Want to get a local newspaper to cover your business? Getting good press coverage takes some hard work, but there are few marketing avenues that can generate a lot of traffic for a low cost. Here’s how to get local press coverage.Tweet This
#1. Have a Newsworthy Story
The bottom line is, if you don’t have a good story, you’re not going to get coverage. Put yourself in the journalist’s shoes and ask yourself: What kind of story would I want to put in my paper?
Things like stores opening, stores having sales, releasing products, and so on seldom make the news. It’s just not an interesting read. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible to take an otherwise dull business and make a newsworthy story for it.
One example is RunKeeper, an iPhone app that helps you track how long you’ve run. Few newspapers would cover such an app which targets such a specific audience. That is, until its founder decided to run the Boston marathon dressed as an iPhone.
Nearly overnight, newspapers from all over the world covered the story, eventually getting the New York Times to cover it as well.
Nearly any business can come up with a way to either create a newsworthy story or spin their story in a way that’s newsworthy. If you spend just a few minutes a day brainstorming, in a month or so you’ll have some brilliant ideas, guaranteed.
#2. Start Small
When you’re just getting started, go for the smallest papers you can. For example, in San Francisco there’s the Chronicles, the Examiner, the Guardian, SF Weekly and individual papers from many local cities.
The easiest way to get coverage is to start out with papers that aren’t as competitive to get into, and then work your way up. For example, if you’re covered in the San Mateo Times and the Daly City Paper, two nearby local papers, and then SF Weekly, when you finally pitch to the Chronicles, the largest paper, you’ll have a much better chance of getting in.
#3. How to Get Your Stories to Journalists
The days when you could write a press release and blast it out to journalists to get coverage are long, long gone. To get real coverage in the press, you need to make individual connections with journalists.
The absolute best way to get your story in front of a journalist is to know one personally, know someone who knows one, or know someone who knows someone who knows one.
If you can’t network your way to a journalist, the second best way is to find a story related to your business and email that journalist saying “Hey, I saw you wrote about X, you might be interested in Y as well.”
Make sure all your contacts are personalized. Show that you did some research and read some of their articles. Only contact people you genuinely think would be interested in what your story is about.
Journalists are in the business of finding stories. If your story is truly newsworthy and it’s in an area they’re interested in, you have a very good chance of getting covered from sending a personal email.Tweet This
Getting covered by the press takes some effort, but the results are well worth it. Create a newsworthy story or spin, start with smaller papers and find journalists who are interested in your industry.