The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Boost Buzz Fast with Local Press

If you are a new entrepreneur, one of the best ways to start building buzz is by contacting local media-members.

This way, you can practice your pitching skills with a smaller venue and begin creating media relationships to help your business grow.

But how do you start your publicity efforts?

1.      Research.

First, you want to read the local publications and figure out who writes about your industry or “beat.” Check out the archived stories online and also look for appropriate contact information.

If you don’t see a particular writer or reporter who covers your particular area of expertise, contact the managing editor or assignment editor. These editors are usually in charge of assigning stories to various reporters. 

2.      Practice.

What are you going to say?

Well, you could just pick up the phone and introduce yourself!

Tell the editor your area of expertise and the value you can provide as a resource to that publication.

You can also pitch a story pertinent to the publication’s audience. But with both of these methods, it’s essential to: 

Offer valuable information that relates to the local community.

After all, that’s what the local publication is all about and what the editor wants to hear!

For example, you can talk about how a national story or trend relates to your business and the local community, provide a case study about one of your local customers or offer an original opinion-piece or article pertinent to the publication’s editorial calendar. 

3. Follow-Up.

After you introduce yourself to the appropriate media contact, follow up with an e-mail or snail-mail letter. You want to remind them what you have to offer their audience.  

Remember to focus on their needs and how you can provide value.

And after your initial contact, you want to keep in touch with your new media contact. On a monthly basis, send a note about a recent article in the publication, provide information about an upcoming community event or ask how you can help.

Most local media venues are tight on staff and cash so they will appreciate your efforts.

Get Results.

By starting with these simple activities, you may end up with an immediate interview or a writing assignment. If not, at least you will build a strong, working relationship with the local press so they know who you are and what you have to offer.

Then, when it’s deadline time, and they need an expert resource for an upcoming story, you’ll be at the top of their list.

And if you are a new business owner, this process can teach you how to talk to the media at a low risk-level. After all, if you mess up your pitch with a small, local publication, you can learn from your mistakes and avoid them when you move on to bigger, national media venues.

With this in mind, try contacting your local media venue within the next week. It won’t cost you anything but time. Plus, you’ll increase your pitching skills.

And who knows?

You may end up with a media clip that builds buzz about your products and services, a new working relationship with the local press and third-party credibility you simply can’t buy!

Have questions about boosting sales, awareness and credibility with search engine optimization copywriting, social media strategy and public relations? Check out my new book, “Simple Publicity,” or contact me here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com.

About the Author: Melanie Rembrandt

Since our initial launch date, Melanie Rembrandt has been an integral part of the StartupNation team. As the founder of Rembrandt Communications®, LLC, www.rembrandtwrites.com, Melanie is one of the country's top, public-relations consultants, an SEO content strategist and a published [...]