Why Have We Forgotten Local PR?

November 11, 2015 Matt Allison: Founder, Chief Strategy Officer

local public relationsIn our increasingly shrinking and connected world, does geography even matter anymore? We’d argue that, when it comes to public relations, it does. Lately it seems that many brands are focusing all of their PR efforts on national publications and large social networks, while ignoring local media. This is a huge missed opportunity.

Why Local Still Matters

Every brand would love to be featured in the Wall Street Journal or make Oprah’s list of favorite things, but for most, it just ain’t going to happen. While it’s worth thinking and pitching big, it should not come at the cost of efforts to get coverage in the much more attainable local market. The competition for attention and space increases with each publication tier. Your chances of a pickup are much better close to home.

Local coverage can also be a stepping stone to media that reaches a larger audience. Existing coverage of your brand or products lends credibility to your pitches and might catch the attention of a national publication.

How to Get Local Coverage

Network: The great thing about local journalists is that they are local. There are many opportunities to attend events where you can interact with the local press. There’s also nothing wrong with a lunch invite from time to time.

Engage: Consider joining local organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce to increase your visibility in the community. Participation in these types of groups can result in opportunities to speak at events that will get local coverage.

Position: Your pitches to local press should include a local angle. How is your organization benefiting the community, providing jobs or servicing nearby clients? Local customers that reporters can interview are an extremely valuable asset.

Serve: There are fund raising and other charitable organizations in your community, many of which are supported and covered by publications in your market. Getting your team involved with them is a great way to earn potential coverage and give back at the same time.

Research: Be sure that you understand the types of stories that each local outlet and reporter likes to cover. Craft pitches that precisely match their sweet spot and, when appropriate, refer back to their past work.

Monitor: Pay attention to what’s going on in your area. When a story breaks, think about how you might add to the conversation, provide a different point of view, or offer insightful background.

Getting earned media is important for PR pros, but it isn’t easy. The solution to this difficult challenge might be right in your own back yard.

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