The secrets to powerful local media coverage: think local and think footfall

The PRCA 2015 conference has urged PRs “not to underestimate the power of local newspapers”.  They are more trusted and positive than the nationals.   We agree and share our six-pack-strategy to celebrate this overdue recognition.

If ever we’re asked if regional newspapers are in decline, we show them the statistics. Regional digital growth is cancelling out print readership decline. The Manchester News is the most popular regional press website, typically getting 573,342 visitors a day – more than the Daily Express circulation.  Clearly, local people trust their local news-brand for reasons we’ll explore another day in another blog.

We’ve always pioneered regional media and are proud our team is built on ex regional newspaper and broadcast journalists, with national media in our freelance team too.

We proved their huge power for ex-client, the Nuffield Hospitals, where we built real community relations programmes and persuaded locals to “pop in”. We’ve created footfall in every UK city, town and village for LloydsPharmacy, independent opticians and pharmacists, through blanket local media coverage.

Anyone in need of local publicity and goodwill – retail chains, care-homes, health, fitness and beauty enterprises – needs to think local and devise new footfall initiatives.

Our six-pack strategy for local media coverage:

  1. Keep it local – ensure a “local” angle. If needs be create one with a human interest story, a case study, regional statistics or a local opinion leader input. Read the paper or website for inspiration.
  2. New news – ensure there’s something ‘new’ to communicate. Or create hooks which could be seasonal or topical – surviving the cold & flu season for instance.  
  3. Create a picture opportunity and make it easy for the paper with your own photographer. Staff photographers on papers have dwindled over the years so the paper will thank you. Our database of ace regional photographers spans the British Isles.
  4. Pitch the story – pick up the phone and speak to the news desk. They’ll know straight away if it’s for them or not. Sound the story out and build a new media contact at the same time. Journalists get hundreds of press releases a day so make your pitch stand out.
  5. Follow up – call the news desk to follow up but don’t pester. Asking for permission to follow up the story can make this easier.
  6. Scale up - Think if you can scale your regional story up to a national level. Does a case study or regional roadshow have national appeal? We frequently do this and you can read a recent case study for our TAYE eye health campaign here.

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