There are still outlets, besides your social media, to let others know about promotions, new hires, awards given or received, change of location or other general news about your company. Press releases still have a purpose, and not including them in your marketing strategy is potentially missing out on free publicity.

They do not need to be long and time-consuming; as a matter of fact, a few paragraphs is enough. Most press releases only need to be a single page, and they should be sent in a Word document so no rekeying is required on the part of the media outlet. Here are some tips to help make your press releases painless to write and more apt to be read by editors.

Most editors or reporters will take a few seconds to see if the information is relevant to their publication — note the word “seconds.” That is how long you have to grab their attention as your release will be one of hundreds they receive each week.

A press release is not an advertisement. Think about the news story you are trying to communicate. A good press release answers all the “five Ws”: who, what, when, where, why (and how).

Your press release should include a headline, adding keywords and enough description so the editor knows what the release is about from the beginning. Include a link to your website or the link to the event.

Use bullet points to highlight specific items of interest such as what will happen at an event, speakers, etc. For your business, highlight key new features or key points of interest.

Make every word count and include a quote from you or someone in the company. It personalizes the release more and allows you to make a statement about your business or event.

Keep the wording clear, concise and devoid of technical terminology and flowery marketing language. Avoid subjective adjectives such as “exciting,” “successful” and “tasty.” State just the facts. Instead of, “Rick Smith has recently been hired by ABC to the position of vice president of marketing,” write, “ABC recently hired Rick Smith as director of sales.”

If you have a photo available, send it. Be sure to include a caption with the first and last names of anyone in the photo and what the photo is depicting.

Above all, be sure all your information is accurate. Double-check that the dates are right and names are spelled correctly.

For local publications, include your business or residence location up front in your communication as that may affect whether your news is used or not.

It takes a little time and effort, but the creation of press releases can keep your company’s name in the public eye, and a press release is a great way to get the word out.

Publisher’s note: The Business Monthly welcomes your press release and general business information. Send it to [email protected].