Oftentimes, a media plan will include outreach not just to the big national outlets like the Today show and USA Today, but local outlets in geographic areas around the nation.
And too often, publicists will repurpose their pitches to national outlets for local reporters. While it’s true that things of national concern may also be making a regional impact, it’s typically unwise to take a pitch meant for a national reporter and send it wholesale to a local journalist.
-Consume the local media. Before you start pitching media in Houston, San Diego, Cincinnati, or anyplace else, actually take a look at the media in those areas. This will familiarize you with local issues, topics of concern, local pop culture, and other things that you can’t possibly know from afar.
-Gather a strong list of local media outlets. Many local print media outlets and even local bureaus of larger outlets have had to dramatically cut staff or close. Perhaps popular local blogs have filled the void. And there is a renewed focus on local broadcast media. Make sure you know the state of the media in the area you’re pitching.
-Tailor your pitch for local audiences. The key to a good local pitch is to dig in and find the relevant nugget of info that really makes a difference for local stories and residents.
-Get feet on the ground. If you’re fortunate enough to have an office in the local area you’re pitching, great. But even if you don’t, see if your budget allows for a freelancer or consultant who can fill you in on the local happenings. Or ask whether someone in your firm has spent time in the area you’re pitching. Perhaps they can offer insight about what stories will work.
-You may already know someone who can help. Many local media outlets are owned by a company that has a national standing so if you’ve worked with, say, the Los Angeles Times before you probably already know someone who can help you connect with WGNO-TV in New Orleans since both entities are owned by Tribune Co.