Press Release Ideas for Small Businesses Who Don’t Have a Lot of News

I got an email today from someone who read my book, I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What??? It immediately drew my attention when it said,

“I love your book, and it has helped me understand press releases better.

That alone gets anyone's attention (apply this principle to working with journalists. We write because we want to feel like we make a difference and it's nice to be acknowledged). It's short, sweet and to the point.

He went on to say:

What I still struggle with is coming up with interesting ideas for stories. I have tried some press releases before but I have not seen any encouraging results.

I am currently helping someone…with SEO, and I want to make use of a press release to promote the business.”

This is a common question and a valid one. Many small businesses struggle to find topics to write about.

For SEO (news sites are authority links) and for marketing, it's ideal if your press release is newsworthy, in other words, something the local press might cover in a story.  A press release written for SEO alone might not get you the best results, depending on your business.

This press release case study shows that getting your business in search results pays off, however they have the advantage of using celebrity names and plenty of new content. Not everyone has this advantage though. We have to get creative.

Here are some press release ideas that can be adapted to fit a local business. 

1. Tie into a holiday.

Tell kids to bring in their candy from Halloween and you send it off to the troops (work with a nonprofit). Made up headline example: Thaeler Orthodontics Partners with Operation Give Back to Donate Candy to the Troops this Halloween

My favorite example is from Lacy at – an online fitness program I belong to. She gave a fresh take on Halloween. Most people are talking about the costumes, the candy and safety. Lacy talked about fitness. She put together a pumpkin event, had women dress up in striped tights and a witch hat and led them through a workout in a park using a pumpkin as a weight. That unique angle got her a ton of media coverage. Here's what her PR rep said:

Lacy came up with the idea to use pumpkins for fitness. She wanted to do a free local event involving exercise, but renting out a gym or having enough weights and other exercise equipment would be too expensive. Pumpkins are heavy enough to act as weights and adds to the fun and excitement of the fall season. 

We have had media attention from Channel 2 news and ABC 4. I pitched them a press release via email and got immediate attention due to the different nature of this event.

Here are links to some of the press they got :

Even if Lacy didn't want to do an event, she shared so many tips about how to avoid weight gain that even those would make a strong story.

2. Host a showing of a movie that relates to your industry.

I did this when the movie The Social Network was released, since it was about social media. We found a sponsor, rented out a movie theater for one of the first screenings, and organized a party around it. We invited our Facebook fans, and Fox 13 News covered the story.

A rather geeky company made a tradition of hosting free movie nights when there was a new scifi type of movie release. They could've scored some free media coverage by just inviting the media and getting some coverage.

Just last week, a chiropractor I know recently screened a showing of the movie, “Doctored” at a local university. He was featured in the film and was there to answer questions afterwards. Perfect media opportunity. I'd tell him to do another showing but have me write a press release and send it to local media. The discussion afterwards was so interesting. Healthcare is a hot topic  and since  he's worked on local sports icons, it would make a great story.

At the event I found out that blogger Tim Ferris wrote about my chiropractor in his book, The 4-Hour Body, which led to a filmmaker coming to his office for treatment. That led to the filmmaker making this film.

4. Tout a good cause.

Perhaps your office gets half a day off to go volunteer for an organization you believe in and you invite your patients to join you. If you can do something to give back (this press release scored a front page story in a local newspaper), it makes you look good. My favorite is the story about how a press release made a Utah kid's family $3k in donations in a day, because of the resulting media coverage.

Look for opportunities to give back or help people. To me, this makes the best type of news.

5. Come up with events that your target market would enjoy.

My orthodontist does this. He  sponsors patient appreciation nights at local attractions like a corn maze in the fall, roller skating, or other fun places. He also runs contests. These are press release worthy and the visibility would likely bring new patients to the office.

If you don't have the budget or cannot pull off regular promotions like this, do what you can. Share interesting tips around your expertise. Give useful information. Share an opinion. Many of the things you blog about, put in your newsletter or even post on Facebook could be made into press releases. These are a bit trickier to get approved though.

I hope these examples give you ideas for press releases that could help you get new traffic for your website and media coverage. I have a confession. After all these years of only working on word of mouth, I'm building a website just for my press release writing service. I'll be sure to send out a press release. Let me know if I can help your business come up with a press release plan.


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