IF YOUR TARGET audience is primarily local then getting coverage in your local newspapers and magazines, and regional TV and radio stations like Wessex FM will help you to build influence, authority and awareness. That, in turn, will help you to attract more leads for your business.
As well as knowing your objective, you need to know who you want to reach. For that reason, you need to find out what your target audience reads, watches and listens to as well as where they spend time online (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, forums, etc.).
If you don’t target the publications your audience watches, reads or listens to you won’t get the responses you hope for. So rather than ‘Get more leads’, think of your typical client (for example, working mums aged between 30 and 40) and hone in on the publications they read.
One way to find out what your target audience watches, reads and listens to is to ask. You can do that by creating an online survey or questionnaire using a tool like SurveyMonkey.
Once you’ve discovered the publications, study them carefully to work out what type of content gets used.
Most journalists are inundated with press releases and emails pitching story ideas, but they ignore most of them. That’s because they know that the story idea or press release won’t be of interest to their readers, listeners or viewers.
You can increase the likelihood of your press release or story idea being accepted by researching to discover what kind of stories the publication or programme has covered over the past few months.
At the same time, get the contact details for journalists and editors and find out about their lead times (the period of time between an editor or producer commissioning an article and it being published or broadcast).
Send an email pitch or press release
Local media outlets tend to be very short-staffed and therefore more likely to use a press release verbatim. But it must be well-written and include all the relevant facts and details for that to happen.
If you don’t have the skills to write a press release, hire a freelance journalist to do it for you.
But if you’re trying to get a story used by an industry publication, a few paragraphs in an email will be probably just as effective as a press release.
You could also try pitching your story idea over the phone but don’t call when the media outlet is likely to be busy such as at deadline time.
If you haven’t had a response within a few days, contact the journalist again. Just don’t do it so often that you become a nuisance.
Don’t wait for journalists to get in contact with you. It might never happen. Instead, be proactive and get in contact with them and offer to help with background information and quotes.
Comment on stories and blog posts
When reporters blog or write stories that are relevant to your business and your customers, add a comment or provide additional information at the end.
If you write your own blog, write a post about a story that’s appeared in your local media outlet and link to it with the name of the journalist and the publication.
Introduce yourself by email
Send a short, friendly email saying who you are and what you do and how you’re available if he or she needs background information or quotes on your area of expertise. You can suggest the sorts of stories you can comment on. Provide your contact information including your landline, mobile, your email and instant messaging addresses and your blog or website URL.
In your email, give full contact information, including phone numbers (work and mobile), your email, and IM addresses. If you have them, also include your blog or website URL and Twitter ID.
Follow local reporters on social media
Find reporters who work in local newspapers, radio stations, and TV on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook) and follow them. Start building a relationship with them.
Be conscious of what you want to say
Think carefully about what you want to say before you speak with journalists.