Five Tips for Scoring Free Advertising From Your Local Media Outlets

Posted on 09/27/2012

Have an event or business you’d like to promote? Advertising can be costly, but getting attention from your local TV station, newspaper or radio station is free. And it could be just what you need to boost sales or gain awareness in your community. Here are five tips for getting free exposure from local media outlets.

Determine Your Story Everybody has a story—even you. And identifying yours will help you get the attention of a local reporter. What is unique about you and your business? Does your event have a connection to a charity? What are you an expert in? Plenty of people have a difficult time identifying their own story so enlist the help of a friend or family member to help you identify yours.

Localize Big News
Keep an eye on national headlines and think about how you can localize those big stories. Reporters in your community are always looking for ways to bring a community angle to a national trend or story and you might be the perfect person to help with that.

Get Familiar with Style
There’s no reason to target a radio station for an interview if they only ever play music. In other words, research the media outlets in your area to find out which ones would be most likely to run a story like yours. Spend your efforts targeting those outlets.

Find the Gatekeeper
Now that you have a better idea of how to pitch your story you’ve got to find out who you need to talk to. When it comes to television, your best bet is to deal with producers, reporters or assignment editors. For newspapers, try to connect with an editor of the section you’re targeting or a reporter that covers that beat. There’s no point in pitching your idea to an advertising executive when you’re looking for free editorial coverage.

Be Polite and Persistent
Newsrooms are often short staffed so don’t be surprised if your calls aren’t returned or your emails don’t get a response. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Just remain polite and persistent and hopefully soon you’ll be rewarded with some free local media attention.

By Alison Storm

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