Pitching earned media stories is an essential part of any public relations role. However, not every client is looking for national coverage in The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. Some clients want to reach their local consumers which might require media placement in smaller local markets. This type of targeted placement can sometimes be difficult for public relations professionals since there might be fewer publications to pitch.
Here’s a rundown of the best practices for pitching in smaller media markets.
Some small towns, especially those in rural areas, have only one newspaper. This limits your opportunity on a pitch but gives you a chance at maximum impact. In securing coverage in that outlet, your story can reach the entire target audience. Many small newsrooms have only a few staff members who look for hyperlocal content. Before approaching the news outlet, make sure your story is as relevant as possible!
If you do secure placement, don’t be afraid to communicate the totality of your reach to clients. Smaller newspapers often boast a solid reputation within their target area.
All media pitching boils down to relationships you have with reporters and newsrooms. These relationships are key in small markets. If a metropolitan area or state only has two major newspapers, research its staff. Read the bios and social media channels to determine reporters’ interests and the topics they’ve been covering. Familiarizing yourself with their beat can go a long way when striking up a conversation and pitching your client.
Too much of a good thing isn’t always ideal. As we mentioned above, some states only have a couple of major news outlets. The last thing you want to do is go to the same reporter every time a new story comes up. By over asking that reporter, you risk injuring an otherwise productive partnership. Relationships are a long-run effort, so try to cultivate them as best you can. Also, try talking to the reporter outside of pitching them a story.
The next time you’re pitching media in smaller markets, be sure to consider all of this to secure coverage for your client.