4 Tips For Getting Your Story On The Local News

Building your brand via local media coverage and news websites can provide substantial benefits for your business – online and off.

Google and other search engines place great value on external brand mentions and links by sources they perceive as trustworthy.

This PR exposure in news and media outlets active in your local communities offers access to new audiences and fuels your sales growth potential, too.

Understanding how to get a story on local news sites relevant to your business can give you a competitive advantage over your local competition.

Use these four proven tips packed with the actionable tactics you’ll use to connect with and get featured in local media, building valuable links, visibility, and new business in the process.

1. Lay The Groundwork

The biggest mistake companies make in getting stories placed on local news sites is believing it is a tactic you can switch on or off at will.

Ultimately, as with most trust, authority, and backlink/PR building, it requires ongoing focus and prioritization within your marketing mix to generate repeat placement and related metric-based wins for the business.

There are many ways to approach this. Below is a useful framework you can adapt and refine as you progress:

  • Identify the main local news sites and related media outlets specific to your target area.
  • Reach out to them on social media channels (follow them and build a rapport).
  • Create automated social listening triggers to alert you when these external news sites are looking for stories (often one of the largest challenges for local news sites is getting enough regular, fresh content to cater to their readership needs).
  • Increase your visibility within your local community (specific tactics shared later in this post to assist here).
  • Find relevant individual contacts for content creation, new stories, and broader editing of the newspaper.
  • Create unique content that has standalone value and a purpose relevant to the publication’s audience.
  • Reach out to the contacts you have sourced in a professional, friendly, and non-spammy, or templated way.
  • Set recurring actions to follow up on emails (using more than just email to contact people).
  • Set recurring actions to expand your distribution list.
  • Add relevant tools to your arsenal to reach broader media sites (there are many database/CRM/media publication tools and software to consider).
  • Check the success of placed articles and promote them on social media and other business channels (direct marketing, newsletters, company website, etc.).
  • Remember to keep the relationship going with ongoing check-ins and related shares of newsworthy content.

2. Build Your Brand Within The Local Community

There are many ways to increase brand exposure in credible and value-based ways within your local niches.

When you have physical offices/outlets/premises within various locations, you already have a great foundation in place and an advantage over competitors not present within the specific locations in question.

There are fundamental local community tactics to explore such as:

  • Supporting local charities with company events.
  • Running competitions and promoting these throughout your business channels.
  • Answering location-orientated questions and answers on social media, niche forums, and our website.
  • Showcase your experts by being frequently present on industry and location forums.
  • Be part of local business forums, chambers of commerce, and related networking areas.
  • Build into your website location/community hub(s) of value – using your data and unique understanding of your audience to provide ongoing value.
  • Promote credible PR to all relevant areas.
  • Actively comment on local news sites.
  • Run customer days or other events that enable your local audience to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Work with local influencers to combine audiences and reach new people.

The above will get you moving and over time, you may find many other useful tactics to apply.

3. Have Something Useful To Say

For local news sites, this is imperative.

You have many unique opinions and interesting stories to share within your company.

The following approach is an example I used directly to combine personal success with company brand building in the local news.

In this case, the newsworthy story began with wanting to help local businesses succeed and boost their sales online and targetting Portsmouth News, one of the largest local news sites in our region.

You can see a snippet of the post below:

Image from Portsmouth News, April 2016

Next, I continued the relationship with the publication and had a series of news stories posted.

In this case, the approach taken was continuing the story between helping small businesses online and a new book being published:

Image from Portsmouth News, December 2018

You can then leverage your staff/experts’ personal profile and brand alongside your organization to target regional and national brand building and PR.

This is best achieved by growing the business’s brand and experts on key topic areas and maintaining and growing the variation and volume of relationships established over time.

In this case, I’m providing commentary on digital personalization on the national news site of the Times Raconteur.

The previous examples demonstrate how you can begin with a meaningful story, continue the story into a series of placement opportunities, and over time, leverage previous success for larger news site wins.

Exploring Other Mediums

The online world is becoming decreasingly text-based in their content digestion preferences.

On the move and easy-to-digest content, forms have continued to grow in terms of user preference and digital impact online.

Your local community and local news sites love to promote business updates and PR when they do something different and have interesting and engaging things to say.

You could take a stance to simplify complex business topics with video series and other content types such as infographics and promote this company’s mission along with its ongoing content created to local news sites for repeat brand growth.

Creating an “access our experts” monthly podcast could be a great way to share a monthly story with your local news sites and gain ongoing access to the business and community pages they are often looking to fill.

In Conclusion

There are many ways to become active and present within your local community and get your company stories repeatedly placed in local news outlets.

Targeting local news entities as part of your “always on” marketing approach, using the framework suggested in this post, using my tried and tested techniques can get you started.

You can leverage local news stories to target regional and national press.

And finally, don’t forget to be creative with the mediums you use to grow your local brand and get your stories frequently placed on local new platforms.

The more you stand out from the competition in credible ways, the easier it is for brand building and story placement.

More resources:

Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock