Due to the fact that public relations (PR) often gets a bad rap for “spinning the truth”, businesses - especially small businesses - are anxious about hiring someone to handle their PR. However public relations entails much more than that. In fact public relations can be defined as the management of communication between a company and their customers to create mutually beneficial relationships. PR is about making sure your brand's reputation, values, and products are known by your target audience.
What is local PR?
For many companies they feel as if they can only reach out to national media, and try to get their campaigns and stories on the biggest platforms. According to Hubspot, local PR is about building brand awareness and creating positive and engaging customer relationships within a business's community. Local PR takes all of the aspects of public relations, such as maintaining a good brand image, and focuses it at the community level.
Businesses create lasting connections and relationships with the community, which can lead to more brand loyalty from customers. Local media is constantly looking for local news and events in the area to promote and talk about. Getting close with your local media will make your relationship stronger and ultimately they will then be more likely to come to you first if they need a story. No matter how big or small your business, it is important to practice local PR.
Strategies to use:
All PR campaigns and strategies start out with SMART goals. These are goals that you wish the campaign will accomplish and that you can accurately measure. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. If your goal is to increase awareness of your brand make sure that you can obtain this goal by making it SMART. Goals also help you evaluate your campaign not only at the end but throughout the campaign, they allow you to see what is working for your target audience and what isn’t, which helps you better understand how to improve.
Find the angle
Media outlets in the community are not looking for the next big national story, unless of course it has to do with their local city. Finding a way to connect your company to the local environment encourages the public to feel like you care about the community. Things like donating to local charities shows that you support the locals and want to see the city succeed. This also helps with local media, as your actions as a business impact the local community and then outlets are likely to share your story.
Host local events
Whether you're hosting the event or not, it is important to be involved in local events. If you’re hosting the event it is easier to get local media to attend and give you the coverage you are wanting. Also be sure to include the community in the event. For example, you could have the high school football team give out prizes or something similar, to make the community want to attend even more. Even if you're not the one hosting the event you should still do what you can to be involved with the event. You can donate to the event or volunteer, as long as you’re getting your name out into the community. As a result of this, people are not only seeing that you are being active in the community but will recognize your brand and trust it more.
Use local media
As mentioned before, national news and getting national attention is tough. However, local media can be easier to reach and build a relationship with. Local media usually will share a positive outlook on your campaign, because they want to keep their news more positive than national media. Another perk of using local media is being able to keep in contact with them. Keeping a good relationship with the media will give them trust in your future stories as well as your company. It is important to keep your relationship professional, do not spam the media with emails and press releases trying to get your word out there, but do make sure they are getting your messages.
At Inner Spark we know how crucial local PR is for your brand and company and want to work with you to make sure your campaigns are successful. If you are looking for help with PR don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.