Let’s face it, grabbing the attention of the national media can be exciting, a marketing coup that gives your brand coast-to-coast publicity in front of a wide and diverse audience.
Believe me, as a public relations professional I understand as well as anyone the allure of such attention and why it is so enticing to so many.
But national exposure isn’t the only exposure that’s important. I also believe it’s worthwhile to nurture relationships with your hometown news media so that when they have a sudden need for an expert on your topic, your name bubbles to the top of their list.
Just last week, we enjoyed such a moment at EMSI when a television news crew from WFLA Channel 8 in Tampa needed to interview a social media strategist for a story about a teenage boy accused of using Snapchat to threaten a teenage girl. The boy told the girl he would post explicit photos he had of her if she didn’t send him more photos.
For the uninitiated, Snapchat is an app that allows you to share a quick photo or video with a friend. The gimmick with Snapchat is that the photo or video is supposed to disappear in 10 seconds or less, presumably tossed down a cyberspace black hole, never to be seen again.
Skeptical of that? Me, too!
Ditto for the news crew, who wanted someone who could discuss whether that’s really the case, and also to speak with authority on the dangers of posting anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your Aunt Mabel to see.
The reporter telephoned Russ Handler, our TV campaign manager, asking for help and within the hour the reporter and his camera operator were in our office interviewing one of our social media strategists, Jeremy Juhasz.
Just before the news crew arrived, Jeremy did a quick wardrobe change, slipping on a shirt with the EMSI logo. That fast thinking proved especially important because the TV reporter identified Jeremy as a social media strategist, but made no mention of EMSI.
That’s somewhat unusual. Typically a person’s affiliation gets a mention, or at the very least is shown onscreen with their name. But as you can’t always count on that, it’s good to be prepared with a shirt or a background prop, with your company’s name or logo, to make the most of the air time.
But an even more important point is that it was no accident the reporter turned to Russ in his hour of need.
We’ve had a long-term relationship with the TV station, providing our in-house experts as weekly contributors to discuss all aspects of social media on their 4 p.m. news hour. As it turns out, this particular reporter didn’t know us, but his producer did and pointed him in our direction.
That was fantastic for us and a similar relationship could be for you as well. Let me share three reasons why it’s so valuable to get local press coverage and become the go-to guy for the media.
- Anyone can make claims about their expertise, but when clients and potential clients see that the media turns to you, it’s an implicit endorsement that you are an expert in your field whose opinion is worth listening to. This gives you priceless credibility.
- It leverages you as an expert over your competition. After all, out of all the possible choices in the community, it was you the media called on when they needed insight into the latest happenings in your field.
- If you’re good, you can become a regular contributor making routine appearances in print, on the radio or on TV. Local TV appearances are especially important because they help build your on-air resume, laying a foundation that could lead to opportunities with national TV shows that are much tougher to break into.
Most of these hometown media moments won’t happen every day, every week and probably not even every month.
But if you have laid the groundwork and are prepared to act quickly when the call comes, that carefully cultivated relationship could yield valuable exposure you can capitalize on long after viewers turn off the TV or recycle the newspaper.
P.S. If you need advice on the best strategies for gaining local and national media attention, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 211 or simply reply to this email.