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Local Media Marketing

Effective Local Media Marketing

Here are some tips for preparing yourself for effective media work in your community.

Step 1: Getting Attention

Brainstorm and create a list of media outlets. Try to consider only places where your local community would be already looking.

These might be:

  • Local newspapers, weeklies and magazines – ask for the name of the news editor, assignment editor or even the city desk if it is a local.
  • Local TV – ask for the assignment editor.
  • Local radio – ask for the news director.

Remember to compensate for schedules made far in advance.

Step 2: What to Say

If you're not used to the spotlight, it can be hard to know exactly what to say. We've compiled some tips to make it easier for you!

When writing a news release, keep in mind that the media receive hundreds of releases every day. Try to follow these guidelines: Keep it short and professional. Come up with a catchy headline that will attract someone's attention. Also be sure to have someone proof read it before sending.

In your first paragraph, cover the 5 W's:

  • Who you are (Your business)
  • What you are doing
  • Why you are doing it.
  • Where
  • When

Double-space your news release (if possible). Title the release "news release" or "news conference," not a "press release" or "press conference." (Press refers only to print, but media refers to all).

Have someone proof the release for spelling, grammar and content (determine whether what you are trying to relay is clear and accurate). Sometimes the person who writes the release may not notice mistakes that a fresh pair of eyes will catch.

Step 3: Contacting the Media

Mail, fax or hand-deliver your release at least three weeks before you want it to go out so that there is plenty of time to get the ball rolling. Make a follow-up call the same day to verify that the assignment editor or the person you directed your release to received it. More than likely, they will let you know if they received it. If they did not, then you should offer to re-fax or deliver it again.

Always try to call the media early in the morning. The later it gets, the harder it is to reach contacts and the less time reporters have to write the story or to reserve a news slot. Always return calls from reporters immediately!

Be excited and professional. It is always important to tell the truth. If you do not know the answer to a question, say so honestly and offer to find out the information if possible.

Step 4: How to be Interviewed

Radio/TV and news interviews can be a very powerful vehicle for getting your message out to to a broader audience. Here are some tips for being effective when interviewed by the media.

  1. Be informed. This is the golden rule.
  2. Anticipate the kind of questions you are likely to get.
  3. Be calm. This doesn't mean you can't be passionate and enthusiastic but your passion and enthusiasm must be tightly controlled and should not spill over into anger. If necessary, take a deep breath before answering the question. Be polite with everyone.
  4. Be concise. It's amazing how little time you get. Learn to talk in 15 second “sound bites.”
  5. It's the answers that count, not the questions. Have at least three points you want to make during the interview and be sure you make them.
  6. Don't try to make too many points. You want to have a maximum of three main points of argument. Any more and both you and the audience will get lost.
  7. Simplicity. Make your points as clearly as possible. Use short sentences and simple words.
  8. Lastly, dress the part. Dress nicely, but don't go overboard, especially if they are interviewing you in your business. On the other hand, no sweat pants or slouchy wear.
  9. Leave your notes behind. You should know this subject by heart.
  10. Speak up. A media interview is a golden opportunity to persuade your audience.
  11. Use your body. On TV your head and torso should stay fairly still (which makes you seem solid and trustworthy), but your hands can be used to lend emphasis to what you say (they can help to drive your points home). Expressive eyebrows can be useful too.
  12. Humor. If you can do it without making it sound irrelevant, humor can go a long way in helping win your audience over.
  13. Always be positive.

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