In this six part series we will share some practical strategies that anyone - be it a small business, startup, non-profit, established company or just the individual looking to promote themself - can utilize to get the word out on a local level.
In part five, we’re coming to you live!
Okay, maybe not literally but we’re suckers for a good bit of alliteration. What we are talking about is the media. Like it or not, media outlets still carry great influence — especially on a local level. Vast populations of people, particularly among specific demographics, still turn to regional newscasters, radio hosts and journalists to curate and disseminate the goings on in their community. Earning some coverage from these entities can certainly help in your outreach efforts.
While we would rank this as the least important tactic in your overall strategic approach, there is an undeniable value in media exposure. It helps to legitimize your endeavor within a community and can act as an important introduction with the backing of respected voices.
In your case, the notion of “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is definitely not true. No coverage is infinitely better than bad coverage when you are marketing on a local level. A poor impression can metastasize quickly within smaller communities and can be near impossible to course correct. On the flip side, start off on the right foot and you can carry that to great success.
There are three types of media to consider:
Print media may indeed be dying, but it isn’t dead yet. Despite pubs shuttering left and right, practically every city and town in America still has either a local/regional newspaper or magazine. Here in the UV, Valley News and Image Magazine remain fixtures and each maintain a dedicated readership.
Between your local tv affiliates and spectrum of AM/FM radio stations, there are avenues aplenty to get on the airwaves. Especially on drive-time radio where you have a captive audience. They’re listening, say something!
It’s strange to think of blogs, websites, podcasts and vloggers as media but for all intents and purposes they are. Treat them as such. They are often the trendsetters and the tastemakers for their given area of interest. A favorable mention by them can mobilize their audience in your direction.
Now that you know the lay of the land, how do you actually land some coverage on these outlets? You can…
- Go big and throw an event, inviting any and all media to attend. Sufficiently wow them and you can expect some glowing coverage.
- Have a positive impact on the community by taking an active part in a local cause or directly addressing an issue of local importance. Starting a b&m business? Take the opportunity to renovate a space with heritage that has fallen in disrepair. Offering a service? Provide it for free or at a discount to people that need it but can ill afford it. There are many ways to do good that will do you good. Be sure to reach out to the media and let them know what you are doing and the story behind it.
- Do it the old fashioned way and reach out to station bookers, editors and online outlets. Pitch them on what you are doing and convince them that it is worth covering. Make it as relevant to their audience as possible to increase the odds that they will run something. Be savvy about their editorial calendars and find pockets of opportunity where you can be featured.
- If you have a creative, attention grabbing marketing tactic be sure to tip off the media beforehand. They may find it interesting enough to cover which will help to amplify it.
- Go to where the media already is and either get their attention or gain some contacts.
This most important thing to remember is that landing any kind of media coverage is a process and can take quite a bit of effort and time. Keep working any and all angles you can to grab their attention.