Should You Pitch Your Business to the Local Newspaper?
Since the internet turned traditional journalism upside down, local newspapers have faded in popularity. It shouldn’t have surprised me when I was doing a DIY PR workshop a few weeks ago, that someone asked me if it was worth it to pitch to a local newspaper.
Oh. My. Yes.
Of course, those are the kinds of questions I am so happy to answer!
Your local newspaper is an amazing place to pitch. Even if readership doesn’t seem like it is as big as it was ten or twenty years ago, people are still reading it.
Plus, those people are in your community. So, if your business is local, that’s your target market; and if it is not local, they are probably your biggest fans. No matter what kind of business you own, being in your local paper is a good idea because people love to shop local. If you have a brick and mortar location, then I think it is even more important to be in your local newspaper.
Most of the time, local papers will publish online too, which means that you’re getting all that social sharing love and can link to the article on your website for a long-lasting credibility boost.
This digital word of mouth is incredibly valuable as the simplest shares can result in great exposure, especially in smaller communities. Personally, I prefer to hire someone who a friend can vouch for because I know they will be more honest than the advertisement someone is paying for.
I’m always talking about how PR is good for building credibility. When your local paper publishes a story about you it shows you are a prominent member of your community and respected for what you do.
Hopefully, that’s all it takes to convince you to start pitching your local newspaper now. Go! Get out there! Get to it!
And to help you get it done, here are a few tips.
1. Get Hyperlocal
When I think of local papers, I’m thinking about the city paper. That’s a given.
But when I say, hyperlocal, it may not be so obvious.
Hyperlocal publications are the ones that focus exclusively on your neighborhood or suburb.
Here in Austin, we have The Austin American Statesman which is the main newspaper. Then for my neighborhood near Cedar Park, there are three additional papers just for this suburb.
Because these papers are smaller, there are fewer writers, which makes it easier to connect with the right media contact.
2. Find the Right Person to Contact
Naturally, you want to send your pitch to the person who will be most excited to read it.
Like most publications, local papers will have a staff of reporters, each covering a different beat. Look for the writers who cover your industry by seeing what they have published before.
Larger papers will have larger staff, but smaller ones may only have one or two editorial contacts. In this case, you’ll just have to use your best judgement.
3. Switch Up Your Angle
For this point, let’s use an example. Let’s say you own an artisan cookie shop. The first person you will want to pitch is the food writer. You might tell them about a seasonal cookie you are about to release or share tips for storing cookies.
Even though that’s the most obvious way to approach this, it’s not the only way.
You can get creative!
Look for a reporter that covers small businesses and pitch them too.
Or if you’re opening a new location, you could pitch the real estate reporter as well.
There are so many ways to get the word out there about your business if you can find the right angle!
4. Share Your Success!
Make a point of sharing the digital article on your social media, link to it on your website, and consider sending it directly to your friends and customers who are sure to give it a read.
The more people who see your business featured in the local news, the better. Articles with more reads are noticed by Google and social networks and given even more attention in search results.
It never hurts to add a gentle “ask” to get them to share the link as well.
Again, word of mouth is extremely valuable in close-knit communities so these shares can go a long way!