Inspired by a current client project to distribute news to more than 50 markets across the U.S. on a neighborhood level, we’ve come up with some tried-and-true methods for researching and pitching hyperlocal publications. Many of these tips are relevant for all types of media relations activities, but these are especially important with hyperlocal pitching:
- Don’t underestimate a map. Is the new CFO you’re announcing from Minnesota? A particularly small town in Minnesota? The easiest way to find the DMA and other close cities to your target is to check a map. This can reveal the reach of top-tier publications, along with smaller cities and surrounding communities with publications that may cover the area, even when they aren’t explicitly listed.
- Double check the coverage area of reporters before you contact them. Especially when using national media databases, it’s important to always check the publication websites for coverage maps. If the writer only reports news for West Palm Beach’s east half, don’t send news for West Palm Beach west. Pay close attention to coverage boundaries because no matter how great your pitch is, reporters only want news for their particular area. If there’s a tenuous link, spell out why that reporter should care.
- Be conscious of turnaround time. Many hyperlocal publications are online-only and are constantly looking for fresh content. Often, they can post news as soon as they receive it so be sure to include all details up front so your story makes headlines ASAP.
- Be prepared to provide your own visuals. Hyperlocal outlets may only have one person on staff per coverage area and no photographer to send out on assignments. If you already have professional photos taken of an event, an executive, or even an idea for alternate visuals, offer them up.
- Keep your eye out for new hyperlocal outlets. With the proven successes of sites like Patch.com and Dallas’ Neighborsgo, the hyperlocal media business model is a trend that is here to stay. With larger newspapers in trouble and declining television viewership, hyperlocal outlets online and in print are springing up everywhere, so it’s imperative to constantly check for new outlets in each market.
Post contributed by Vicky Smithee, @VSmithee