How to generate local PR for your business…and what’s the point of doing so, anyway?
This all-important and not-so-secret key to success centres around your ability to generate positive publicity and build a strong reputation within your local community.
Author: Lucy Archer, co-founder, Rev PR
Whether you’re a franchisor, a franchisee, or any business owner, what’s one of the most important factors that determines your success? The title of this article is a bit of a giveaway really, but a question is a great way to make a point, isn’t it?
This all-important and not-so-secret key to success centres around your ability to generate positive publicity and build a strong reputation within your local community. More commonly known as public relations (PR).
What’s the point of PR?
Well, forgive me for saying but if people don’t know you exist, they’re unlikely to buy from you. And, arguably worse, if they do know you exist but don’t like, trust or rate you, then not only will then never buy from you, but they may influence others not to either. Yikes.
Here then, is where local PR comes in. It’s all about creating a positive image of your business within your local community by telling stories about the businesses and people who live, study and work there. And it can be incredibly effective in generating buzz, attracting customers, and building trust.
We’re in a hearts and minds era
Whether you like it or not. And no matter what product or service your business offers, you must speak to the heart if you want to engage the mind and compel people to act.
Anyone who has chatted to me, or anyone else at Rev PR for that matter, since the start of the pandemic will attest to the fact that on this point, we sound a bit like a stuck record. But that’s because it’s so important and something that even now, many business owners are still getting wrong. LIKE and TRUST are two of the most important currencies in the world of business today.
So, how do you actually ‘do’ local PR?
Admittedly, it can feel daunting to put yourself and your business under the spotlight. Many franchisees (and franchisors for that matter) tell us that they simply don’t know what to talk about or where to start.You’ll be pleased to know, none of what you need to do is rocket-science. It does, however, require time, energy and commitment. But trust me, it’s worth it!
Rev PR’s top tips to get you started
Identify your target audience. Before you start creating your local PR strategy, it’s important to identify who your target audience is. This could be potential customers, investors, or even other businesses in your community. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can tailor your messaging and tactics to appeal to them.
Build relationships with local journalists. These contacts have great influence and can be powerful allies in generating local PR for your business. Take the time to research local journalists who cover your industry, or your niche within it or regularly cover the type of story you’re hoping to take out to them.
Reach out with a friendly introduction prior to or at the very least, with a pitch for a story. Building relationships with journalists takes time and effort but will pay dividends in the long run.
Host events and sponsor local causes. If you’re just starting out, a grand opening event is a must and the ideal way to generate your first pieces of local PR. Whether you are premises-based or work from home, have a service or product, are a B2B or B2C business, there’s a way to generate coverage around your launch. Check out the resource centre on our website for some advice and how-to guides.
But what about if you’re already well-established or never got round to holding a grand opening? In this case, hosting a timely, themed event or sponsoring local causes is a great way to get your business in the spotlight. Consider partnering with a local charity or non-profit, inviting some of their key stakeholders along and genuinely doing your bit to raise money, awareness or make a difference.
Or why not host an open day or experience, a free trial or a community-focused event that aims to bring people together and tackle a local issue. This is where a franchisee’s local knowledge becomes invaluable because you know what is happening in your area and you must leverage that knowledge!
Create valuable content. This is key to generating any PR for your business, but especially local PR. What issues are affecting people in your area right now? What questions do your customers have? What information and knowledge do you possess that your target audiences need to know? This is a classic case of ‘give a little, get a lot’.
The beauty of this type of content is that not only does it generate local PR and, therefore, raise awareness of your brand, it also sets you as a local expert and a business that people can trust. That’s what we call a win-win. Don’t forget you should squeeze every last drop out of this content by repurposing it for use on your blog, across social media and even as video content.
Leverage local social media. Social media is often seen as a sweeping, national and even global monster that cannot be tamed. But that’s just not true. Used thoughtfully, social media can be a powerful tool for generating and spreading local PR for your business. Research appropriate local groups and identify key influencers – be that by industry, interest or even location. Build relationships and look for ways you can genuinely work with influencers that will benefit both audiences.
Keep it local
This could be the biggest tip of all! It sounds obvious but if you want to be in your local media, make sure your stories and news items are locally focused. Hyper local is perfect. The more local references you can bring in, the more village, town or city history you can cite, the more generations of a local family linked in, the better. Remember to include those details in your pitches to really grab the attention of your media contacts.
Generating local PR for your business takes time and effort – all the best things do, right? But with an ongoing focus and commitment, you will attract new customers, build trust, and position your business for long-term success. What’s not to love?
Shift your perspective
There’s also one final – and very important – nugget that works on any level, be it local, regional or national. It’s actually about a mindset shift rather than a specific action. And it’s to stop trying to sell when you talk to customers in your content. People are looking for more – for connection, for community, for purpose. Hearts and minds. And the best way to do that is through stories – so, go tell them.
Team Rev regularly write articles about hot topics and share PR advice like this to help you make the most of your PR activity. If you fancy a chat about local PR in more detail then get in touch.