When it comes to getting publicity, we often want to make it to the nation media. However, pitching your story to the local press is just as beneficial. In fact, whether you want more people to hear about your fundraiser or art show, the local news is the perfect platform.
Today, we will talk about why pitching to your local news station matters. Moreover, we’re also going to teach you how to pitch your story correctly.
Why local press?
Before you scoff at the idea of reaching out to local television, landing a segment (for example, on the Dallas Observer KFDA-TV or KIMT3 News) has its perks.
- It gives you time to practice
Pitching to the press doesn’t just mean submitting a press release. That’s why familiarizing yourself first with the local media gives you practice. It warms you up and teaches you the best ways to leverage your stories with the media. It also improves your reputation in your local area, which will be useful in the future.
- It improves your pitches
National news stations tend to be more selective and are more specific on which stories they think matter. When you pitch to your local media first, it sharpens your message. Here, you begin to understand better what works and what doesn’t. Plus, you get used to the pressure when facing an audience. Furthermore, you develop beneficial relationships with producers that will help you sooner or later.
- It makes you a “hometown hero.”
People love to hear about local stories. Whether you’re raising funds for the underprivileged or leading a soup kitchen in your area, you’re more likely to be considered a “hometown hero.” You’ll be gaining connections and establishing yourself as an expert and a distinct character in your town — a stepping stone to your dreams of reaching the national news stations.
How to pitch to the local press
Here are tips to pitch your story to the local media.
1. Make sure it’s newsworthy
Reporters are very busy. However, they are always on the lookout for stories delivered through a new or fresh angle. So before you pitch yours, ask yourself: Is it newsworthy? Is it enough to spark the interest of a journalist, much more a larger audience?
While your press release isn’t the only important thing, it is instrumental in making your story sound necessary. So take the time to create one that’s worth reading. Make it short, simple yet engaging enough that will drive reporters to crave more information.
2. Find the right target
When pitching your story to local news stations, it’s important to find the right target. Don’t send out generic emails to different reporters at one time. Each station has a niche, and each reporter is known to focus on specific topics.
First and foremost, your story must matter to the one you want to get the word out.
Take the time to research the different news stations in your area. See which reporters will be most interested in your story. Engage with them on a personal level and tell them how they too, can benefit from reporting about your story.
3. Brevity is key
We highly encourage you to not only send personalized emails to different news stations. We also deem it best to deliver your pitch with brevity. Reporters ignore rambling sentences with links inserted to them. You can attach your press release in your email. However, don’t make it your main point of a pitch when it’s just your first time emailing the reporter.
Have a personal angle that’s short, straightforward and compelling. Don’t make it hard for the editor to say, “yes.”
The same principle applies to your subject line. Make sure it’s short but grabs the attention of the reader immediately. Stay away from phrases like “Please read!” or “Attention!”.
4. Refine, refine, refine
No matter how good your story is, there will always be room for rejection. It’s not going to be easy, but it doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Refine your pitch as much as possible. Take every rejection as an opportunity to deliver your story in a much more engaging way.
However, this doesn’t mean you should call or email excessively. Once you’ve refined your pitch, move on the next local station.
5. Utilize different resources
You are not limited to emailing or calling stations to get their attention. There are so many ways to pitch your story to the local press.
For one, social media is an easy and efficient means to get in touch with news stations. It’s also a great platform to share what you have to say. Word-of-mouth in your local community can also create a buzz that will get news stations wondering what this is all about.
Follow these tips to pitch your story to the local media successfully. It won’t be an easy road ahead, but it will surely be a rewarding one.