Think Local: Tips for a Community-Focused Press Release
Published on January 29th, 2013 by Renee Sylvestre-Williams
Bigger is not always better in finding an audience for your press release. Not every news item demands the entire world’s attention. In fact, the content of most releases appeals to a very specific audience – oftentimes a targeted industry segment or consumer demographic. However, sometimes your most valuable readers are just down the street.
Going “local” is not just a boutique dining ethos. Keeping news targeted in a specific community can be the best way to ensure your press release isn’t lost in the glut of content being disseminated over the most well-trodden media channels. Furthermore, journalists and bloggers want stories that lend a sense of exclusive readership – that this news affects their community, and by extension, their lives. By identifying news that resonates with a local community and pinpointing specific interests within that area, you can help build an organic conversation started around your press release.
First, what news is best suited for local distribution? Consider the following types of press releases:
- Community events – These events can be as small as a neighborhood art show or as large as an international trade conference. Whether business journals want to report an event’s economic impact, or nearby residents simply want to share a night out with their friends, community events have a multitude of local angles for a story.
- Local achievement – Unlike a nationally syndicated profile, highlighting an individual in a local story doesn’t need to be grandiose in scope. Instead, the fact that someone from the community is making headlines can be enough of a draw for area publications. Examples of these kinds of press releases could be an individual winning an award, publishing a book, or making waves through their philanthropic interests.
- Neighborhood business news – Whenever a company adds jobs or expands to a new facility, the surrounding community is often an unsung benefactor. Positive stories of economic recovery are especially welcome as the nation continues to recover from the 2008 crash.
Once your story is written, you’ll just need to ensure that it’s been prepared for the best possible pick-up in the community. Consider these three areas to improve a press release for a local audience:
- Distribution – This may be obvious, but make sure your release is being sent over a local channel. While you may have to forgo the possibility of reaching larger media outlets in other parts of the country (or world), choosing a local circuit will ensure that the release reaches the local media, which will be the most likely to follow-up with the story anyway.
- Headline – Make sure to include some indication of the community in the release headline. Journalists may only make a determination on whether to read the release based on the headline, so including city names, neighborhoods or the name of a local event is key.
- SEO – Finally, always optimize your release for the best local search engine results. Hyperlinking phrases that speak to a local audience, particularly in the 1st paragraph of your release, will help bring up your release in search engines and across social media.