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Why Local PR Beats National PR…and 4 Tips for Getting It

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.

Local PR - Tips

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.

Why local rocks

Local PR Rocks

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.

Tip 1: Get intimate with local reporters

Local PR - engage reporters

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.

Tip 2: Offer your expertise

Expert - Become Thought Leader

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.

Want reporters to notice your pitch? Get the free “Pitch Perfect: The Ultimate Guide to Securing Free Publicity” white paper now!

Tip 3: Find the local angle

Protractor - Local Angle

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.

Tip 4: Leverage local PR for greater exposure

Amplify - Press Release Secrets

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 LavenderIlya (Creative Commons)

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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