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How to write a press release for your small business

The press release has been a mainstay of public relations since its inception decades ago.

And while it may seem a bit old-school to some, there’s a reason press releases have stood the test of time — they’re effective and produce results.

From generating media coverage to positioning yourself as a thought leaders in your industry, and ultimately help your business succeed and grow — there are a number of reasons why business owners need to learn how to write and distribute a press release.

Today, I’ll focus on part one of that process: how to write a press release.

If you’re trying to decide whether or not something warrants a press release, all you need to do is answer one question: Is it newsworthy?

For something to be newsworthy, it must be something that audiences outside of your internal organisation will care about; something that has significance to a reporter and their readers, viewers, or listeners, or to other external stakeholders (potential investors, etc).

Here are a few factors to consider when determining if something is newsworthy:

Impact: Who will this information affect? The broader and larger the impact, the more people will be interested.

Timeliness: Why does this information matter now? Does your news relate to or tie back to a significant “moment in time” or event of some sort?

Proximity: As a small business, this one should be easy to understand — proximity matters. For many small businesses or nonprofits, your news will likely matter more to local publications than to national ones, or publications that focus on other regions.

Name recognition: Clout that comes with big recognisable names (well know people, organisations, companies, etc) will likely increase the interest in your news. If you’re partnering with, or involved with a big name that might generate this type of attention, consider issuing a press release.

Now that you know when to write a press release, let’s take a look at how you actually do it.

Here, I’ve outline the four major components of an effective press release:

1. The headline

The headline should be attention grabbing and encourage the reader to want to know more, while also being explanatory. This isn’t the time to use vague language.

Formatting tip: Make sure the headline is written in bold and the subhead is italicised.

2. The body

The body of your press release should stay as concise as possible, while making sure to get all of the important information across in an engaging manner. Reporters that read your release aren’t likely going to have the time to read page after page trying to understand the news.

There aren’t really a prescriptive number of pages or word count. It can vary depending upon the information the release is covering. The key is to keep it concise and not overly verbose, but at the same time make sure that you have all the relevant info included. So, the length can really vary depending upon the announcement.

Here are other things to keep in mind when pulling together the body of any press release:

The dateline: Begin with a dateline of the city in which the press release originated and the date it was issued. This is especially important for small businesses that are distributing their press release to the local media.

Keep it factual: Your press release should focus on answering the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.

Factual doesn’t have to mean dry: While your press release should be as concise as possible and stick to the facts, it doesn’t have to be as dry as say, a research paper. Keep the language engaging.

Avoid lazy mistakes: Typos and poor grammar in press releases make your business look unprofessional, and will likely turn off reporters.

The quote: Most press release include a quote by the most relevant spokesperson for the topic of the release. The quote provides space to add some color commentary (going a bit beyond the factual basis of the rest of the release) and can also be pulled directly from the release by journalists to use in articles.

3. The boilerplate

This is the about us section where you provide background on your organisation. It should be included following the body of every press release. The language used here can be the same in every release. Don’t forget to link to your company homepage to drive readers back and provide more information.

4. Contact Info

A reporter reads your press release and is interested in getting more information — great! But how will they know where to go?

Be sure to include relevant contact info for any inquiries that may arise from your press release.

This information should be listed at the very end of the release.

It doesn’t begin and end with creating the press release.

Keep in mind that while a well crafted press release is the foundation of a great public relations campaign, your efforts should not begin and end with the creation of the release.

Press releases work when you get their information in the right hands (reporters, other stakeholders) that will further extend the reach of your news, ultimately resulting in measurable business success.

Stay tuned for part two, where I’ll explain how to distribute and get results from your press release.

Why haven’t more firms embraced advisory services?

The revenue opportunity in advisory work is huge, and it’s more sustainable as a business. But the number of firms that have successfully achieved this holy grail is still very small: Arguably, only 5 to 15 percent have even come close).

One of the major problems is that ‘advisory’ is an extremely poorly defined concept. What it actually means in practice varies hugely depending on who is offering it and who is receiving it. And if you don’t know what it’s going to look like in the end, how do you even start trying to deliver it?

The good news is that it’s actually pretty simple, and most accountants already have the necessary skills and knowledge. It is, however, a question of mindset. This interview between Andy North and Peter Hickey, Founder and President of MAUS, offers some brilliantly simple words of advice.

Being an “advisor” is more about the questions you ask than the answers you provide. “Think of yourself as a sports coach,” says Peter. The goals you’re trying to achieve should be set by your client – and your objective is to help them break them down and hold them accountable.

And what tips does Peter have for the accountant struggling to make sense of all this? “Start with succession planning.” The conversations you can have with a client as they start to consider their exit from their business can create clear opportunities for you to help.

Ten Clifford Law Offices Lawyers Named to 2020 Best Lawyers® list

Ten Clifford Law Offices lawyers have been included in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise.

Several of the recognised attorneys at Clifford Law Offices have been listed in Best Lawyers for years. Robert A. Clifford has been listed as a Best Lawyer for over 25 years.

The following lawyers were named to the 2020 The Best Lawyers in America list:

  1. Richard F. Burke, Jr. (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2015)
  2. Robert A. Clifford (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 1993)
  3. Bradley M. Cosgrove (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2019)
  4. Sean P. Driscoll (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2018)
  5. Kevin P. Durkin (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2011)
  6. Keith A. Hebeisen (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2011)
  7. Shannon M. McNulty (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2015)
  8. James C. Pullos (First year recognised in Best Lawyers)
  9. Henry Simmons (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2019)
  10. Robert P. Walsh (Recognised in Best Lawyers since 2018)

“Best Lawyers was founded in 1981 with the purpose of highlighting the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal profession. After three decades, we are proud to continue to serve as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals worldwide,” says CEO Phillip Greer.

About Clifford Law Offices

Clifford Law Offices is ranked as one of the top law firms in Illinois and the country. They are recognised leaders in aviation litigation, complex personal injury, wrongful death cases, medical malpractice, products liability, premises liability and transportation litigation. Clifford Law Offices also has a reputation in class action litigation, whistleblower cases and commercial litigation cases.

IT PHOTO

Winners from prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise announced

Her Majesty The Queen has named 201 businesses as among the best in the country in the prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise to celebrate Her Majesty’s 93rd birthday.

The winners include businesses leading the way in a huge range of industries – from construction, agriculture, motoring and software development. This year, three quarters of the total are SMEs, 30 of which have fewer than 10 employees. They will join more than 6,000 British businesses in receiving the prestigious honour and will have the privilege of displaying the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise emblem for 5 years.

The Awards, now in its 53rd year, are the most prestigious awards for UK businesses, with companies from across the UK recognised for their contribution in the 4 categories.

There are:

  • 129 International Trade winners
  • 61 Innovation winners
  • 6 Sustainable Development winners
  • 5 Promoting Opportunity winners

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

These prestigious awards help shine a light on all that is great about UK business today. I am extremely impressed to see such a wealth of talent and innovation from across the UK being recognised today by Her Majesty The Queen.

These awards recognise the innovative products and services being provided by British businesses that are in demand across the world, as well as the sheer determination and hard work that comes with starting and running a business.

Many of these winners are small businesses – the backbone of our economy – and we are backing them to grow, increase their productivity and create more jobs and opportunity across the UK through our modern Industrial Strategy.

Antonia Romeo, Permanent Secretary for the Department for International Trade, said:

The winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are brilliant examples of what can be achieved by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by exporting and the full range of support available. It was very good to chair the very competitive international trade panel, and select highly successful trading firms to benefit from the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in international trade.

I strongly encourage UK companies to take advantage of the Department for International Trade’s full range of services and support for exporting.

Among the double-award wining businesses recognised for outstanding achievements in both International Trade and Innovation categories are:

  • DriveWorks Ltd, a software developer
  • Ideal Boilers Ltd, a leading boiler manufacturer
  • Niftylift Ltd, one of the largest manufacturers of ‘cherry pickers’
  • driving simulation software company rFpro
  • tool manufacturer Snap-on UK Holdings
  • innovative technology company Markes International Limited
  • Niftylift Ltd is the only company to get the double award twice, having won awards for International trade and Innovation in 2013.

Roger Bowden, Niftylift’s chairman and founder said:

We are honoured to be recognised for not one, but two prestigious Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in 2019. These awards help to illustrate how our dedication to design and innovation, together with our attention to detail and strong customer focus, have allowed us to compete so successfully in this global marketplace.

I am very proud of the strong and close-knit team we have here at Niftylift and I’d like to thank them all for their professionalism and commitment to ensuring our worldwide reputation and success over the years.

Shaun Edwards, CEO of Ideal Boilers, which won awards for International Trade and Innovation said:

It is an honour and a privilege to receive these awards, which reflect our continued commitment to innovation and international relations. This high recognition emphasises and reflects the hard work and determination of all our employees whose core values of excellence, integrity and an entrepreneurial spirit will continue to drive our business further towards greater achievements.

Tim Hawkins, managing director of Markes International Ltd, which won in International Trade and Innovation said:

It is a great honour to be recognised by Her Majesty The Queen for our excellence in Innovation and, for the second time, International Trade. We take great pride in introducing new technologies to our field of analytical chemistry, and alongside our valued trading partners, have been successful in supporting customers around the world and enhancing scientific progress.

Chris Hoyle, technical director at rFpro, which also won in International Trade and Innovation said:

We are delighted that the hard work of everybody at rFpro has been acknowledged by the Queen’s Awards judging panel and we are so proud to be one of just a few companies to achieve a double award. Our contribution to making the world’s road networks safer is reward enough, but it is fantastic to receive such prestigious recognition.

Applications for the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2020 open on 1 May 2019 and close on 10 September 2019. They are free to enter, and it is a self-nominating process. Applicants may apply for more than one award and entries are welcomed from all sectors. For more information and to apply, visit https://www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise

IT PHOTO

Italy to cut deficit from 2020, provides relief to markets

Italy will cut its budget deficit targets from 2020 and reduce its debt over the next three years, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday, easing fears about fiscal policy in the euro zone’s third-biggest economy.

The ruling coalition last week stunned investors by tripling Italy’s previous deficit target for the 2019-21 period to pay for tax cuts, welfare for the poor and a planned revision of an unpopular pension reform.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of ministers, Conte said the government would push ahead with its expansionist fiscal programme but would keep its spending in check.

“We will show courage above all in 2019, because we believe that our country needs a budget that calls for strong growth,” said Conte, flanked by deputy prime ministers Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, and Economy Minister Giovanni Tria.

Conte confirmed a deficit target of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019 and said this would fall to 2.1 percent in 2020 and 1.8 percent in 2021.

He predicted the debt/GDP ratio would fall beneath 130 percent next year and hit 126.5 percent by 2021. It is currently around 131 percent, the second highest in Europe after Greece.

The government did not release growth targets, but Tria said the gap between Italian growth and the rest of the eurozone would halve next year. The IMF has forecast growth of 1.0 percent in Italy in 2019 against 1.9 percent for the eurozone.

News the coalition planned to cut the deficit faster than previously indicated caused Italian government bond yields to fall sharply on Wednesday, while the Milan bourse outperformed other major stock exchanges in Europe to close up 0.9 percent.

Investments

The coalition came to power in June promising to slash taxes and boost welfare spending, and says an expansionary budget is needed to lift Italy’s underperforming economy, which is some six percent smaller than it was a decade ago before the sovereign debt-crisis exploded.

Tria said the 2019 budget would include a lift in public investment and would offer tax breaks to firms investing in equipment and staff. The jobless rate would fall from around 10 percent now to as low as 7 percent, the prime minister said.

European Commission officials and EU allies had expressed their concern over Rome’s spending plans and there was some relief over the reduced targets.

“It’s a good signal that the trajectory has been revised because it shows the Italian authorities are hearing the concerns and remarks from their partners and the European Commission,” EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in Paris.

Italy’s minister for European affairs, Paolo Savona, went to Strasbourg on Wednesday to try to reassure EU lawmakers that Rome was not being irresponsible.

“I think there is no chance that Italy will default on its public debt,” said Savona, who has previously called into question Italy’s membership of the euro currency.

“I do not intend to take any action against the euro. On the contrary, I want to strengthen it,” he said on Wednesday.