How To Use The Home-Field Advantage to Promote Your Business

If you are operating a Shared Services in a local market characterized by strong competition in recruiting, with a number of companies chasing the same valuable talent (Eastern Europe, Asia,…you know who you are), then one thing you could do is to raise your brand awareness in the local market. Marsha Friedman knows a thing or two about media engagement. Here, she shares tips on how to connect with local channels that wield influence, and how to pitch a story they’ll be interested in …

When you’re after publicity for your business, it never hurts to think locally and make use of your home-field advantage.

By that I mean local TV shows and talk radio shows; hometown newspapers and magazines; and locally oriented blogs. The one thing they have in common is they are looking for local content, and that’s what you have to offer.

If you can give them useful information or a great human interest story – especially if you can link it to something in the news – you just might become the next media darling.

The challenge, of course, is getting the media’s attention to begin with.

Let me share a few tricks for landing local media coverage.

  • If you normally listen to your favorite FM rock station or your iPod while driving around town, it’s time for a change. Push the AM button and tune in to local talk radio shows. Who are the hosts? What’s their subject matter? Are they talking about something related to your topic? (Your topic, by the way, is not your company. It’s the helpful information you can provide as an expert.) Identify shows that would be a good fit for you as a guest.
  • If you haven’t already, acquaint yourself with your hometown newspaper and other locally produced publications. (If you aren’t aware of other publications, look for them at newsstands and near news racks at shopping centers.) You also can search online for community news websites and blogs. Start reading. Your aim is to take note of the topics particular reporters write about, and which editors are in charge of which sections. The more you can tailor your pitch to an individual, the better your chances of getting his or her attention. Also, notice whether they publish content contributed by readers or freelancers. If so, you may want to offer up your own article.
  • Local TV stations generally broadcast news shows a few times a day. Look for guest-oriented segments by watching the morning news. See which anchors are interviewing guests and the topics they’re covering. Do some anchors have particular interests? Which ones might be relevant to something you could discuss? Learn more about them by visiting their websites and social media pages. Look for the names of producers, too, and their areas of responsibility. You’ll want to pitch to them as well.

Once you have identified the people you want to pitch ideas to, look for a news hook or angle. What are some of the local news, issues or trends that you could talk about? For example, in a weak economy when everyone is looking to cut costs, you might offer to share five reasons outsourcing works for businesses.

Pitching to the media requires research, creativity and persistence, but once you’re familiar with the local players, it gets easier. It should get easier still after you’ve given their viewers, listeners or readers useful information. Remember: Focus on sharing your expertise in a helpful way.