Every brick-and-mortar small business is part of a local neighborhood and geographic community. Here are several tips to help your business get more local press.
1. Don’t Limit Your Publicity to One Media Outlet/Source
There are lots of local media outlets that you can use to get more press for your business. In most cases, each media outlet has a little different audience. By using different media outlets, you reach a wider local audience.
Here are some of the main media outlets you might want to contact.
- Local Newspapers
Getting a story about your business or a review of your restaurant in your local newspaper can be a great way to get some press. Check out USNPL.com, which will give you a list of the local newspapers that cover your state, city, and county. While a sending press release will enable to reach most, if not all these publications, a personally follow-up email which includes a link to the press release is a nice touch.
Don’t forget high school, college, and church publications as well, which can be great for targeting sub-cultures within your community.
- Local Radio Stations
Radio Locator is a great tool to find out which radio signals reach your zipcode. In the case of stations that are not news or talk focused, they not have journalists or reporters to receive a press stations. While they may not cover hard news, they may be opening to mention a local fundraising event or ask if anyone visited a new business that recently opened.
Related Article: Radio Advertising – How To Get Started
- Local TV Stations
To find local tv stations, check out your tv guide or google “local tv stations” and your zipcode. Getting a feature on your business in a local newscast is often productive. As local TV stations particularly news and talk hosts get bombarded with requests, again the personal follow-up to sending out a press release is a good idea. In your note, you can emphasize the interest visual aspects of your business that might make it camera friendly. While a story about a bagel shop expanding to a new location might not catch an anchor’s attention, a photo of 4th grade class making bagels at the new location might change the person’s mind.
- Local Interest Based Media
Let’s say you own a restaurant. There may be somebody in your area that writes for a foodie blog or does restaurant reviews who would be delighted to check out your business and write about it.
Do a Google search using key terms like “food,” “restaurant,” and “blog” to find these people.
2. Target the Right People Within Each Media Source
Let’s say you own a restaurant and want to get some local publicity from your local newspaper. Instead of just contacting a general paper address or email, try to find the email/contact info for the reporter who generally covers food-related topics and contact him/her directly.
Or, perhaps you are a non-profit who is doing a spaghetti dinner to raise money for a local charity and wants some online publicity. Instead of sending an email to a general website address, try to find the personal email of the individual in-charge of covering/alerting the community to local events.
Also, do a little research on individual reporters before you contact them personally. If you want a positive publicity piece for your business, you probably do not want to contact a reporter who is known for writing hard-hitting exposés.
In other words, take the time to find the person within a media outlet who is most likely to be interested in your business and provide the kind of press you are looking for.
3. Present Your Business in an Exciting and Unique Way
Once you know who you are going to get in-touch with, you need to figure out how to present your business in an exciting and unique way.
Here are some different approaches:
- Check Us out, We’re New
In this scenario, you are offering a media outlet the first shot to review your restaurant. Or, if you are not a new business, you can feature a new product, dish, or service.
- This Is Why We’re Special
For this pitch, you are basically highlighting what is unique or different about your business. For example, you should come down and see us because we “are the only Mediterranean restaurant in town,” “are the only restaurant that serves octopus.”
- Review the Most Popular Place in Town
Explain why your restaurant is the place to be. Include some pictures of your business packed out for some event like a football game, fight night, or new menu feature.
The point, is to identify what makes you different and explain it in such a way as to get the reporter/media outlet interested in what you have to offer the local public. Also include contact info and an offer of some kind in your pitch. For example, “Dinner’s on us if you stop by.”
4. Prepare and Follow Through
Hearing back from a media outlet does not mean your job is done. In fact, this is when you really need to buckle down and make sure you prepare and follow through to ensure a positive review.
Here are some examples:
- Find out What The Reporter/Critic is looking for
Don’t assume you know what reporters want for their stories. Ask them. This will ensure that you are not caught unprepared and also that the reporters get the content they are looking for.
- Do a Walk-Through/Run-Through
As much as possible, leave nothing to chance. Go over possible interview questions with a friend. Run-through the preparation process with your chef. In other words, put in the time before the actual interview/event to make sure you work out the kinks.
Positive local press is something that can make or break a brick-and-mortar small business. Follow these tips, and you will be broadening your business’ exposure and bringing more customers to your door in no-time!
About The Author – Marc Prosser is the publisher and co-founder of Fit Small Business, a how-to publications for small business owners.