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Localizing — The Easiest Publicity You Can Ever Get

Using local news angles to maximize success in getting publicity

Localizing your news release is the easiest way you can get more media coverage.  The success of your media strategy will largely depend on what you offer to the media.   No matter what you want to accomplish in terms of your publicity goal business wise, you will maximize your media response and the coverage you receive if you give the media what they want and need to interest their particular audience.   Whenever a media person contemplates whether to cover a topic, key questions they asks are: 

  1. How many people in my audience will be interested in this?
  1. What’s in it for my audience and why will they be interested?

To localize means that you go out of your way to explain and develop information that helps media see that you have what they want.    To do this successfully is a two step process.  First you must recognize the nature, demographics, and desires of the media audience.  Then you must localize your news release and provide content that caters to their needs.    Local media typically demand local news, locally relevant education and local entertainment information.  That’s what they publish.  To get these media to publish your information, you must give them what they need and are accustomed to publishing.   If it is a local news paper, then local means that you must identify what it is that affects local people or the local area.  If it is a topical media, like a trade magazine or publication, to localize requires you explain your proposal in terms of how it affects people who subscribe to that media.   How do you localize? 

What is really comes down to is this: “people, people, people”.    Identify the local news pegs  Here is a list of potential key elements that can be used to localize and flesh out local story angles: 

  1. Local event that people have access to.
  2. Local impacts or consequences identified.
  3. Local people, families, or residents involved.
  4. Quote from the local person or interest.
  5. Local person offered for interview.
  6. Story about a local person or people.
  7. Direct media access to the local people involved.
  8. Local innovation, breakthrough, or accomplishment.
  9. Local problem, challenge, issue, or concerns.
  10. Local prediction good or bad.
  11. Local interests (groups, clubs, cultures, private or public interests) affected.
  12. Local area affected (geographic locations).
  13. Local facts, data and statistics.
  14. Local photo offered with permissions of people in the photo.
  15. Local photo opportunity offered.
  16. Local celebrity or person of interest or government authority comment or perspective.
  17. Local business or government or institution involved.
  18. Local secrets, knowledge, special opportunities, hot spots, cool or fun things to do or go.
  19. Invitation to local media to attend or get involved.
  20. Creating or offering additional local opportunities for events, interviews, and photos in the future.
  21. Create new local surveys, events, scholarships, programs, or contests, with local winners.

The more of these elements you can offer the better your chances of success with the media will be.   Develop a real life local interest story Media want to capture and communicate how people feel and how they are coping and dealing with the issue at hand. 

Contemplate your situation and plan ahead of time.  Look over and think about what you have available.  Select your facts accordingly and incorporate them into your news releases.   Array the key facts.  Your news releases must clearly convey the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your event or situation.   Don’t just write objectively.  Use people to describe and illustrate and create colorful word pictures that capture action and convey the engagement of the human spirit.   Emotions & Feelings: 

  • Pain
  • Anguish
  • Happiness
  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Joy
  • Satisfaction
  • Passion
  • Caring

Set it up your news release in a priority order that explains the most crucial issues quickly.  Add these elements in and bring the best, most important or most powerful emotional elements up front. Make it real and get the media in direct contact.  Either use real live human interest stories in your news release or offer to let local people them tell their personal stories and how it affected their lives.  Identify the names of all people used.  Get permissions and local contact information in advance.   

If you have a conflict situation, get a local person to offer up a statement that describes their position, presents their side and views, and illustrates the tension and controversy.  Offer a picture that shows the concern, anxiety and emotion they feel. Using photographs is one of the most powerful ways to convincing media to give you coverage.  Make sure offer some photographs.  Make sure you identify a special or unique photo opportunity.  Identify or present visuals, situations, settings, locations and people that tell the story, not just people standing and talking.    Make sure that you own photographer documenting what happens at the event.  The photos should show people actively engaged in the very core actions and experiences that epitomize the event or situation.  When you add these to your news release add captions to photos and identify each person in the picture.  Do not offer up a picture of anyone unless you that person gives you a signature on a form granting permission for the use of their picture.   Timeline and types of news release: 

  1. Calendar item – lifestyle, business or community section.   Send a short concise event announcement to the calendar editor one month before the event.
  1. News release for feature story. Send a detailed one to two page news release to the feature editors and news assignment editors two to three weeks before the event
  1. Media advisory – send out one week before and event
  1. Live at the event feature story – send out either at the event or immediately after the event.
  1. Follow on feature story or opinion editorial story – send out after the event.

Localizing national campaigns pays off in spades Localizing dramatically improves media success rates both in terms of numbers, and the quality of the coverage you receive.  You will get more articles and interviews and better feature stories and interviews. Start by looking at your national outreach news release.  You need to send local news releases to custom targeted media lists that match the local news release.  This can be done several ways. 

Identify the targets in your media audience by topic and create a list of the specific subjects areas you need to cover.  Tailor your news releases by topic.  Localize the news release to meet the special needs of each subject area.  Send each news release to media in the corresponding topical area.  Send personal finance ideas to personal finance media.  Send health tips to personal health media.  Send real estate tips to real estate media. Tailor your news releases by location.  Localize using local people or organizations.  Tailor your news releases so that the New York media receives the story featuring New York people and the Los Angeles media receives news releases that feature
Los Angeles people. 
 Both these methods can be done using custom media lists either in small batches or using mail merge templates and databases.    The latter method requires sophisticated design and deployment, but it can be used nationwide with great effectiveness.  Localizing Road Tours  If you’re a traveling author, speaker or seminar leader, you can create template news releases and contact the local media whenever and wherever you go three weeks before you arrive in a location.  You want interview and feature story publicity to come out timed so that it helps you to drive attendance at the events.  You localize your news releases with the events, exact locations, dates, and local contact information. Create template news release.  Localize your news release by using the local sponsor or organization name, focus, and people.  Include these local facts and their people in the news release.   

Do your best to build in a community involvement element.  Go from a book signing to a talking event that benefits a local group of people with a problem.  Move the event from a bookstore to a homeless shelter.   Try hard to create a public service announcement (PSA) which will qualify for free air time only if it is used to promote a nonprofit organization or public service.  News releases containing PSA’s are written so that radio and TV stations seeking to convey a public service message that benefits members of the community literally read these scripts live over the air.   Involve local people, contacts and organizations from afar You can use library and online resources to identify media, organizations, government officials, and local people as you plan your media campaigns. 

Specialized search tools like Google Maps and Google News are both very good tools you can use to identify key players in a region. Search online directories and databases and pay attention to the geographic keywords you enter with your subject searches.   Identify people, emails and phone numbers of contacts that you would see as having a favorable interest in sharing the media coverage with you. Contact these people ahead of time and ask them to get involved in and engaged in your event, specifically to participate with your media interviews and features.  Send them the details and brainstorm their ideas.  Create a written proposal or agreement so you can work together.  Ask them to be the local element that gets featured in the news.  Let them share the limelight and be your local champion.  Negotiate and confirm the deal by phone and email.   

Posted on Sunday, February 24th, 2008 at 2:34 pm In
book publicity, copywriting, news releases, publicity