Small growers can get valuable publicity for their farm or crops by using a tool that’s more familiar to larger businesses – a press release. It’s easier than you might think, as newspaper and magazine editors and reporters are always looking for fresh news in their area. A well-written release that contains a story worth sharing with others is always welcome at the editor’s desk.
Your story could be as simple as announcing the addition of new products, such as heirloom tomatoes or lavender products, availability of your crops in new markets or special events such as a harvest festival or tree-planting day for local school kids.
In most instances, it is not necessary to hire a professional to write your press release. If it’s too “slick,” a newspaper editor may not find it as credible as a more “homespun” version. Here’s what to include in your press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: (Your name, phone # and email address)
Headline: Write a descriptive headline that tells your story in two lines or less. Always remember that a press is a news story, not a sales pitch. That’s why the frost paragraph of your press release needs to answer the five questions every reporter or editor needs to know: Who, what, where, when and why, so they can decide whether to share your story with their readers.
Be sure to send the press release to the right person. If needed, call the newspaper or magazine office and ask who covers the topic of your press release. If you are sending the release to just a few newspapers and magazines, consider a follow-up call to ask if you can answer any questions. If the release is about a product, such as a food product, ask if the reporter or editor would like a sample.
Most press releases are sent by individual emails, or distributed by one of the many press release firms online. Using an online press release service can give you an extra boost if your also include your web site address, as digital press releases are usually archived, and can generate search engine traffic or a buckling to your site for months, even years!
If you do an online search for press release submission sites, you’ll find most charge a fee for their services. Save your money – there are dozens of firms that will submit your press release to the media for free. You’ll want to also send individual releases to local media as well, to be sure it reaches the right local reporters or editors. Three national firms that I’ve used are: www.pressexposure.com, www.prfree.org and www.prlog.org. To find others, do a web search for “free press release submission.”
To add to the appeal of your release, tie it to a special day, week or month. For example, April is National Garlic Month, May is National Flower Month. To find a day or month dedicated to your specialty crop, do a search for ” national (your crop) month” or “national (your crop) day.” Reporters and editors are more likely to feature a story that links a local person or business to a national holiday, official or not.
A press release takes just a few minutes to produce, and can give your business the kind of publicity that would cost a fortune if you had to pay for the advertising space. Why not take advantage of this free exposure with your own release?