When a company hires a public relations firm the most obvious goal they have is to be in the national news. Whether it is in print, online or on TV, everyone wants to have his or her face on the front of The New York Times and a live interview on CNN (in a positive story of course!). However, what many overlook is the importance local media has in positioning a business.
Your business doesn’t have to be in one of the top three media markets in the country to get attention. Even in smaller markets, such as Austin or Milwaukee, sitting down with local media is a good idea. But why is that worth your time? The answer is two-fold.
First, many people who hire a PR firm have never done an interview before. Local media can be a great introduction for them. It provides a way to refine messaging and generate a good base of interviews ranging from TV to radio. It also acts as a way to improve recognition amongst stakeholders and influencers in and around a metro area.
In addition, local media provides a PR firm with clips from TV, radio and print stories to send to national media. Yes, there you have it – local media can result in national coverage. If a company got three local TV stories or several print hits, Team Ditto typically takes those clips and sends them to relevant national reporters and producers to show them that a story is gaining traction in a certain region.
Take the Ted Williams story. You probably can remember him more for his “golden voice”, but what started as a local story in Columbus, Ohio and was soon on the Today Show and CNN. It is for this reason that Ditto sometimes starts out clients in local media markets. A good example of this is for our client Citelighter. Citelighter is a Baltimore based education technology platform that helps kids become better writers. The company’s founder had never been on TV before and wanted to sign up new schools to use their app. Naturally, the founder wanted the big national news first.
However, many TV producers want to see examples of the client on video. It may seem a little unfair that sometimes in order to get on television you have to be on television, but the bar is high on many of these programs that want charismatic guests.
To overcome this challenge, Team Ditto decided to have the founder go on local TV in the Baltimore area as well as utilize classrooms already using Citelighter in cities. To date, Citelighter has been featured on NBC and Fox in Baltimore and had a feature in the Baltimore Business Journal. We also work on scheduling interviews with teachers and students using Citelighter in the New York City metro area and Detroit. From these local hits, we were able to generate interest from Fox Business.
From this local media alone, the client has seen several inquiries for new business and is sure to see more as we expand local coverage to other metropolitan areas. The local press has also acted as a great introduction for Citelighter to education leaders in the Baltimore area and nationwide that will result in more school signups.
While there are many instances of clients getting on national TV straight off the bat, sometimes a more local approach is necessary and occasionally, more advantageous for the client. The time put into these interviews can lead up to some big gains as PR efforts evolve. It is certainly worth the clients’ time to pursue these opportunities.