As small businesses bore the brunt of lockdowns during the pandemic, the #SupportLocal movement to keep these local businesses afloat is playing an important role in the recovery stage.

Local businesses – and they include franchises - are important to the fabric of the community because they are the drivers of the local economy. More importantly, residents trust small businesses and are more likely to support businesses that support them.

Local media play a key role when it comes to delivering a message, especially when local spokespeople can be offered in a pitch. As a PR professional, media relationships remain an integral part of day-to-day work, and now more than ever, we need to ensure we are prioritizing local media.

Local media focus of their stories on the community, so they cover news they know their viewers and readers want to see. Not only is pitching local media an effective way to amplify your media relations strategy, it offers a platform for your story to keep your brand top-of-mind.

Here are five elements to consider before pitching to local media:

  1. What is happening in the community? Read the local newspapers and listen to clips from local broadcast media. Is there a pattern in what they’re covering? Is there a timely news story you can make a connection to in your pitch? Be sensitive to the news impacting the community during that time – for example, you wouldn’t pitch a water-based experience following a recent lake accident.
  2. Is there someone who can speak to the local community? Having a local spokesperson means that viewers are more likely to recognize them and listen to what they’re saying. We know residents want to support and trust their own.
  3. Does the story have multiple story angles? Much like other outlets, local media can have limited resources. Sending out a pitch with multiple angles for them to choose from makes their lives easier, as it shows them different ways of looking at the story and reinforcing why it should be shared with the community.
  4. Are there supporting assets? Local media may not always have the time to capture photos or videos. Make sure to have relevant photos available with proper credit and information (e.g. people in the photo) ready to share.
  5. Can you hit two outlet types with one stone? Smaller communities tend to only have a few media outlets. In many cases, they’re owned by the same network. Prioritize media who have an online/print and radio platform available for greater visibility.

When done right, targeting local media is a winning strategy for your business. Look at the communities you can share your news with and start thinking about how you can build those local relationships.

Your efforts will go a long way.

Happy pitching!