Landing Local Press: 5 Tips to Get Their Attention

Best Practices

The local press is an effective outlet for businesses to gain exposure, however, approaching the media can be intimidating. Newspapers, local TV, online publications and magazines are all effective marketing tools in the local media. The Pew Research Center discovered there are over 27,600 full-time jobs in local television news alone. Combined with the other local press sources, and there are a plethora of people you can reach out to.

Effective PR in a B2B setting can be hard to come across. Typically B2B publications aren’t mass-marketed in large outlets, but instead are seen in trade publications or even local news. So just how do we get the press to do what we ask? Let’s dive into these 5 tips that will help refine your abilities to pitch stories to the local press.

 

RESEARCH YOUR OUTLET

The targeted outlet needs to be a good fit for your pitch to be effective, so make sure to do your research. Did you know there was a perfect time of day to send an email? Well, there is. When contacting journalists, studies say Tuesday is the best day to send your pitch.

Additionally, let’s say you’re pitching to a writer at the local newspaper, you should ask yourself “why do these readers care about my story?” and “what type of audience am I trying to reach?”. Asking yourself these questions will allow you to emphasize your main points when writing your pitch.

#PRTip: When contacting local press, do your research. Tailor your pitch to that specific outlet! Click To Tweet

How can you do this? Many blogs or media outlets will have their highest ranked stories easily accessible in the sidebar. Dig a little deeper to find a popular article around the subject you’re writing, so you know exactly what kind of article is not only accepted by the outlet but does well for them from a traffic perspective. Take this information even further by noting the writing style. Do their popular writers include stats? Real-life examples? Do they prefer casual narrative or third person? Researching the outlet is about more than just knowing their subject matter.

 

GET READY TO GET PERSONAL

Local media outlets are community oriented and are great for establishing long-term relationships. Learn as much as you can about who you are pitching to. Read their recent articles or publications, and find out what kind of audiences they reach out to. Find a way to connect yourself to the readers to bring that local touch.

Don’t be that person and pitch the media using a bland template, sending it out to a mass of outlets. Journalists receive, on average, 50-100 press releases every week. Try to set yourself apart by including excerpts from previous articles written by your chosen source, showing them you have done your research. Another personal touch while building your relationship is to follow their social media accounts, allowing them see you are keeping up with their work.

Want to really add that personal touch? Once you’ve selected your chosen outlet, find their Twitter (if they have one). Scroll through their tweets and try to find one relating to your story or business. Mention this tweet in your pitch and comment on how you like what they had to say about it.

 

BE HONEST AND TRANSPARENT

Getting personal does not mean sending a novel. Make sure to get straight to the point – do not bury the lead. In fact, 68% of reporters say they just want the facts, and that’s it. The attention span of Americans is approximately 8 seconds, so brevity will prove to be invaluable when pitching to media outlets. Be upfront and honest about what you’re asking for. If you’re worried that the truth may not warrant a response from the selected outlet, then it is likely you are not contacting the right person.

Not sure on how to get all of your information through? Catching the media’s attention is your biggest goal right now. If you have a lot of information that needs to be communicated, put in only the attention grabbing facts. Grab 2-3 facts about your story that you think will relate to the outlet the best and emphasize those.  

68% of reporters say they just want the facts, and that’s it when reading a pitch. Click To Tweet

 

PITCH YOUR STORY, NOT YOUR BUSINESS

While the local press is a great way to gain exposure, pitching your business or your product will not be enough. Frequently businesses and entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking the press is a free advertising source. Having an interesting story that readers want to hear will lead you to success when pitching to your outlet. Pitching stories that are solely self-promotional will not get you any coverage, so make sure to tie in a community aspect that will relate the reader to your story.

Tip: Try asking a related question to get their attention, studies show the chances of getting a response are increased by 50% when asking a question.

How to not seem like you are pitching your business: Make sure to emphasize you are wanting PR for a story. Avoid trying to persuade the press by telling them how great your business is doing. A good way to let them know about your business, without coming off as promotional, is to link a few pieces of recent work that your business has done to give them an idea.

 

BE PATIENT

The reality of PR is that you may send out 20 pitches and only hear back from a few of them, and that is okay. Do not bombard an outlet with a ton of emails and phone calls. If the initial pitch is sent and they have not contacted you back, wait one more week and send them a final email with the closing, “If I do not hear back within 7 days I will kindly take my business elsewhere.” A phone call could be a useful follow-up, however, if it has been 2 weeks and you have heard nothing, it is time to revise your pitch and move on.

Get started: The local press is a great source, allowing businesses to get their stories out to other businesses. Start involving yourself and your business in your community now to get a head start on building those relationships. Local media outlets are always on the lookout for fresh news in the area, so be sure to start putting your business’ name out there.

 

What are your favorite ways to chat up your local reporters and editors? Hit us up in the comments. Are you a local reporter or editor? Tell us what we got wrong (and right!) in the comments!

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