Writing a local press release is the first step businesses should take when attempting to share their news with the audiences most likely to be impacted. However, there is no guarantee that newspapers, TV, or radio outlets will air it. That said, there are a number of things businesses can do when writing their press releases to increase the likelihood that local media outlets will deem a business announcement newsworthy and share the story with their audiences.
Here are eight often overlooked pro tips to increase the chances your press release will be picked up by media outlets as part of a localized public relations strategy.
1. Get Local Influencers Involved Early & Highlight Them
Local influencers, like radio and television personalities, can be found in most communities and tend to have a more intimate relationship with their followers compared to national influencers like social media experts and celebrities. As a result, they often garner more engagement than large influencers. This makes them great resources for spreading press release awareness.
An influencer is a public person involved with and knowledgeable about a niche and, due to their popularity and the trust they’ve earned from their audience, can sway audience decisions (like what businesses to buy from).
Many tools can help you find and assess local influencers who might be interested in an influencer marketing agreement with your business. For example, starting at $24 per month, BuzzStream helps businesses find local influencers by keyword search, analyze their online engagement rates and presence, and pitch them a win-win agreement for their involvement in your news story (such as a product launch). The tool shows you where the influencer publishes content online, their follower count, their popular content, and their location.
Another way you can find local influencers is to simply look up your area’s local television and radio station websites. These sites regularly feature contact details or social media handles for people involved in their programming and often also include a short biography that you can use to help break the ice in your initial phone or email introduction.
Once you’ve established an agreement with an influencer, highlight their place in your story. To do so, in your press release, include quotes from the influencer about your story and their involvement in it. Consider featuring his or her name in your press release title to showcase your newsworthy angle. Attach or embed a headshot of said influencer or a photo of his or her involvement in your story. Also include a boilerplate for the influencer with a brief description of his or her career, links to his or her blog, and the influencer’s social media handles.
2. Mention Involved or Relevant Locations
When writing your press release, there are a few places where adding the location of your press release news story is advisable. This includes in your initial paragraph, in the body of your press release as appropriate, and in your press release boilerplate. Doing so helps to attract local journalists searching a news wire or search engine by city and state for stories to cover. Here’s a look at what should be included in these sections:
- Initial paragraph: Your initial paragraph should include the who, what, when, where, why, and how of your news story. When describing the “where” of the story, include a city and state at minimum. If you are describing an event, you may include more specific location information, such as at a set business or community location.
- Body paragraphs: If you are issuing an event press release, include the details of your event in bullet-point format so journalists can know where and how to attend when seeking to cover the event for their outlet. This should include the full address of the event, the time the event will take place, and the price of tickets (if applicable).
- Boilerplate: Your boilerplate should include current and historical information about your business. If you are issuing a local press release, you should list the city and state of your business’ location, in addition to other “about us” information.
You can read more about what to include in your local press release by visiting our article on how to write a press release.
3. Use Local Data & Statistics
Statistics can be used to add a newsworthy angle to your story by proving its relevance to local audiences or proving a trending problem the issuing business has a solution to. As such, using local statistics to back up your story claims helps to showcase your press release story as valuable to local consumers or businesses.
For example, if a real estate agent is announcing the launch of her business, she might include statistics about the local market to argue for buying a home in the area and the need for her services. Including these statistics in an infographic can help the agent garner more attention for her business launch, given that press releases with images people can share earn 1.4 times the reads as those without. Because the image includes local statistics, statistics images are more likely to be shared by local audiences and before local audiences.
4. Write a Local Human Interest Story
Think about the news stories you’ve read in the past. If you still remember them, they likely had memorable elements in them. They may have been relatable because you were part of the target audience, but they had something more. Instead of listing dry facts, perhaps the story pulled you in, evoked emotions, introduced you to memorable characters, and made you want to know the ending. Thus, you became personally invested in its outcome.
Such relatable and memorable stories are how journalists build a name for themselves. By offering journalists such a story and saving them the legwork of pulling it all together, you increase the likelihood your news will be published before local audiences. While not all press releases readily invoke such emotions, many can if they are done well.
Product, business launch, new hire, and acquisition press releases are often filled with dry jargon and business speak. But, for a more compelling story, they can instead be told from the perspective of the characters who made such announcements possible, including their struggles, victories, and hopes for the future.
A product launch press release, for example, could become the story of a company beating the odds, offering the industry something revolutionary that competitors have only dreamed of offering. The story may include a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how your company’s experts overcame challenges and uncovered revolutionary new concepts. This may mean including an interview with key engineers as they walk local audiences through the struggles they ran into along the way, a video of the production process of the product, and sneak peeks into future developments your engineers aspire to achieve.
As you tell such stories, put a local spin on them by including faces from the local pool of expertise in videos, interviews, and images. Gather quotes from local influencers who know the impact your business achievement can make in the lives of the community. Even gather local consumers’ thoughts on your news. By including local faces and showing how your community plays a role in why your news story is meaningful, you pull local audiences in and make them part of the story, thus making your news personal, meaningful, and memorable.
5. Optimize Images for Local Search
Some press release distribution services allow you to embed images. You can also embed images if you publish your press release in your own online newsroom. Remember that over 22% of Google searches are in Google Images. So, this is an opportunity to help your press release be discoverable in search by local journalists looking for stories to run in local daily media.
You can help your press release images (and so your press release) be found by local journalists by optimizing them. Here are three ways to optimize your embedded images for local search:
- Include an original local image: Original images (as opposed to stock images) offer value your readers can’t get anywhere else; as such, they offer a better user experience which translates into better rankings in search engines.
- Use location keywords in image file names: Optimize your image file names by including the location of the content and keywords that describe the image. This means changing the image file name from something like IMG_887054 to something like “vegan restaurant Nashville, Tennessee.”
- Use location keywords in image Alt tags: An Alt tag is the name of an image that appears when a digital image does not load properly and is present on the cached text version of the web page on which your press release is published. The best Alt tag descriptions are under 125 characters and clearly tell search engines what an image contains. To write your image Alt tag, include a brief description of the image content and your city and state.
6. Focus on Locally Relevant Distribution Timing
While it’s always advisable to do your research to know the best times to issue a press release, we advise that local businesses go a step further. Consider issuing your press release when it is locally relevant as well.
For example, if you issue a press release about your company’s new green initiative and Earth Day is coming up, if Earth Day is particularly celebrated in your community, embargo your press release to publish on Earth Day. Or, if your company is running a fundraiser, consider doing so on or around Giving Tuesday.
Then, make sure your press release becomes part of the community conversation by adding time-sensitive, locally relevant hashtags. If your community regularly follows a particular hashtag around the aligned community event, use that hashtag when issuing your release. For example, if your community uses the hashtag #GoGreenTennessee for Earth Day, use that hashtag in your release and when announcing your news on social media. Then, highlight its relevance to that day by mentioning Earth Day in your release title and social media copy.
7. Showcase Your Business’ Local Value in Your Boilerplate
Your business should be part of any news story you issue. By telling the story of your local business, you further prove the relevance of your press release to local audiences. Your boilerplate allows you to tell that story. In all, your boilerplate should show readers and journalists what your business has, does, and will do for them. Focus on answering these questions when writing your boilerplate. As you do, you show local audiences your importance in their lives as you’ve helped to support the local economy and its resident families.
As you write your boilerplate, talk about:
- Your location: Tell readers exactly where you are located to set the stage of relevance to your local community as you tell your business story. If you didn’t belong to the community in which you do business, your story would be much less relevant to its residents.
- Your business longevity: Answer how long you have been in business within the community. This tells journalists and local audiences that you are an integral part of their world and so relevant in their lives.
- Your employees: Businesses serve communities in part by offering employment to its breadwinners. Talk about how many community members you’ve employed and how many currently work for you. Doing so shows readers you have a history of offering them valuable jobs to support community families and the local economy.
- Business awards: The awards a business wins tells stakeholders why you are valuable to them. Highlight these awards to further prove your service and place in your local community.
- Mission statement: The mission statement you do business by should delineate how you serve your stakeholders and, as such, how you serve local consumers. Place your mission statement in your boilerplate to offer a promise of value and service to local journalists and readers.
8. Write & Distribute a Complementary Social Media Press Release
A complementary social media press release is a post shared on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and can be used with any type of press release. It should include a brief summary of your release, a link to your full release, and engagement-boosting elements like images, videos, hashtags, and involved influencer handles. This tip allows you to use elements within to target and create buzz among local community members who may be interested in your news.
Similar to your full press release, here are key elements you can use in your social media press release to reach local audiences or journalists interested in covering local stories:
- Hashtags: Hashtags allow you to label your press release with keywords that are relevant to, followed by, conversed about, and searched by local audiences. For example, if your press release announces a business event on Giving Tuesday in your city of Nashville, Tennessee, you could use the popular hashtag #GivingTuesday and a location hashtag like #Nashville to make your content more discoverable among interested audiences.
- Handles: If your press release news involves a local influencer, a great way to make it more discoverable among local audiences is by using the influencer’s handle (@name) in your social media press release copy. This allows your press release to be automatically viewable by the influencer’s audience as well and so helps to build more local awareness around your press release.
- Multimedia: Images can help tint your social media release with a local flare and so encourage community engagement. For example, if a local influencer is involved in your news story, consider (with his or her permission) featuring his or her headshot as part of your release image or adding a video interview to your release. Or, simply include familiar local scenery. This familiarity helps to endear your news story to your readers, making it more likely they’ll engage and so expose your release to their local contacts.
- Copy: When writing your copy for your social media press release, make it clear your audience is a local one by including locations in your release. For example, if your release announces the launch of a new store, state the location, including the city and state. This will cue local readers into its relevance to their audiences and so increase the chance of a share.
Local media coverage allows you to showcase your business news story before location-specific audiences who are most likely to be able to influence business success. When writing a local release, start by implementing standard press release writing practices and formats. Then, make your release stand out locally by showcasing local faces and voices, clearly stating your business relevance to local audiences, optimizing your release to run on a variety of local news outlets, and ensuring your release is issued during locally relevant times.
If you need help writing and distributing your local press release, consider hiring a professional press release writing and distribution service like eReleases. For $300, you get a professionally written press release that’s targeted for local audiences. Then, starting at $299 per release, they offer the ability to target and run your release on search, news wire, and digital and traditional local news outlets, in addition to a guaranteed ability to reach local news desks. Click here to learn more about eReleases.