the Web. They currently provide PR services at Xeal Precision Marketing. Sign up for a free 25-point website evaluation and pick up crucial tips at Xeal’s free Thursday webinar at http://www.xeal.com/webinar.

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