The Loudoun County Press Release – Executing a Small Business Press Release in Northern Virginia

by Avatar in Blog August 15, 2014

You are a small-ish business (or nonprofit). You want to send out a “press release” to get coverage of your new event or other company announcement.

You want the press release to go to the “local media”, who might then be so interested in your , that they’ll whip up a quick review/interview/article/notification, and publish it in their local publication, on their local digital media. Maybe even their personal social media.

In real life, how does this work? How do you send out a local press release in Loudoun County, in Northern Virginia?

Guaranteed to get in front of actual Loudoun business owners, customers, constituents? For less than $1000, $500, $250?

You don’t (until you read the rest, or just skip to the bottom…).

You can try to search for this service, in this area – try it – search for “northern virginia press release service” or “loudoun press release service”. All you get are links from actual, already-published press releases by others. No services, nobody to contact or pay.

It can’t be done with any online service, like BusinessWire, PRLog, etc. – these only work at high-level city/regional levels…and though many of your local customers may actually, regularly read “Marketwire”, Yahoo Business News or the Washington Post, you really can’t be sure whether your press release isn’t being wasted on Yahoo readers in California. Plus, the releases don’t actually end up on THE New York Times website, they end up under affiliate subdomains or article-scraping sites like “wallstreet.hivefire.com”, Ulitzer and ultimately only findable via Google’s “supplemental results”.

You can call the Loudoun Times or Leesburg Today, perhaps the “Connection Newspapers”, or the big dogs over at the Post, Washingtonian, Washington Business Journal, InsideNOVA, even the “traditional” media, i.e. WJLA, WTOP, etc. They all have websites, all could use some interesting, fresh news.

Perhaps you get a lucky break with one of the popular area topical blogs/lists with big followings – like DCist, Phillipa, Chad Dukes or TooConservative…but they’re usually very hesitant to include “native” advertising, i.e. press releases that are primarily commercial, yet integrated into the very focused topical community the blog serves.

Unless you give them $200 – but then your “release” will be to a niche audience, single site; not good ROI. And the $200 will not be put to “good”.

You can buy some email lists – but Google doesn’t search those, they don’t last long, they’re expensive, and (while they can be shared) they’re not really set up to be publicly “liked”.

Your Loudoun Small Business Press Release (or Fairfax, or Prince William – pick your County, or even your “area”, like “Dulles”) must be done via:

(A) Yourself, your spouse or interns calling around, as described above, hoping for a break and some coverage that’s timed with your campaign, and actually uses your “suggested” language and keywords (we actually do this quite often, just to cover the hope);

(B) your millennial, social-media-savvy friend who’s both a reporter at the “Northern Virginia Cool Stuff Magazine” or “Loudoun County Cool Style”, and has their own locally-popular Instagram or Vine channel (that’s our daughter, but we don’t sell to high-schoolers);

(C) an actual Public Relations (PR) service, looking to “give back”, plus very knowledgeable about the area and hopefully about digital marketing (some resources from (B) may actually be growing into this space);

(D) a local business with a large online following, and big email list, who’s willing to share their reputation goodness with you (hey Ford’s Fish Shack, can you retweet this?);

(E) some “Local Buzz” – a new word for the business listing services from folks like ReachLocal, Yext, etc. and local affiliates – that focuses only only correlated public and social media directory listings, but has extremely low ROI and typcially no SEO value (Google’s smarter than that, now!);

(F) Facebook or Google targeted demographic PPC ads (these can actually work quite well, but only within those communities); and/or

(G-Z) a local, experienced small business digital marketing technology firm. Like us.

For many, perhaps most small businesses we’ve seen around Loudoun (and there are thousands), calling the local papers and magazines is a challenge – most don’t like to mix news with commerce, like you wish they would (as business owners, not readers). They just want your money for actual advertisements, classifieds, back-page spreads. (Though the Loudoun Times, with their “Times Digital” offering, has gotten smart – like the WashPost, but for far smaller budgets.)

There really are no millennial partners around to help, anywhere between JMU and GMU, or outside the Beltway. Uber doesn’t come out this far, neither does the Silver Line (but it’s coming; so stake out the millennial events on the GoFFX mobile app, and find some help.)

Actual PR services that operate at our budget level, and are interested in anything outside the DC Politico sphere? Only if you’re a nonprofit or actually “giving back” yourself. Other local businesses who might “rent” their PR-worthy online distribution methods and contact lists? Fat chance, it’s still a bad economy out there.

Back to the question – how then do you realistically produce a Loudoun County or Northern Virginia Press Release?

Call KME Internet Marketing, or visit KME.Marketing.

DON’T call anyone who uses the words “excellent” or “whatnot” – those are offshore signals.

We will, here in Loudoun, Fairfax & Prince William, with a combination of Interns, Millennials AND actual long-term professionally-experienced marketing technologists (and Loudoun residents):

  1. Meet with you locally, if needed, and figure out what you want.
  2. Create and package the “news”, in perfect American English, utterly-optimized for SEO, with local imagery.
  3. Call all our girlfriends, and the Times, and tell them to post it. And “like” it.
  4. In parallel with (3), we’ll turn on our Northern Virginia Press Release Service:
  • Post to our Loudoun/Northern Virginia Twitter Network – over 20 accounts, 10Ks of followers
  • Post to our Loudoun/Northern Virginia blogs – lots of them, 1Ks of readers, followers
  • Post to our Loudoun/Northern Virginia websites, business directories – several
  • Post to our other local SoMe channels – Facebook, G+, Tumblr, LinkedIn and so on…
  • Send to our email subscribers.
  • Apply some “Loudoun special sauce” (a.k.a. “digital amplification”), and have these postings start spreading, syndicating to other places, channels, sites…for more views, more clicks, more conversions.
  • Help plan and “buy” online advertisements/native ads that reference your message, and will actually work – sometimes in strange ways, like Coupons, Reviews or Retargeting. Weird, strange stuff the Millennials love, and the rest of us find hard to ignore.
  • Distribute flyers door-to-door, or in the Silver Line parking lots. Well maybe, if we can include a QRCode.

Call or contact us today to set up a Loudoun, Fairfax, or Northern Virginia Press Release – the 21st century-kind.