How Spread Good News about Shooting and Hunting

There are many positive things to call attention to in the shooting sports and hunting industries

While mass media hypes bad news about the shooting sports, the fact is, there are many positive things to call attention to in the shooting sports and hunting industries, such as ongoing training, educational programs, support for veterans and charitable causes, plus all those hours of safe and enjoyable recreation. News or press releases can help move these messages—and call positive attention to your business. A proper press release can also help a business develop a stronger working relationship with local media members.

Make Plans and Get Ahead Success in moving your message requires a strategic plan. This includes a yearly calendar with key deadlines noted, contacts who receive the releases, goals for each release—and tracking the results. Timing is critical; websites post news today, newspapers are often next week, and magazines are generally prepared months in advance. Think ahead.

When writing a release, it’s important to choose your words carefully. You need to grab the reader’s attention in the first sentence or paragraph. You also—and this is critical—need to focus on one topic. A press release should always answer the basics: who, what, when, and where. Since releases are about facts, avoid using fluffy marketing quotes and general statements. When sending a release, include a quality hi-res image and if possible a company logo. Images grab attention and pull the casual reader in for the details. Goods releases are generally one page (no more than 500 words) and are in a standard font such as Times New Roman size 12. Place the text in the body of the message in case the recipient reads it on a cellphone.

Next, target the places to receive the release. Push local news through local channels and regional news through those sources. Remember to also place the news on your company website and links on your social media channels. After a release is launched, consider using a spreadsheet to track the details: when it was released; who received it; who printed or posted it; and the results, such as customer comments and increased attention. You can also track the success of a press release with a Google search for the topic about two weeks after it is released.

Include the Details There is one golden rule for press releases: Content is king. The best releases begin as an outline, then fill in the details. Many of those details should be summarized in the first paragraph, because, unfortunately, this is often the only segment read by busy readers—including editors and webmasters.

Keep sentences short and to the point, use action words, and if in doubt, use online text programs to scan your text and evaluate it. Many readers read at a 6th to 8th grade level, so avoid big words and complex phrases. Improve the acceptance of the release by keeping titles to about five words.

Press releases continue to be a top method for calling attention to your business and events. Start spreading the news.

—Michael D. Faw