December 04, 2019
Local marketing initiatives attract local media interviews
by Maureen McCabe
Local media is one of the best ways to get free positive publicity about your business. Not only is the cost of this marketing strategy ideal, but you will also increase your authority level with prospective clients and other media outlets. The trick to gaining media coverage is to make yourself known. But how do you do it?
Local media: more than major newspapers
Every province or major city has its main newspaper. In Toronto, we have The Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, and the national newspaper, the Globe and Mail. While these are great media outlets, don’t forget about the small newspapers in your town and the surrounding areas. Consider trade or specialty publications that people in your target area receives.
For instance, if you have a driving service, a periodical distributed to senior citizens may be interested in interviewing you. Similarly, don’t forget online publications. Some communities have newsletters or newspapers that only get published online.
Other media targets that may be interested in interviewing you include local television news stations and news radio stations.
Be SEO savvy
If a reporter doesn’t have an expert source to turn to for an interview, he may use the Internet to find one. Use this to your advantage by making sure your website appears on the first page of search engine results.
Optimize your website using popular keywords, meta tags, relevant images and unique content. As you know, the higher your website ranks, the more likely you’ll be found by a reporter.
You’re more likely to be interviewed if you have an established presence on social media, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Building a social media presence takes time from posting regularly to responding to comments. Use your social media accounts to establish credibility and to connect with reporters and local media sources.
Tips for connecting with local reporters:
- Follow their social media profiles and share or like one of their comments.
- Write a comment on a journalist’s article, such as Twitter. TIP: If they have a personal LinkedIn profile, you must be connected to them to share or post a comment. You can comment on the LinkedIn Company page.
- Comment on articles published online.
- Go to the chamber of commerce and public events and introduce yourself to the reporters present. Don’t forget to hand out your business card.
- If a reporter specializes in writing about your industry, comment on her/his social media posts such as Twitter and LinkedIn. You can invite them for coffee and ask questions about their experiences.
- Mention a reporter’s story in one of your blog posts and send the reporter a link to the post.
- Meet and talk to reporters at the city council or committee meetings.
- Offer helpful comments via email or by phone to radio hosts.
Be helpful and a thought leader
Most reporters will not interview you the first time you meet. They must trust your expertise and find the information that you offer valuable. Nurture your relationship with a reporter by:
- Always say, “Yes,” to an interview. If you’re not available in person, do it by phone interview.
- Make yourself available as an expert source.
- Give referrals to other experts, you know.
- Share news stories or blog posts that you think may interest the reporter.
- Offer story suggestions or follow-up ideas on stories, even if they do not affect your industry.
- Ask a local newspaper if you could write a guest column.
- Pitch story ideas about solving consumer problems, not your business. For example, if you’re a plumber, you may pitch a story idea about frozen pipe prevention during the winter.
- Invite reporters to events you host.
Local media interviews are a prime way to stand out from the competition. By reaching out and building relationships with reporters and other media influencers, you can use your knowledge and expertise to demonstrate the value of your professional services.
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