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Promoting yourself in the local media (for free!)

If your business has something to shout about, then getting your news out there can be tricky, especially without a budget. While your news, product launch or shiny new service is fantastic, gaining free publicity itself is a skill and technique that your communications team will need to learn.

The good news is there are so many free opportunities out there. Andrew Ogden, Managing Director at Broadcast Media Services, offers ten top tips on selling your story right.

1. Your story, your angle
Your news is important but so is how you sell it. When it comes to getting your news out there, it’s important to remember one basic rule…be different! Try and find an angle for your story that will get publications interested and help your news stand out from the crowd. For example, “Sweetshop sells sweets” isn’t a story but “Sweetshop launches brand new range of sweets” has more of an angle and is more appealing to a publication.

2. Target your media
Local media and publications are always on the lookout for new and exciting stories which gives your business the advantage. However, it’s important to research to publications rather than just sending out your news to every outlet. Spend some time browsing the local media in print and online and see what stories they are currently running. It’s important to find out what sort of news they are interested in and then decide whether your story is something they will care about and ultimately publish.

3. It’s a name game
Every media outlet will have different news departments, so find the name of the person responsible for that department. If you can speak to a decision maker directly, rather than a generic email or department, your news will stand a far better chance of reaching publication.

4. Picture this
Online stories always need an image to go with them. Even if you are chasing your local radio station, they are likely to want to put a transcript of the story on their website. Always attach images with your story and make things as easy as possible for the local media.

5. Prepare to comment
If you’re in charge of a business, that makes you an expert in your field. Read and listen to the national media, is there a national story running which you can comment on? Local journalists will always need expert opinions on stories and you can make sure your business or organisation is mentioned too.

6. Shout about company growth
Employment is always a story, so if you’re creating jobs, let the media know. Growth is a huge indicator of success and you can also link it to the strength of the local economy too. On the other end of the scale, if you’re struggling to fill a position, a story about your search for skilled employees is always in demand too.

7. Make it personal
A story regarding an individual in your business, is sometimes much more attractive to the media. Celebrate staff that have recently reached a milestone or completed a charity event, including money they have raised. Remember any personal stories will always mention your organisation too.

8. Pitch at “slow” news times
Weekends are a notoriously difficult time for local journalists to fill column inches and airtime. So, if have a business event happening at the weekend, make contact on a Friday so that your story can get coverage in the weekend media. Any school holiday periods tend to be slower news times too as are bank holidays.

9. More geographical interest available
Depending on location, your story can be of interest to more than one media organisation. For example, if your business serves multiple counties or you’re based in a town on the border of two locations, your story might be of interest to both. There’s also the possibility your story will be of interest to local and wider news too.

10. Be Selective
If your story makes it into a local publication or outlet, give it time before you try and get more coverage with that publication. There’s a fine line between being a valued contributor and coming across as a pest.


Andrew Ogden is Managing Director at Broadcast Media Services.  For more information about Andrew and Broadcast Media Services can be found at www.broadcastmedia.co.uk