Learn. Connect... Grow Your Business
Know your media
Before reaching out to someone in your local media, research and define who you are contacting.Make sure you are contacting the right person for the right type of news. Know who does what in your local media (you may need to call the media outlet to find out), and don’t waste their time (or yours) sending story ideas and press releases to the wrong people.
Remember that reporters are focused on meeting the needs of their audience. They’re looking to report on trends, not commercials. It’s up to you to show them how your product/service/company news relates to the larger audience. What’s first/only/different about your news? What community pain point does your product address? What is the trend (and is there a third party who can back up that trend)? Is there a human interest story that would appeal to a community of readers?
Craft a compelling pitch
Your “pitch” (or story idea) should be an interesting story/trend and not a commercial for your business.You don’t necessarily need to send your local media a press release to tell your story; you can send a quick, short media pitch via email or even Twitter. Include a press release in the body of the email if you have one, but don’t send it as an attachment (journalists don’t like attachments).
Always follow up
Call your local reporter to follow up on the email that you sent but be respectful of their time. Most journalists are busy and cover multiple roles and news areas. Always ask if now is an okay time to follow up on a story idea that you sent them, and have a succinct pitch ready to go. Be prepared to be rejected, but stick with it. The most important thing is building a relationship with the journalist. If you do that, it will make your life easier next time.
Always offer interviews, photos, and other visuals. Don’t just respond to what a reporter is asking for.Give them suggestions for how you can make the story even better. Provide additional sources(e.g., a customer, franchisor, or employee), and offer photos, logos, and graphics to make their lives easier(and to spread your brand).
Spread the news
When an article about your company appears in the local newspaper, don’t assume that everyone you wanted to see it did. Put it up on your website, share it with your customers via an email blast or brochure, and link to it on social media sites. Media coverage may drive other coverage (for example, a print news story may drive a television story), so share news stories with other media outlets.
And don’t forget to share your media outreach success with other franchisees and business connections. Sharing your best practices will encourage others to share theirs, which can only help your local public relations strategy.