August 27, 2014
/ by Susan Guillory
I find that as a public relations professional, I have to spend a lot of time educating clients about managing their expectations in terms of generating PR. Sure, we’d all like to get coverage in The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, but for most businesses, it ain’t happening.
In my opinion, it’s better to focus your energies elsewhere rather than reaching for that pie in the sky. Instead, try zeroing in on local publicity.
First of all, it’s more attainable. You’re dealing with a much smaller news market, and there are likely smaller publications or niche magazines you can try pitching. Your company is also more relevant to a local publication. You can slant your story to being a community business doing great things.
Trying to get to know local journalists is much easier, given the opportunity for networking. Find an event they’ll be at or simply invite them out for coffee. No plane trip needed.
And once you’ve made a splash in your local newspaper, blog or magazine, it’s easier to swing to a regional publication and try for PR there. From there, make your way to the big boys. It’s simply a matter of having a strategy to swing from vine to vine.
I’m not suggesting anything crass here, folks. I just mean you need to spend some serious time reading articles written by someone who’s a good fit for your story. Read the newspaper online so you can comment on his stories. Connect to him on LinkedIn. “Accidentally” bump into him at a networking event. Just find ways to get on this guy’s radar before you need anything.
When you introduce yourself, let him know in a non-forceful way that you’d love to be a resource for him if he writes an article on your industry. Journalists often look for experts in a given niche to quote or get insights from, so make sure you’re on top of his mind when he needs one.
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The more you can tie your news into your community, the more likely your story is to get picked up. For example, donating part of your profit to a local charity is an instantly attractive story, or participating with a community event. Find ways to link to what’s going on around you.
Once you move into pitching larger publications, such as those for your region of the state, or the state as a whole, reference the publicity you’ve already gotten. This shows bigger and busier reporters that your story is one of interest, and that you’re moving and shaking.
Don’t give up on your goal of getting major national press. Just create a plan for how you’ll get there, beginning with local PR.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, where she helps her clients realize the benefits of social media, content marketing and blogging. Read more of Susan’s articles here!
Image: kristy, Randalfino, Aidan Jones, Graham Lavender, Ilya (Creative Commons)
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