Local newspapers still play an important role in the community – despite years of underfunding threatening their long-term futures. Thousands of people rely on them for information about events in their towns, the characters living there and the companies vying for their business.
Getting an article in these publications can also give sales a bigger boost than coverage in a national title because it’ll be read by more potential customers.
So…what are the top tips for getting your story in print? Here’s a simple guide on how to get your business in the local media.
Find an angle
Anything has the potential to be a story. It doesn’t need to be about a million pound contract or a new device set to revolutionise an industry. Even a new recruit to a business can be newsworthy. For example, they may have an interesting back story, such as being a top athlete or having travelled extensively.
The simple rule is that if it’s interesting enough to tell your friends and family, then it’s a contender for the local rag.
Avoid the hard-sell
If it’s too gushing about the company and reads like an advertorial you won’t get your business in the local media – unless they are dramatically short of copy.
You can get your message across more effectively with a softer approach – more akin to whispering in their ear than shouting in the face!
Let the facts speak for themselves. Most editors are immune to words and phrases such as “innovative”, “groundbreaking”, so avoid them.
Keep the article short and snappy. Your intention is to grab their interest and make it easy to understand. Anything that needs re-reading before it becomes clear will be ignored.
Ideally, keep sentences between 10-20 words and convey all the main points of the story within the first three paragraphs.
To check you’ve included everything follow the: Who? What? Why? Where? When? Your article should answer all of those questions.
Make the interesting points prominent
Stories get cut down all the time. You don’t want to lose the most important elements so ensure the vital components are at the top. This enables the editor to cut from the bottom without losing the sense of the story or any salient information.
Provide contact details
The editor may want to clarify facts or find out further information so make it clear who is the best point of contact.
This contact must be available. If they don’t pick up messages for days, any chance of securing coverage may have disappeared.
Always supply a decent photo
This is essential. A good quality, clear photograph will always increase your chances of getting a decent spread. It’ll also help catch the eye of readers.
If it’s a run of the mill cheque presentation, for example, come up with a quirky image as people holding tiny pieces of paper makes for a dreary picture.
Local newspapers are notoriously underfunded and understaffed. If you can help them by providing good copy and photography it will increase your chances of being featured.
Make contacts on the paper
An ideal tool is to make a contact at the newspaper. If they are interested in news generated by your company then there’s the potential for a two-way relationship.
See if there is a dedicated business editor on the staff – and if there isn’t then speak to the paper to see who is the best contact.
If you don’t get any joy, then see whose byline appears most regularly and drop them an email.
And if you need a little more help, let us do the hard work for you.
Rob is an Upmarketry network partner and managing director of Senlac Communications, which provides editorial services to publishing groups and corporate clients.