Most consumer brands covet national media exposure. But does your PR plan include strategies and tactics to reach local outlets? Alongside the obvious benefits of increasing brand awareness and loyalty, garnering local coverage offers other advantages. (Click here to request a special PRWeek discount.)
Effectively using local channels can help establish more trusted connections with your target audience. And local media outlets reach a huge aggregate audience nationally, and frequently are less cluttered than national media with messages from your competition.
Harness Best Practices
Know Your Target Audience: Whether by region, demographics, or both, make sure your messaging is aligned with your target audience’s needs. Only when you understand their needs, can you develop a communications program that captures their attention.
Deliver Value: Focus on delivering information that improves your audience’s lives. Think of your organization as industry expert. After all, who knows more about products and services than those producing them? Leveraging this expertise to deliver tips or other information of value goes far in establishing trust and loyalty.
Don’t Be Overly Promotional: Companies need to sell their wares. Be careful you’re not focusing more on selling than delivering value to target audiences. Being overly promotional negatively impacts local coverage results and can jeopardize brand loyalty. Stay true to your organization’s mission and the benefits you offer customers.
Set Measurable Goals: What do you want your local strategy to accomplish? Do you want to raise awareness in target markets where your products are most available? Are there certain product attributes you want a particular demographic to understand?
Targeting & Distribution Tactics
Be Selective: It’s not always feasible to target the entire country with a local media program. You can be selective, based on the preponderance of where your target customers are located. For example, your PR team (even if a team of 1!) could target the top outlets in your top 10 markets. Be sure to consider audience demographics when targeting, and research regional issues to customize your pitch.
Prioritize Key Publications: Consider pitching outlets in the same hometown as your brand or in the town from which your CEO hails, for a hometown hero angle. Prioritize markets in which a product may be launching first or which may be especially receptive.
Be Special: Local newspapers aren’t just geographic. There are over 1,000 special interest publications in towns nationwide, focusing on such topics as health, home and garden, parenting, women, senior living, shopping and more. Often published by local community newspapers, these make valuable targets.
Editorial Placement Services (a.k.a. Mat Releases): An extremely cost-effective way to secure lots of local media coverage nationwide, easily and quickly, is through a feature placement or mat release service like StatePoint Media. We work with hundreds of consumer brands and non-profits to highlight them in “news readers can use” content we develop, distribute and track to more than 15,000 local media outlets that have registered for our service. A single StatePoint story receives 1,100 – 1,200+ local media placements and an audience reach of about 150 million. And you can also add local radio production and distribution.
Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) or Web Video Tours – Another attractive option is a satellite media tour or web video tour. Similar to a mat release, it targets local TV stations on-air. You pitch a story angle, and from a broadcast studio or on-location (or even from home), your spokesperson appears in pre-booked interviews with stations nationwide. Like a mat release, it’s easy to conduct, generates coverage quickly, and you control the message.
Building brand awareness isn’t easy, with many messages competing for national consumer attention. Don’t leave all those valuable local placements untapped by your brand.