Many business owners are under the false belief that writing an effective press release has to be done by an expert, and that it takes expert knowledge to magically craft the right words and garner media attention. The honest truth is that with a little time and energy you can write your own press releases. The benefit for doing it yourself? You save money. You get the release out on your timetable and you have one hundred percent control over the release and the results.

So what’s the secret? How do you make sure your press release gets noticed? Here are five do-it-yourself top tips.

Tip #1 - Understand what is newsworthy. Many beginners and experienced business owners alike make the mistake of submitting press releases that the media isn’t interested in. They make the release about themselves and their business. The media doesn’t care if you just released a book or launched a new product. 

So what do they care about? They care about how the news affects the public. The media reports to the public and they want to discuss and report on things the general public will find interesting. That means when you’re writing a press release you want to be thinking about how it affects your community.

Tip #2 - Consider adding video or images. More and more reporting is becoming a multimedia affair. Television broadcasts release videos on air, and print uses images. We’re a visual society and when you can enhance a press release with a video or a photo, you’re adding value to that release in the eyes of the media.

Tip #3 - Spend time on your headline. Reporters and journalists are busy people. Just like you, they’ll give something about twenty seconds to capture their attention before moving on. That means your headline has to grab them by the eyeballs. 

However, you probably want to skip anything too flashy or obvious. Over-the-top headlines don’t arouse curiosity and interest. They simply provoke a giggle and a rolling of the eyes. You also don’t want to bore them to tears. Show them how you’re providing a solution, addressing a problem and offering value.

Tip #4 - Make friends with the media. Media representatives are people too. They have good days and bad days. They respond better when they know you. And they appreciate not being hounded. There are a number of ways you can connect with media representatives and start building a relationship. 

Social media is a powerful tool. You can also network with local media organizations and associations. Finally, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone from time to time and call them. However, before you do call them, consider their schedule. Afternoons, Mondays and Fridays are probably their busiest times – just like the rest of us.

Tip #5 - Start small. Aim for your local paper. Focus on a current event or issue in your community and connect with your local reporters. Often, big news agencies pick up stories from smaller papers and television stations. Starting small is often the key to going big.

Press releases aren’t difficult to create. They do, however, require an understanding of the media’s primary goals and objectives. Write your release for them, not you, and you’ll be well on your way to the coverage you desire.