As some of you may know, I started my career in journalism working on a local newspaper. It was called the Watford Observer, and I wrote about everything from village fetes to crime (yes, I sat in court and took notes in shorthand!) to local council issues and visits to the area by celebrities and MPs. I even interviewed then Prime Minister Tony Blair on a train from Euston to Watford Junction…
It was brilliant training, I learnt loads and it enabled me to go on to bigger and better things. But local journalism still holds a special place in my heart, and although it might not seem as glamorous or exciting as featuring in a national magazine or newspaper, being featured in the local press can still have a big impact on your business.
I have one former client who signed up TEN new clients on the back of one article in her local paper and I have another client who doubled her book sales after appearing in the her local paper. Another was able to put her prices up and gained new opportunities, and it all started with a local news piece.
So yeah, don’t overlook local press! Even if you don’t have a ‘local’ business, it can still help you to make new sales, and can lead to other opportunities. One of my clients was invited on to BBC radio after her story was published in the local paper, and it was then picked up by some national newspapers. Another client had a story featured locally that led to her being featured in Italian Vanity Fair as well as Germany’s largest women’s magazine!
But how do you get featured in the local press? Take a look at these tips…
How To Get Local Press For Your Business
1. Work out a local angle
Local publications will need to see what the local link is before they publish anything. So make it explicit in your pitch or press release that you live locally, or that your business is based locally
2. Write a pitch or press release
Create a press release or pitch to tell the local paper why they should write about your business. Tell them your news – the launch of a new business, the fact you’ve been nominated for an award, work you’re doing in the local community, etc. Try and make it timely and relevant to them.
3. Contact the journalist for your ‘patch’
Local journalists tend to cover different ‘patches’ so find the one who covers the specific area that you/your business is based in. You’ll find this information in the publication, or on their website.
4. Follow up
I know I always go on about this, but sometimes journalists are busy and you may not hear back immediately. So give it a few days, and then follow up to check if they’re interested.
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