Smart Marketing Basics

Small Business PR Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Small business marketers often make two common mistakes when it comes public relations.  The first one is not doing enough to promote or publicize your daily business wins and successes, and the second is not preparing for a press interview after you have issued some news.  Let’s talk about mistake number one first. 

Mistake #1 – Lack of regular public relations

Investing in some public relations activities is a smart marketing basic that all small businesses should engage in.  This can simply involve making a point to tell your story, and sharing your successes and accomplishments with the outside world by issuing press releases.  This doesn’t have to cost a lot.  By posting news announcements to your website on a regular basis, and giving these same press releases to your sales team to send out to their customers and prospects, you can quickly build credibility for your small business and generate a lot of interest in your products and services.

By simply planning a calendar of press release topics, and sticking to it, you can generate a steady stream of news.  Your news doesn’t have to be ‘earth shattering’.  Yes, you might feel you are competing against uber-big headlines, like Facebook finally planning to go IPO, but what you really need to focus on is news that shows the world how you are providing value to your customers, and solving key issues in your industry.

There are three basic press release types that apply to most small businesses:  1) announcing a new product or service, 2) announcing a new customer win, and 3) announcing a special event your organization is hosting or participating in.  Your event could be a local chamber of commerce event you are sponsoring, a tradeshow you are speaking at, or an online training event that you are offering.  If you develop a simple press release calendar around these three type of news annoucements, and plan to issue one per month, you can drive a lot of interest in your business, as well as improve your search rankings on your website because your content is fresh and updated regularly. 

For more insights on these three press release types, check out this previous blog post on Three Press Releases to Grow Your Small Business.

Mistake #2 – Not preparing for a press interview

Once you issue some news and generate interest from a reporter, say from an industry trade publication writer or a local business journalist, be sure to prepare for the interview.  Have your press release available with your key messages highlighted so you ensure that you reinforce those during your meeting.  Be sure you to ask up front how much time the journalist has to speak with you so that you use time wisely.  Be prepared to focus on only 1-2 things if your meeting needs to be cut short. 

Research previous articles that the reporter has written so that you can be familiar with her work, her writing style, and the topics that she covers the most.  And lastly, be prepared for the last question she will usually ask, which is “Is there anything else that you would like to add?”  This is a good opportunity to remind the journalist of how you are different from other competitive offerings or providers. is a great resource for marketing research, and features quite a few blogs as well.  Daniel Burnstein wrote a great post on the topic of 5 interview mistakes that drive journalists crazy, so be sure to check out his tips at this link:

Subscribe to the Smart Marketing Basics blog for more tips on public relations, writing press releases, and small business marketing topics.

Press Releases – How to Convince Your Colleagues to use Press Release Marketing

The goal of is to provide simple marketing plans and templates to small business marketers and entrepreneurs who need simple, actionable tools to help them get started in marketing.  Smart Marketing Basics, our blog discusses simple strategies to help small business owners grow their business, while our featured articles provide more insight into the ten smart marketing plays that can help make your business successful.

Previously, our we featured a post called “Press Release Tips for Small Business Marketers” which recommended some free articles on the subjects of common “do’s and don’ts” of pitching your small business to a reporter, and how to use press releases to market your small business.  These are great resources available at no cost to you.  Be sure to check out this post if you have not seen it yet.

I have heard from other marketing professionals that often times they need help convincing their colleagues, business partners, value-added resellers and other key stakeholders they work with, of the importance of Press Release marketing.  While writing press releases to promote your small business is a “no brainer” strategy to many professional marketers, they often times have to influence their corporate peers to support this activity.

To address this request, has introduced a new, low -cost marketing template, a ready-to-use presentation slide deck available today for only $4.95 from our Marketing Templates Library:

Using Press Releases to Market Your Small Business – A PowerPoint Presentation

Using Press Releases to Market Your Small Business - PowerPoint Presentation

Using Press Releases to Market Your Small Business

Download this 15-slide presentation on how to use press releases to promote your small business. It talks about how the press release has evolved from being a simple news communication device, to a broader tool that supports your marketing, sales, and search engine optimization efforts.  It illustrates when to use press releases and how they can be used in a variety of ways, in an easy to follow format. 

Get your partners and stakeholders on board immediately to support your press release marketing efforts by downloading and presenting this presentation at your next sales meeting, or online marketing event.  Visit our Marketing Templates Page at:

Writing Winning Press Releases

I wanted to share this great post from the American Express OPENForum site, which features lots of great small business tips and how to articles on marketing. Author Shira Levine wrote a post titled, “How to Write a Winning Press Release: The Step-by-Step Guide.”  To read it, go to this link,

It talks about good basics for press release writing, such as creating compelling headlines, using keywords throughout your release, and having a good introductory paragraph that summarizes your announcement.

At, we whole-heartedly endorse these tips, and have built our Press Release Tutor™ online interactive template that incorporates these tenets. But you know the saying, easier said than done. That is why we created an interactive template that walks you step-by-step through the process of creating a release.  Reading an article is one thing, but retaining it completely and applying it to practice is another.

In 5 easy steps, the Press Release Tutor lets you create a compelling and consistent message, select from several different announcement types, and then automatically creates a draft for your review and final edits. We would love your feedback on the Press Release Tutor tool; you can check it out at:

Do you have a marketing playbook?

The discipline of marketing spans a wide list of topics, domain knowledge and skill sets. As a result, small businesses looking for simple, yet practical ways to get started marketing their business quickly become overwhelmed by the depth of the profession.  Rather than becoming overwhelmed by all the possibilities, small businesses should focus on executing a few smart marketing plays.  In the world of sports, it’s easy to understand the concept of a team playbook.  Playbooks consist of basic tactics that a team must perform in order to have any chance of winning the game.  By following a “smart marketing playbook” philosophy, you can differentiate your organization from its peers, and put mechanisms in place that can drive real sales growth. 

Most small businesses are created to address a basic market need or to solve a specific customer problem.  Entrepreneurs, while skilled at building and delivering a specific product or service, often lack experience in the marketing fundamentals necessary to grow their businesses.  After exhausting their rolodex of contacts for sales leads, these “do-it-yourselfers” turn to the web for help.  While the Internet provides access to a wealth of information, most marketing websites are designed for marketing professionals in active practice in corporate or agency environments.  As a result, small business owners struggle to sort through these online resources for some easy ways to get started. 

Instead, small businesses should focus on executing a few smart marketing plays. Summarized in this free article download, “Ten Marketing Basics for Your Small Business,” are some basic plays that small- to medium-sized organizations can use to effectively grow their business.  The article discusses tactics such developing a marketing message, building awareness for your company, email marketing, and more.  Think of it as a top ten list of things that smart marketers do to craft a fundamental marketing program in their organization.  To download the free article, go to

I hope you enjoy it!

Announcing the Press Release Tutor for Small Business Marketers

For small business owners, getting started marketing your business can be overwhelming, confusing and costly.  I founded the website to help small businesses address this issue head on with some easy to use templates to guide them along.  My philosophy is that there are several smart marketing basics that small businesses can use to get going.   Once you have a few initial successes, then you will be more apt to invest and expand after seeing the value of marketing. 

I am excited to share our news announcing the new Press Release Tutor, a new smart marketing template for small business marketers.  The Press Release Tutor was created to help small businesses create well-written press releases, in 5 easy steps.  Writing press releases to promote your small business is essential, but creating the right message can be challenging, especially for non-marketing professionals.

Press Release Templates

How the Press Release Tutor Templates Work

By using the Press Release Tutor, small business marketers can preview and select from a collection of announcement templates, craft a boilerplate marketing message using basic questions about their business, and then automatically generate a well-written release draft. Tutor Tips also provide advice on effective messaging fundamentals. After some final review and editing, users can download their press release and distribute.
Please check it out at  We would love to hear your feedback!


Press Release Tips for Small Business Marketers

As a small business owner trying to market your product or service, it’s important to stay focused on smart marketing basics, including using public relations, specifically press releases, to promote your company and your offerings. One of our goals here at is to feature advice articles and snippets to help guide you through this process.

I highly recommend this article, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Your Small Business to a Reporter”, by Joe Pompeo, recently featured on OPEN Forum. The author provides some succinct advice to small business owners to avoid common mistakes when approaching editors.

Be sure to also check out my feature article,”Using Press Releases to Market Your Small Business.”  Issuing press releases on a regular basis keeps your company top of mind with prospects and customers, and builds awareness for what you do, and the value you provide.

Smart Marketing Starts with a Solid Message

I am inspired by a recent blog article from Marketing Sherpa, Writing Better Releases and Copy,, written by reporter Adam T. Sutton. He talks about how often he comes across press releases that don’t really say anything, but feature “gobbleygook”.  Or described another way, superlatives and hype.  The blog article goes on to cite some resources devoted to this topic, and also calls out the most commonly used “gobbleygook” phrases.   Check it out to see if you have been an offender. 

This topic hits near and dear to me, as creating good marketing, specifically press releases, starts with building a solid and clear message.  Developing and issuing press releases is a key promotional activity that can drive marketing leads and growth for your business.  However, most small and even medium- sized businesses struggle with crafting a short, succint, meaningful story before embarking on drafting news announcements. 

At a minimum, organizations should develop a company boilerplate description that is used consistently across all marketing communications.  This is the foundation upon which the marketing templates available from, were built upon.  See our featured article, “Using Press Releases to Market Your Business“, available for free download at

%d bloggers like this: