Welcome E-commerce Empresses to this episode of Woman Powering E-Commerce. Join me every Tuesday and Thursday as I take you behind the scenes of my journey as a female e-commerce entrepreneur. Together, we'll explore the highs, the lows, inspiring you to take action and achieve your own business goals. So let's get started.
I want to discuss PR: press release. Last year we relaunched our new website for Zumalka with new product names. We rebranded. We did the whole makeover tour, just our whole company. I would say that the whole company had a makeover and I had a press release written by a freelancer I found on Upwork. It was our first time. I had no clue where to go, who to find, but I thought at least if I went on Upwork, found someone who had experience writing a press release, do so. So that's what I got done. And I paid Cision, which is I think a very popular public relations company. Usually, they publish a lot of press releases in general.
So that's what they did. They released my press release and I got some coverage on the web, a few news media, a few articles here and there. But versus the investment we made to have it done, was it worth it? And the answer is no. Honestly, it wasn't. I was hoping for much more coverage. Was it because it was our first one? We could have done better in certain areas, I don't know. But this year what we did is we had a new product kit that we wanted to release. So what better way to announce it by doing a press release. And I wanted to try a different route and see what else could be done just to make sure it would be more successful or at least get a better return on investment.
So we already worked for our other company, BusterFetcher, with a PR expert, and she was very nice. Nice enough to show us what needed to be done for e-commerce to allow us to actually do the PR release ourselves. So yes, a company like that, you pay them and it's a turnkey solution. They just take care of everything, which is great, especially when you have no clue how PR works. But with our PR expert that we were actually working with this year, she was very nice to tell us that it's not that complicated. Once you know how to do it, you can actually do it yourself. So we're like, yes, all in, show us please and let's do it.
So by the way, shout out to Renee Warren. Thank you. She's great. She had already helped us create a media kit for Zumalka when we... Okay, so here it is, between the Cision press release last year for a new website and now us wanting to release a press release for our new kit we were actually putting on our website, Renee Warren had helped us with some PR work. So that's why we already had a media kit for Zumalka created, which is basically a folder with we created in Google Drive, which includes Google Docs around the company, a founder's bio, reviews, testimonials, product info from our top five sellers, for example. So that helped us as a starting point definitely to actually create our own press release this time.
So I thought I'd share the steps we took to actually create it and do it by ourselves in case it's something you want to try it on your own as well. And I personally thought it always looked super mysterious and I thought it was something very complicated. But honestly, when you do it, it is not that complicated. So let me unveil the secrets I learned about PR.
So doing a press release yourself involves a series of steps to effectively communicate your news or announcement to the media and to the public. So here's a simplified little guide I put together for you. Number one, you have to identify your news angle. So you have to decide what's newsworthy about your announcement, and is it a product launch, an event, a new milestone within the company, something else? Of course, it has to be something that's newsworthy, like I said. And once you found what angle you want to take, in our case lately it was a new product kit that we wanted to announce. Then we went off to step two, which is craft a catchy headline. So you want to create a concise and attention grabbing headline that summarizes the main point of your announcement, and it should be clear and intriguing. Example, what we use is Zumalka announces the first ever perfect kitty bundle to celebrate National Cat Day. So that's just an example. You can come up with your own, of course.
So once you have your catchy headline, you have to write a compelling introduction. In the first paragraph, you want to provide the most important details, especially the location, the date of the press release, et cetera. By the way, there are some templates you can find on the internet that shows you how to structure your press release because yes, there is a specific format you have to respect. So everything I'm telling you, you can probably find online, but here it goes.
All right, next step. You have to provide relevant details. So in a few paragraphs, you should expand on the details of your announcement. It should include quotes from key people involved, the founder, or depending on what you're announcing, of course. You might want to add some statistics, any additional context that supports your news. And ideally you want to put those in bullet points just to make it very easy to read and easy on the eye.
After that, you want to include background information. So if needed, give some background information about your company or the context of your announcement. So what this does is it helps readers understand the bigger picture of what you're announcing. All right, so step number six is to have a company description at the bottom of your press release, also known as the boiler plate. That's what I learned. So you want to include a short paragraph about your company at the end of the press release, which provides basic information about your business. So this will be considered as your boilerplate.
Number seven is contact information. You want to include some contact details in case a media person wants to contact you to have some answers to some questions, or in case they want more information. And this should include your name or whoever the contact person is, a name. You want a phone number and an email address. Like I said, formatting, there is a formatting to respect, but in general, you want to keep your press release clean and easy to read. The formatting has to be very simple and you want to include your logo, your company logo at the top if possible. Yes, it has to be at the top.
All right, so once all of that is done, you've written your press release, you formatted it so that it's very clean and easy to read. You want to distribute it. I think when it comes down to a press release, we've all seen one. We can understand that yes, there is a format to respect. Someone could easily try and copy that and do their own thing, but then how do you actually put it online? That was my biggest question. And there are several ways to distribute your press release.
So you can do it by email, you can send it directly to relevant journalists or media outlets. Second way of distributing your press release is actually through a press release distribution service. That's what we used the first time when we did our first press release. And there are online services that can help you distribute your press release to various media contacts. They have a lot of contacts. So I think it's a very efficient way to do this.
And here's the thing, drum roll. I thought that you always had to pay to do those, but you know what? There are actually free ones. Yes, free press release distribution services, online platforms that you do not need to pay a company for. For example, if you're looking for one, we use EIN Presswire. So they have, I'm just going to repeat that in case EIN, the letters EIN Presswire. So they have paid and free press release distribution services all in one place. So you can choose, but I thought that was great news. I did not know this. So this is really good to know. So you can definitely try that. And of course, another way of doing it is through your own company website. You can post the press release on your website's news page or press section. That way someone can see it and you can maybe attract some media there.
So to wrap this up, there aren't that many secrets. It is actually very simple to do. Once you know how to do it, you can do it yourself as long as it's concise, informative, and focused on what's important to your audience. And that's it. I hope that helped demystify how a press release is done. It definitely did for me. I was so grateful to have someone tell me about this, and that's why I had to share this with you. It was the first time for us to do it on our own. We feel that now we could improve a few more things when we do another one. So that was a great first time for us doing a press release on our own. We now feel much more confident in the next one we'll be doing. We saw some things that we did in the first one that will need to be improved next time we do it. But it was a great first and just the fact that it's actually something you can do on your own and you realize it's not super complicated is wonderful.
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