Regional and trade media coverage can have a surprising impact on your business.
Having your company’s name splashed across the pages of top national media outlets is a dream scenario for most business owners. Is this what’s best for your business, though? Will it help sell more of your product or attract customers to use your service? For many businesses, the answer is often a surprising “no”.
Business owners already know that when operating a small-to-medium enterprise, you need to be smart. Not only in making the right decisions for the success of your business, but also about how you spend your time and money. When human and financial resources are in limited supply, you want to ensure that your energy is focused on only those things that will add value to your business.
With this in mind, it’s important to consider three primary things when it comes to your PR strategy: your audience, your story, and where you can arrange a meeting of these two key factors. And here, we make the case for a renewed focus on regional and trade media for coverage that converts.
About the News
People perceive national and local news differently. A recent media trust survey found that 73% of Americans have confidence in local newspapers, while only 59% trust national newspapers. And although news consumption continues to trend towards digital outlets, a majority of Americans still cite their local news as being an important connection between them and their community.
Print news, in particular, offers broad local exposure; an efficient way to connect your product or service with your entire community. Local news teams work hard to foster good relationships with community organizations, business owners and local leaders in a way that’s not expected of outlets with a national reach. Building trust with the community in this way helps publishers develop a loyal and proactive readership that, in turn, can benefit the businesses seeking out coverage in these local outlets.
Consider Your Audience
As a new, or even a seasoned, business owner, it can be surprising to learn that coverage in your local newspaper or on local TV converts more readily to actual results than a piece in The New York Times. Local news teams tailor their coverage to that which is most interesting or useful to their local audiences. So, if your product or service is local or regionally based, the most powerful and effective way to reach a valuable audience is to make sure your company has a presence where your customers are.
Who Can Best Tell Your Story?
If your business provides a niche product or service, chances are, a general consumer publication won’t always be able to do your topic justice. Even with the best stories, it’s all about resources, and many general publications are catering to an audience with a wide variety of wants and needs. At most, you can expect a general overview of your topic, rather than the ‘deep dive’ you might believe it deserves.
In this situation, trade publications are an ideal vehicle for sharing your company’s story. Staff writers will be more familiar with your industry or approach, the publication itself exists to devote time and column inches to more in-depth articles and, perhaps most importantly, its readership is made up of people who are specifically seeking to know more about companies like yours.
Increase the Lifespan of Your Coverage
While the number of trade publications appearing in print has declined over the past decade, online versions have continued to grow. Digital coverage of your product or service has a much longer lifespan than the articles featured in the print version of today’s Washington Post (for example). Your article can be shared, tweeted, discussed, and posted again and again in different online locations, sometimes even by other niche publications or blogs, ensuring it is seen by a much greater audience.
Seek out online editors for local, regional, and trade outlets, as well as outlets that are online-only.
Boost Your Reputation and Credibility
Peer-reviewed science and medical journals are great examples of publications that cement a scientist or medical professional’s credibility and reputation. Having research included in a respected journal can be a career-defining moment. In a similar way, industry professionals look to certain respected publications as providers of objective and valuable information. Having your product or service featured by key industry trade outlets is a sure way to strengthen your company’s reputation in the eyes of fellow providers. If you’re starting out, this is a good way to introduce yourself and your company to your industry. If you have strong opinions to share about issues that affect your industry, regular, carefully crafted contributions to respected trade publications are an excellent way to position yourself as a thought-leader.
As a business owner, time is money. Dedicating resources to a strong public relations strategy will increase awareness of your company, positioning you as an industry-leading provider and converting to an increase in sales or services rendered. But, in order to get the most return on your PR efforts, it’s important to include regional and trade media outreach in your overall strategy.