15 Tips To Get Coverage In Your Local Media
The secret to getting media attention - accept for paying them - is doing something newsworthy. Organic coverage tops paid media every time.
It’s a two-way street. Like you need coverage, media outlets need content – that gets them clicks. It all comes down to an eye-popping story, pitched with grace.
15 Tips to Get Local Media Coverage
1. Have a Newsworthy Company Story
An editorial or writing professionally in PR receives 3,167 emails each month on average, as per Harvard Business Review. Why would they open yours?
Writers from popular publications block your email if you continuously pitch uninteresting ideas. Having a Solid Company Story promotes your cause. Take a look at this example:
How to Develop a Newsworthy Brand Story?
- Add Personal Touch: Attach a personal story with your startup success story. It adds a face to your brand and gives context to an otherwise recurrent story.
- Relate Your Purpose with a Cause: Show them why you exist in the market. Go beyond, “I started this business because …”, and define your value in the market. Outline a problem in the market and paint the solution. Audiences relate more when you make it about them.
- Share Full Story: Your brand story must have a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is the problem, the middle is the solution, and the end is the success. This framework keeps the audience hooked till the end.
2. Provide Visual Aid with Your Story
Visual Aid is crucial when pitching your story. It helps editors attach a face to your brand and serves as proof for your claims.
Visuals can be infographics, videos, or gifs to enhance the credibility of your story. Providing first-hand visuals allows writers to begin immediately as they already have everything they need.
Here’s an example of a cosmetic company using the image of a beauty vlogging influencer.
Tips to Providing Visual Aid:
- Keep Everything in One Place: Share static assets so that it’s easier for the editors to find everything in one place. Avoid too many links.
- Avoid Unnecessary Images: You might have a collection of images, but editors don’t need them all. Share only relevant ones that add value to the content.
- Size: See if the publication has maximum and minimum image size policies. Editors are swamped with work and won’t go the extra mile to resize the image or video.
3. Set Clear Goals
Your goals must be measurable and contain a definitive timeline. Set measurable goals that you can review at regular intervals. Tweak them based on your performance and drawbacks.
For example, Coinbase’s PR team decided to show their Media outreach is a tiresome task. You’re bound to get distracted without an action plan.
You can use excel to keep a tab of desired publications and their employees to create an outreach strategy.
Examples of Well-Crafted Goals
- Unclear Goal: “I want my brand to become famous.”
The best example of this is the PR stunt of Coinbase at the Superbowl event.
Measurable Goal: “I will pitch eight well-known publications this month.”
- Unclear Goal: “I want top business sites to publish my brand story.”
Measurable Goal: “I want New York Times to publish my brand story.”
4. Network Before Pitching
Always begin with an introduction, as pitching directly to the editors won’t get you much attention. 64% of writers prefer pitches from personal connections.
Connect with companies that publications have collaborated with and ask them to introduce you to the publication. Network with local journalists face-to-face to increase the chances for pitch approval.
How to Network?
- Choose the Right Channel: Networking on social media is easy to know where you target people to hang out. LinkedIn is the top choice for writers and editors, followed by Twitter.
Here’s a sample screenshot of how you can filter the right people to connect with.
- Join Communities: Niche-specific communities are hubs for writers and editors to share what’s new. Join communities that match your business needs and build relationships.
- Engage in Blog Posts: While pitching prolific writers, take some time to engage with their blog posts. It gives you an upper hand when you send a formal pitch.
5. Draft an Irresistible Pitch
The data from Buzzstream’s recent webinar with 500 writers and editors is surprising. 81% of them preferred emails over other social media platforms.
The reason is that the pitches on social media platforms are often spammy and lack common interest. Cold emailing with a follow-up strategy works best.
Tips to craft an irresistible pitch:
- Create a Crisp Subject Line: As per Fractal’s survey, 66% of editors agree that the subject line is the most crucial element of your pitch that brings your email in front of the queue.
- Select Relevant Contact: A publication has different emails for information, jobs, and clients. Make sure you choose the right one to pitch.
- Avoid Being Self Promotional: Being too self-professional in your pitches gets you nothing. 56% of editors decide to decline these.
6. Create a Follow-Up Strategy
Restraint towards following up is natural as there’s a risk of sounding pushy. But you can’t skip it. Editors have around 200 emails at all times.
Hence, most companies use automated follow-up (as shown in the image) emails to reduce time and not miss any prospects.
A follow-up message reminds them that you deserve attention. Use a CRM like HubSpot CRM to automate your follow-up strategy and manage customer relationships.
Create a Follow-Up Strategy:
- Consider Multichannel Approach: After two emails, it’s better to change or add a new channel. Use Twitter or LinkedIn DMs to connect with an editor and make them aware of your pitch. The following survey by Buzzsream shows why you need to connect with them.
- Be Creative: Don’t send the same email content in each follow-up. Add new, relevant links that build interest with each email. Use Loom videos to attach a face to your emails.
- Stop When it’s Enough: You can’t keep sending emails when there’s complete silence. Take the hint and start approaching another publication or channel.
7. Make a Deal
Neil Patel says that he got free PR from TechCrunch by doing free marketing. He’s an adamant preacher of making a deal rather than asking for stuff. See what your business can do with that agency or its employees.
How to Make a Deal?
- Send Free Stuff: Everybody likes free goodies. Send your product to a publication or TV outlet for them to try. Remember to check their policy, and some outlets forbid this practice. Or make an offer that they’ll receive a commission for each referral from their publication.
- Become a HARO Source: Sharing relevant responses in HARO places you in front of many journalists looking for quotes and data. (More about this in point 15)
- Share New Information: Rather than pitching your business story, pitch how a notable person used your product or how you linked with a non-profit and helped the local community. Aim to pitch a story that would garner interest and clicks from locals.
8. Try PR Tools
MS-Excel is not the only PR tool there is. Modern PR Tech constitutes media relation tools, outreach tools, press release distribution, and online newsroom software.
PR tools can be generic or specific to a purpose like outreach, media relations, and monitoring. Choose tools that fit your needs and sit well with your PR team.
All-in-one PR Tools
- Prowly: Prowly stores all your company information in one place so that it’s accessible for the media. You conduct multiple online newsrooms and share access for seamless collaborative work. Look at the screenshot below showing how to manage PR contacts based on your PR story.
- Muck Rack: Muck Rack lets you build and share up-to-date lists of prolific journalists. It sends alerts whenever a journalist mentions your company in their tweets or blogs, so you stay on top of PR information.
- Cision: Cision provides data of multiple influencers and journalists in your niche. It allows a streamlined outreach and lets you build connections without spreadsheets.
Read: Step-by-Step Process to Do PR Outreach for Local Businesses
9. Reach Out to Local Freelance Reporters
It’s better to target Freelance Reports than outlets as a single reporter can get you opportunities from various channels. Freelance Reporters are highly enthusiastic about getting their work published, increasing your chances.
Make sure you research the persons you’re reaching out to cover your story. Here’s an example that you ought to avoid.
How to Find Freelance Reports for Your Brand?
- Choose Niched Freelancers: Niched Freelancers are experts in specific niches and have relevant connections. They know editors from popular magazines or sites and can get your work published in them.
- Join Freelancing Communities: Freelancing communities - paid or free - are lathered with writing and guest posting opportunities. Join these communities to get the latest information about publications’ requirements.
- Search Google for Prolific Writers: Prolific writers often guest post on popular sites and magazines. Search for them - and their social media handles - on Google to connect with them.
10. Search the Twitter Bird
Twitter is the birthplace of every content piece. CFOs, CMOs, writers, and editors tweet about their requirements and plans. It gives you inside access to all things popular.
How to Get Leads Through Twitter?
- Follow Relevant Hashtags: Publications share their requirements with hashtags like #journoquest. It means that they’re open to collaboration. They check pitches that come via Twitter.
- Tweet Everything Newsworthy: Be active on Twitter and share achievements and links to use cases. You don’t know who sees your content.
- Follow Relevant Publications: Follow publications and TV outlets in your niche and engage with tweets of their writers and editors, so you don’t become another cold email when you pitch.
11. Stay Up-to-Date with Trends
Posting something trendy is the number one method to get media traction. Brands do this all the time, and media or advertisement outlets pick them up.
Once you create a trending story, please post it in your online newsroom and market in full throttle. Here’s an example of a similar kind.
A relatable meme from your business that uses a trending song or show goes a long way.
Tools to Identify Current Trends:
- Google Trends: Google Trends lets you see what people search for in real-time. Use related queries to pick a trending idea and create content around it.
- Twitter: Twitter is the birthplace of all viral content. Keep an eye on popular hashtags from your industry and tweet something related.
- Content Explorer by Ahrefs: Ahrefs’ Content Explorer is powerful in creating viral content. Take care of the backend process, including competitor analysis and backlink monitor.
12. Release a Data Report
Brian Dean, the founder of Baklinko, says that his first curated report got backlinks from Forbes and HubSpot. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to create such reports and journalists need them.
Use case studies to build detailed data reports with valuable research to the journalists in your niche. Or analyze existing data and compile it into an account. For example, the big players like Meta, amazon share their quarterly or yearly data reports that publications publish.
Take a look at this screenshot:
Benefits of a Data Report:
- Helps Journalists: Journalists often don’t have time to compile original data. Providing them with your report is helpful and puts you in their good books.
- Establishes Expertise: A data report shows your company as an expert in the industry. Sharing data around successful use cases contribute to your leadership in the industry.
- Make it Easy to Read: Use tools like Google Scholar and Statista to break down complex data into bite-size pieces, so it’s easier to read and follow.
13. Bring Team Members to the Centre Stage
Modern businesses know that employee experience is glamorized all around social media. Employees from HubSpot and Ahrefs hold high authority over marketers. It works well for the brand.
It works best on LinkedIn, where employees use their accounts to preach about the product.
How to Use Your Team to Get Media Coverage?
- Use LinkedIn: Gong uses this strategy to have its employees preach about their products on LinkedIn. It gets their brand a lot of traction.
- Let Them Shine: The CEO and other employees can get the limelight by attending various podcasts and webinars. It increases brand awareness and makes your audience stay tuned to learn practical stuff from your team.
One such example is that digital marketing podcasts are loved by audiences who look to promote their brand online.
- Leverage Their Connections and Followers: Leveraging your employees’ brand works wonders. Your brand becomes familiar when customers recognize your team members.
For those who don’t know: News + Hijacking = Newsjacking. It means piggybacking on viral news trends and using them to your marketing advantage. Marketing geniuses around the world use this to get sensational media coverage.
Examples of Newsjacking:
- The Aviation Gin Hype: During the Peloton Bike commercial backlash, the Aviation Gin cast ‘Peloton Wife’ - a victim of body shaming - in their advertisement. She drank the Aviation gin while her friends complimented her by saying, “you look great, by the way.” The ad got 7.2 million views on YouTube and 55.6k retweets.
- Microsoft Teams Hacking NBA: When sports organizations struggled to get the public into stadiums due to Covid, MS Teams came up with a plan. Teams got a massive crowd into the stadium via computer screens, promoting their new together feature. Players thoroughly enjoyed the experience of a crowded stadium, and it was a win-win for Microsoft and NBA. This went viral and was covered by many PR channels. Here’s an example:
15. Leverage HARO
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It helps journalists with new stories and data. Journalists can post queries requests on HARO to get a reply from professionals in that niche.
Brands to this to get backlinks. Target journalists from publications you want to be published in and give relevant answers.
How to Make the Most of HARO?
- Check Frequently: Check your HARO inbox at least three times a day when you’re registered as a source. The more you answer, the more relevant you become. Here’s how HARO sends journalist requirements. It’s a morning edition.
- Complete Each Answer: Don’t end your responses with, ‘contact for more.’ Reporters get several replies. Explain a point from top to bottom to have it selected.
- Avoid Attachments: HARO disregards all replies with attachments. Don’t send videos, infographics, or PDFs.
- Create a newsworthy Company Story.
- Network with local journalists personally.
- Build connections with employees and previous clients of media outlets before pitching them and asking for referrals.
- Create a follow-up strategy and add new, relevant information each time.
- Leverage HARO by posting relevant answers to journalists’ queries.
- ‘Newsjack’ trending new stories to get traction towards your business.
- Allow team members to talk about your product on their social accounts.
- Target freelance reports rather than publications.