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How to Zero-In on Hyperlocal PR

iStock_000005336321MediumThis guest post is by Lynn Schwartz, president and co-founder of Newsmaker Group.  She can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The way consumers navigate their local marketplace has undergone a significant transformation.  We no longer turn page-after-page of the Yellow Pages to search for a dry-cleaner, moving company or landscaper.  Community magazines and newspapers are no longer the go-to resource for businesses purchasing inexpensive and reliable advertising.  And perhaps most impactful of all, consumers can voice their opinion via social media and essentially make or break a neighborhood business.  To adjust, companies of all sizes must adopt hyperlocal PR techniques.

This isn’t a bad thing.  Hyperlocal PR presents new opportunities to market products, build brands, and establish community within geo-targeted audiences, as Cision Blog has pointed out.  In fact, hyperlocal PR can have as much – or more – impact than national PR.  For example, we have implemented PR campaigns for clients securing media coverage in one of America’s most popular daily newspapers as well as Patch. Guess what?  Patch garnered more consumer attention and results than the daily!

Hyperlocal media also has opened the door for small, very local businesses to benefit from PR.  Traditionally there weren’t enough viable communication vehicles to repeatedly reach a very local audience.  Today, opportunities abound beyond the one-town daily and weekly, as communities turn to the likes of Patch, DNAinfo, TribLocal and Universal Hub multiple times a day for news.  Local businesses also can utilize location-specific bloggers, who cover every possible subject area, including social media platforms and local directories such as, Yelp, Yellow Pages (the digital version!) and Manta.

The added bonus?  As local ambassadors post positive comments and images about your business – which are far more credible than any ad – you also can improve organic search results.

Creating a hyperlocal PR campaign
So how do you go about executing an effective hyperlocal PR campaign?  The following are six tips for success:

1. It’s NOT a numbers game Reaching 200 people can often provide more benefit than reaching 2,000. The goal is to deliver your message to the right audience vs. a larger, irrelevant one.  Do not underestimate the influence of highly focused outlets with a small reach.

2. Engage with local influencers Start with existing fans and followers on social networks.  Ask them questions or invite them to post pictures of themselves at the store or using the products.  Next, look to the reporters and editors of local print media, community-focused bloggers, and even consumers who comment frequently on social media.  Watch what they are up to and comment with remarks that demonstrate the value of the products and services, as well as community leadership.  Check out free tools like Klout to help assess people in your networks, or try paid services like Cision’s media database.

3. Local storytelling – Humanize how the customer relates to you and your business.  In your social media posts and story pitches to local media and bloggers, spotlight stories about employees, families, special community projects and events.  And if you can’t think of good angles, create them through a program with a local charity or school, or an event on an occasion such as Earth Day.

4. Churn content – Like all media, hyper-local outlets have an insatiable appetite for fresh, interesting, exclusive content – but they often lack the manpower to report, write or produce.  That’s where PR comes in.   With the right angle developed into an article, video, infographic and/or photo journal, PR pros and their clients can easily score hyper-local news coverage that will inform potential customers and circulate on social media.

5. Map it – Consumers are strapped for time, so when they find a reliable vendor in their area they are likely to support – and promote – that business.  Geo-targeted and mapping apps like Foursquare and Google Maps let consumers engage in highly-specific neighborhoods.  Use tools to “pin” your story to an exact location and make it easy for customers to stop-on-by.

6. Build community in the community – According to a Pew Research study, 20 percent of adults use digital tools to keep up with local goings-on, such as events, breaking news, weather and traffic.  As more and more people rely on hyper-local news websites, geo-specific tweeting and community-focused social networks, there are greater incentives to get involved in the community.  Be a part of the conversations about your area by posting to Twitter and websites’ commenting sections.  And on your Facebook page, occasionally share news about local community groups and schools.  Be a “town” resource.

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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