PR Tips: How to Score Local Publicity

Most importantly, you must visualize the story and target the right reporter

Don't forget to research the reporter that you are pitching.

Follow these tips and your business will be in the publication you are targeting in no time. Olu Eletu/Unsplash

When it comes to maximizing your publicity efforts, scoring a national media hit is usually a major goal, but if you have a small business, you may only need hyper-local publicity placements. For example, you may want to go this route if you’re a doctor or owner of a small coffee shop and only want to establish a strong presence in your local community.

Here are ideas about how to get your business in the newspaper:

  • Pitch trends. Are there new trends in the area or is the community undergoing revitalization? Pitch a local business editor an article or segment about the revival. Ask other local businesses to participate and provide sources to interview.
  • Give back. The media loves feel good stories. Raise funds for a local non-profit. At the event, take photos of the actual donation and invite the media to cover the event.
  • Show me the money. Speaking of money, has your company saved by converting to energy-efficient light bulbs or using a technique that is environmentally friendly? A business or environmental editor might be interested in an article or segment.
  • Cook it up. At holiday time, pitch recipes, ideas, and cooking tips or tricks. For example, if you own a small coffee shop, pair the best foods and wine or share ideas on specialized coffees that you can give.
  • Look around. What are other local businesses doing? For example, The Cecil in Harlem recently had an event with Esquire where they hosted a large party with top editors, who were able to taste their food and get to know and understand the restaurant’s concept. It was followed by a brunch with a DJ. Guests took photos and posted them to Instagram with specific hashtags.
  • Pitch an employee. Maybe an employee has achieved something spectacular, so pitch them to the features section for a profile. You could also pitch them for relevant award nominations and submissions.

Here are ideas on how to get your business in regional broadcast media:

  • Visualize the story. Pitching broadcast media is very different than pitching print media. Visuals will make your story stand out. Think about how you can visually bring the story to life for television. Go out of your way to make your story aesthetically appealing to a producer. You can even add some props, such as a stunning table display, if you think it will add to the story.
  • Tie it in. Give the producer a compelling reason to run the story. For example, your pitch has a strong tie-in to a regional calendar event. Ruby Media Group, a leading public relations and social media agency in Westchester, NY and the New York metropolitan area, pitched and secured a story on The Cooking Realtors’ Tomato Sauce. It was the featured package on News 12 Westchester on Saturday at 5 pm. The larger trend was that this was a behind-the-scenes peek into one Westchester resident’s annual tradition that hundreds of Westchester residents participate in all weekend. By mentioning the fact that hundreds of county residents also do this, the appeal of the segment suddenly became a lot larger.
  • Walk the producers through the process. After you’ve secured a segment, walk the producers through it. For example, we stirred the tomatoes and let the producer taste the sauce. We also had b-roll opportunities available to show the entire process from beginning to end to visually walk the viewer through it.
  • Provide sources. Producers like when you have additional sources available. If you are hosting an event, have other attendees or sources available to talk to the press.
  • Don’t forget the 5 W’s.This goes without saying, but if you want Westchester media to show up, be sure to provide them all of the relevant details in one condensed email: who, what, where, when and why. Also, provide correct spellings up front for all town names, resident IDs, and interview names. The address of the location shoot and a phone number of a point of contact are also critical.
  • Graphics. Be sure to capture tons of graphics before, during, and after the event. Many of these graphics can be used to promote the segment on social media (a must!) and to include in a post-event release for extended coverage. If you want to re-pitch the same segment when the event takes place next year, it’s good to have accompanied graphics to help show what the finished product will look like. Get super creative with your graphics by combining screenshots of the press coverage with photos of the displays you created. We recommend using some of our favorite apps to create these pieces: PIP Camera, Photo Mirror, FotoFus, and InstaMag.

Most importantly, get to know your local reporters and what beat they cover. By building a relationship, you will score more media hits because the journalists will remember who you are and include you in their next article or segment.

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a Public Relations and Social Media Agency. Kris Ruby is a frequent on air TV contributor and speaks on social media, tech trends and crisis communications. For more information, visit rubymediagroup.com or www.krisruby.com

PR Tips: How to Score Local Publicity