Press releases are messages from a company to the general public. They are normally used to convey information about product releases or newsworthy events that the company is involved in. The press then takes this information and uses it to write a story about the company, therefore in effect giving them some free advertising. This is actually often more credible than traditional advertising in the eyes of the general public because press coverage is normally seen as being impartial and factual. Many small businesses choose to pay a fee to an outside company so that they can have a professionally written press release. This is a good part-time business as the going rate is over £100 (125 EUR, 100 AUD/USD) per press release.
Skills needed: You will need to have experience of writing and designing press releases in the standard format. A background in journalism would also be a valuable asset. If you are able to work with HTML then you will be able to offer more sophisticated ‘interactive’ press releases and this will set you apart from the majority of competitors.
Business environment and set-up cost: There is some international potential for you in other English speaking markets or if you are bilingual. However, it is likely that most clients will be from your local region. This is an inexpensive business to set-up if you already own the computer equipment and software needed. You may need to pay someone to design your website and also set aside a decent marketing budget. The overall start-up cost will range from less than £1,500 to £3,000 (2,000 – 3,000 EUR, 3,000-5,000 AUD/USD).
Make sure your website is easy to find by using search engine optimisation (SEO)
Participate in the pay-per-click schemes of the popular search engines
Use viral marketing by encouraging clients to recommend you to friends
Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online
Complimentary business ideas: You could charge extra to handle dealing with the press to give the client maximum exposure in the media. Additionally, you could also provide a service which keeps track of all the times your client is mentioned in the press as this is useful for a company to judge how successful its advertising campaign has been.
Notes: The client will likely want a quick turnaround from the time they request a press release and its completion.
Online examples & resources:
Press Release Service – An example of this type of business
How to Write a Press Release – A guide for SMEs that wish to write their own press release
For previous SME start-up ideas, look through the archive here