7 tips for getting local press coverage

It takes a little effort to generate local media coverage for your business, but Lindsay Complin of redyellowblue sets out her tips to improve your chances of success.

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26th November 2009 at 8:10 am

Not only is editorial coverage free, but it is much more likely to be read than adverts, so for these two reasons alone, you should try to generate some press coverage for your business.

1.  Know the name of the journalist.

Each newspaper will allocate a specific area for a particular journalist to cover.  Addressing your news to the right person means it is less likely to get lost.  It also gives you the chance to build up a relationship with the journalist over time as you send out more news.

2.  Know your deadlines

Newspapers are divided into key sections: features, news, sports.  Find out which days of the week they do the main news pages so you can send them your information on the right day.  Crucially, make sure you know the day they go to press and never call or send them details on that day as the journalists will be really busy finishing the paper and will not respond.

3.  Make sure you are in the catchment area

Newspapers will only cover news from businesses which are within their circulation area, even if the goods or services you provide can be enjoyed by their readers (they have to draw the line somewhere).  So make sure you know every publication which covers the town in which you are based and don’t waste your time sending details to any others.

4.  Include a photograph with a person in it

Always include a photo if you can as you will increase the chances of your story being picked for publication – as long as it is a good photo of course.  Include people but make sure the shot is tight in eg it is just of the subject’s head and shoulders.  If there is a product to be photographed get them to pick it up or crouch down alongside it.  It might feel contrived but the photo will look better.

5.  Get the important details down straight away

Make sure the first paragraph  includes the crucial details so the journalist (who will have about 20 releases a day to read) can understand what the press release is about straight away.  Include where, so they know it is within their area, names, dates and a brief outline of what the story is about.  Leave the quotes and the superlatives for the remaining ten paragraphs.

6.  Don’t forget the contact details

It is unlikely that the journalist will use your press release verbatim and they may need to contact you to clarify details so make sure at the end of the release you include a name, telephone number and email address.  Don’t just ask them to refer to a website.

7.  Buy It

Having been a journalist myself, there is nothing more infuriating than being chased by someone wanting to know if their release went into the paper.  If you have sent a release for consideration, checked that the journalist has received it, then go and buy the paper yourself to see if it has been included.  If it isn’t in, then there is nothing wrong with checking with the journalist to see if it might go in next week.

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Lindsay Complin

Lindsay Complin runs redyellowblue which helps small and medium businesses do their own PR and marketing successfully. We show businesses how to develop a strong strategy through analysing the business, its customers and competitors and identifing positioning and messaging. We then recommend a realistic activity programme and achievable timing plan to ensure the company achieves its PR and marketing goals. For regular advice and inspiration go to our Blog: http://redyellowblue-prmarketing.blogspot.com/ http://www.redyellowblue.biz

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