Think Global, Pitch Local Atlanta

Public Relations delivers great value for business, whether it’s managing a crisis or building stronger relationships. For a small business that cannot afford expensive advertising and promotional campaigns, public relations–smart PR, that is–can make a big difference.

Thanks to the PRSA Georgia Independent Counselors Forum and Mitch Leff, my fellow solo PR and I got the inside scoop on how to pitch local papers via last week’s great panel and “speed dating” sessions.

Not everyone in Atlanta is getting the print news from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The metro Atlanta area is a big sprawling web of more than two dozen counties, with most of its residents living and/or working in the ‘burbs. The editors and publishers on the panel agreed that their readers are interested in local news that directly impacts their communities.

While the big name media outlets may be the bigger ego stroke, the fact is your potential customers often do their shopping locally. That means smaller, local newspapers may be the place to pitch.

  • Ray Appen, Publisher, Appen papers (Revue & News, Forsyth Herald, Johns Creek Herald, Milton Herald) looks at search data. Visitors are coming from Google and search engines and they work to offer news that makes the place for readers to find what they need. Tip: It’s about the link love for you and your local small business.
  • Brian Clark, Managing Editor, Neighbor Newspapers (many of the metro suburbs and neighborhoods). Local news is about the people, so the information and the pictures are what make the stories connect with the readers. Tips: You have about 10 seconds to impress, whether it’s the writer, the editor or the reader. Following up is good, stalking is not.
  • John Schaffner, Editor, Reporter Newspapers (Brookhaven, Buckhead, Sandy Springs) biweekly papers offering neighborhood news on people, events and businesses specific to these areas. Tip: Know the publication and audience you’re pitching. If it does not relate directly to the local area, don’t pitch it.
  • Kirsten Palladino, Life and Food Editor, The Sunday Paper, a weekly paper that covers local news, travel, arts and entertainment including the local theatre and music scenes. Tip: They are delivering news with their own unique perspective and creative voice, so don’t give them the same pitch you give everyone else.
  • Tripp Liles, Publisher/Owner of the Roswell Current. The paper’s focus is also people, events, businesses that impact its readers–mostly female–in Roswell and the surrounding cities like Sandy Springs. Tip: Plan ahead and submit information in a timely manner.

Are you where your customers are? While discussing the growing number of media outlets, emerging new and social media–and how that impacts small businesses, advertisers, and readers–Ray Appen quoted Herbert Simon:

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

While many of us consume news from Google and mass media, local media gets your customers’ attention because it hits them where they live. Shouldn’t your PR and marketing do the same?

Want More? Keep Reading.