Have you ever thought:
"I want to go big."
"I want to play a bigger game."
"I want more national visibility and exposure."
Sure ya have. We ALL have.
But sometimes when we put all of our focus on getting bigger and bigger, we forget to sprinkle some love right in our own backyard.
That's right. I'm talkin 'about dominating your hometown.
What's extra superdelic about going after local press is their willingness to treat you like a star. In a national magazine, you might be lucky to get one line of ink on page 112. But your local paper may offer you a full page feature smack dab on the cover. The local media loves featuring local people with great stories.
This is also a great strategy for experts that want to eventually land national TV appearances. You can build up a series of clips as a regular guest on your local morning show and eventually have a professional video editor piece them together into what's called a demo reel. Think of it as a video portfolio to show national TV producers what an amazing guest you are. National TV show producers want to see you on TV interacting with a host or reporter and sharing your information in short and sweet sound bites. The only way to get this experience is to get some local TV appearances under your belt.
So how do you make this all happen?
1. Get copies of all your local newspapers and magazines and make time to listen to your local talk radio shows and watch the morning news programs. If you loathe your local news, get over it. This is all about publicity baby!
2. Make a list of all the places that would be appropriate to cover your business (example: you might be able to pitch your business story to the local business journal and the business section of your newspaper, and then you might spin a lifestyle angle for your local magazine or morning news program.)
3. Find contacts for each of the outlets you've researched. For TV and Radio, call the station and ask to be transferred to the producer for the specific show that you want to guest on. For newspapers and magazines, look for the editor or appropriate section editor contact information.
4. Come up with at least one pitch idea for each local outlet you choose. Make sure it's appropriate for the outlet you're pitching (example: local newspapers like covering interesting entrepreneurial stories where TV looks for visual stories, usually with some sort of demonstration – like a fashion show or cooking segment).
5. Contact each of the folks on your local list with your idea (via email or phone). Make sure to make your first sentence an introduction – "Hi, I'm Judy Smith with Bella Boutique right on 7th Street." I have a story idea for you … "
6. ALWAYS follow up about a week after you've delivered your first pitch.
7. For any outlets that are interested, take pride in your interview or story and treat it just like you would any national placement. Promote it out via social media, post it on your website, tell all your family and friends, and – most importantly – thank the media and ask them if you can send them regular story ideas for future coverage (they'll love you for it !)
8. For any outlets that are not interested, shimmy up some new pitch ideas for the next month and repeat the same process of pitch + follow up. This allows you to stay on their radar with good story ideas, rather than nudge them unnecessarily.