When thinking about Press Relations, or “PR,” you may imagine publicists, press conferences held with mics and podiums, front-page headlines, or appearances on morning TV shows. While yes, national campaign elements like these are one part of PR, most businesses do not have the budgets to run national campaigns. Not to mention, the customers those businesses most want to attract are the ones right nearby in their area.
But that doesn’t mean local or smaller businesses should be left out of the press. Here’s where local PR comes in and how it can help your business shine under the right-sized spotlight.
What is local PR?
Local PR is all about engaging with your local community to raise awareness about your product, service, or event. Pitching to local news organizations and bloggers, offering discounts to community groups, and writing editorials for regional trade associations are all examples of local PR outreach.
3 reasons you need local PR
Now that you have a basic understanding of what local PR entails, let’s look at what - specifically - it can be used to accomplish. There are three main outcomes of local PR that may be of interest to you:
Building community and relationships
Accurately targeting your local audience
Boosting chances of a return on investment
Let’s go through each one in more detail.
Build community and relationships
If you’ve ever sent press releases hoping to garner the attention of nationally acclaimed news sources, you’ll know it’s a challenging endeavor. To earn a spot in a popular media outlet, it’s likely you’ll need the help of a friend from inside. But it’s not easy to build a relationship with a reporter with whom you do not have much in common. That’s where local PR can prove to be a great alternative.
It will likely be far easier to build relationships with journalists nearby. For starters, you and the local journalist already have one thing in common - you live in the same area. Even more helpful, local journalists want to hear and write about local stories; so if you’ve got something to share, there is a good chance of developing a long-lasting relationship.
Accurately target your local audience
Local PR allows you to accurately target your audience. If your business includes a brick and mortar presence, targeting local audiences allows you to attract customers who can actually visit your business since they are located nearby. If your goal is to target an older audience in your community, you’ll reach out to a local newspaper. On the contrary, if you’re looking to reach a younger audience, you’d look for a local online source.
Even if your business is accessible to customers far and wide, targeting local audiences may still be a smart play. Not only are journalists more excited to tell local stories, the people reading in your local area will be more excited to support you as a member of their community. Your local PR story is likely to be met with a higher degree of enthusiasm from nearby readers.
Boost chances of a return on investment
Local PR campaigns tend to be tailored to a smaller, more niche audience. Because of that, local PR campaigns may grant you a greater return on investment than national campaigns. The amount of time and money it takes to get into the national press is significantly higher than for local PR. Although you may have a great story to share, you are up against hundreds of others who feel strongly about their story as well. While a national journalist reads through hundreds of press releases a day, a local journalist has a smaller pool, giving you better odds of having your story selected. Of course, just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s easy - the quality of your story and angle still has to be up to par.
If your story is selected for local coverage, not only will you gain awareness in the community but you’ll likely see an increase in traffic and sales on your site or at your brick and mortar store as a result of the local PR.
Don’t forget that every major broadcast station has a local affiliate - and that local affiliate is in need of quality stories for their programming. Better yet, these local outlets come with benefits that national outlets may not - they have loyal audiences. Local TV and radio hosts are often considered likable and trustworthy by members of the community. What they say about your business can significantly influence the growth of your company.
If you want to learn more about local PR and how you can get started, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.