This is Part I of a five-part, weeklong series about how and why to write a press release. Click here for other installments. Be sure to visit tomorrow when we discuss how to format your release. Friday evening (August 7, 2009) one winner will be drawn to receive a special package from Market Mommy, including a press release, business card design and button ad design. The package is valued at $75! Please read the fine print at the end of the post for details on how to enter. You can register up to six times each day!!

As all of us mom business owners know, advertising dollars are hard to come by. This is why Market Mommy is dedicating an entire week to press releases. As insignificant as they may seem, press releases have the potential to grow your business and catapult it in front of thousands, all for FREE.

Press Release:: A written public relations announcement distributed to the news media as a way to inform the public about company developments; also sometimes referred to as a media release or news release.

First and foremost, a press release must be used to disseminate information about something that is actually newsworthy. For instance; a grand opening, a new line, an event, a name change are all newsworthy items as they relate to your business. Be sure to latch on to what is unique about your story and highlight it in order to set yourself apart.

The ultimate goal of your release is to garner media attention. Typically, journalists use a press release as a base for a larger story. However, in some smaller markets especially, press releases may be ran as written; all the more reason why your release should be written with care.

Your release should be relatively short and direct. Media writing by nature isn’t fluffy. Just give the facts, don’t embellish or add unnecessary adjectives. Essentially, you need to write to the media. (We’ll talk more about that later this week.)

In news print, especially, space is limited. So, keep the critical information in your release toward the top so when cuts need to be made, editors can easily remove the ‘extra’ from the bottom. And, always, always pay close attention to grammar and punctuation.

Remember, your press release is written about a news item, not as a sales pitch. Keep your tone neutral and objective and write in third person. Avoid clichés and try to focus on what is new and unique about your news item. A well written press release is much more likely to be chosen by an editor for publication than a poorly written one full of errors and unrelated information.

So, now you are probably thinking that you need to write a press release, but how do you begin? Check back tomorrow when we discuss formatting your release. And, don’t forget to comment here for your chance to win $75 worth of marketing services from Market Mommy!

The fine print::

First and foremost the marketing package won must be used to promote a legitimate, mom-owned business. (Market Mommy reserves the right to disqualify any entrant on the basis of this criteria) Winners will be chosen by Below are the ways to register, you may come back and do the following EACH DAY for each new post! Be sure to leave a comment with a link for each entry or it won’t count! (Comments close each day at 11:59 p.m. EST)

1. Leave a comment on this post, any comment.
2. Join the Market Mommy mailing list (box to the right of this post) or comment and tell me you’re on the list.3. Follow this blog or comment and tell me you are already a follower.4. Become a Fan of Market Mommy on Facebook or comment and tell me you’re already a fan.
5. Follow Market Mommy on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway, if you’re already a follower, just tweet.
6. Blog about this giveaway … you must link back to either this blog or Market Mommy’s official site.