Public relations can be a free and effective form of publicity, but you have to know the basics in order to reap the benefits. Newspapers and other media outlets will publish about your storage facility free of charge, but only if it's a topic that's interesting and they think can benefit their readers and viewers. Ask yourself a few questions before hitting send on that e-mail or picking up the phone:

Are you a strong writer?

If you're not, try finding someone in the office who is, or who can at least edit your work. Even if you provide a good story, the editor won't want to spend all her time fixing grammatical errors; she may lose interest in your story in pursuit of a well-written release. Professionalism is key to having your story published.

Is it newsworthy?

If you're considering sending a press release to your local press outlets, make sure it's something area residents will actually care about. If your story isn't newsworthy, don't waste your time sending it out. The masses may not care that you made a new hire, but they will care if you're outreaching to your community. Holding a fundraiser for the local Little League team? Collecting toy donations at Christmastime for needy families? These are all great examples of when to reach out to the media.

If it's newsworthy, is it attention grabbing?

Give your press release a catchy headline and an interesting angle. Remember, journalists receive several e-mails a day from businesses and organizations that are trying to get published; yours has to stand out so it doesn't get ignored in the crowd. Your title should be short, to the point, and intriguing at the same time. Hint: use industry specific keywords to help effectively get your point across and boost SEO efforts. For example, "Next Stop for Storage Wars: Kansas City's Own "Public Storage" Facility on Main St." The headline is to the point, tells you exactly what to expect from reading the article, uses keywords and leads the viewer to continue reading for more information.

Don't forget the essentials:

  • Include contact information on everything you send out. The journalist posting your story may have additional questions.

  • Add quotes as well as statistics to help legitimize your article.

  • Don't exceed the one page limit. Say what you need to say, and be direct about it.

  • Include, in the content of your release, a link to your website; this way, not only can readers access your site for more information, but you'll also be linkbuilding in the process (which will help your site rank better in the search engines).

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Writing this on the top of your document allows the editor to know your release is ready for the public, and they don't need to delay publication.

Once you've made a great press release that readers will enjoy, send it off to press outlets in your community to spread awareness of your recent newsworthy achievement!