With competition fierce among small business owners, a step back in time to good old fashioned communication is what can possibly separate the new breed of owners to the old. One excellent way to get this level of attention and reach is via local media.

Local media are the local papers, radio stations and similar media outlets in your area that share information about services, products and businesses. However there’s a tiny trick to getting these special places to mention you and refer traffic back to your store or website. See our tips below on how to get local media to talk about you.

local newspaper

image (via Ihis.com)

1. Send A Letter –

Before you try the first approach which is to visit, it’s good practice to send a quick note via email first to introduce yourself and perhaps set an appointment time. Most local newspaper offices and radio stations are busy and do not welcome unannounced and uninvited strangers. So an introduction letter making personal contact or even an invitation to a local event, would surely warm the cockles out of any editor. Try the soft approach and warm your way into a spot in the local paper.

2. Use Social Media –

What self respecting local media person today is not involved in and active on social media. From Twitter to Facebook and even Pinterest; it’s a good bet that local media personnel is on one of these platforms. Find out which one and get to talking and sharing with each other. In no time at all, you’ll get to discuss your business and possibly score a coveted appearance in local media. You can also alternatively get a tad aggressive and simply ask outright about a mention in either the local paper or radio. The worst that can happen is that they say no or instead – they might ask you for more details and want to discuss it further.

3. Visit In Person –

When all else fails, the next best thing is to hop in your car and take a personal jaunt into the local media office. It’s prudent to try steps one and two above prior to showing up announced without a point of contact. However if you do have a contact and have an idea on how to best approach this person, now is the time to try it. You can start by mentioning that you have a great product or service and you want all the locals to know about it. Be sure to also have some type of special deal to offer local residents upon their initial contact.

4. Show Them What You Can Do –

Sometimes the absolute best way to get others interested in your product or service is to simply show the benefits, results, etc. This is one of the smartest things a small business owner can do to get others interested in what they offer. For example, if you’re a florist and wish to get mention in a local paper, why not donate some of your best and prettiest Roses to the local Hospice. What you would want to do next is make sure to document the event and let your local paper know about it. Maybe send them a few good photos or simply write something up about it in your company blog, then direct the local paper editor to the blog. This way, you get to promote your flower shop without actually promoting your flower shop. It’s called free press.

If you step outside the box and get creative with your approach, you will discover numerous marketing opportunities. First and foremost, figure out what your USP (unique selling proposition) is – then offer your best pitch to local media. This alone will not guarantee you local media coverage, but it will net you a foot in the door; which is half the battle.

Written by Missy Diaz who likes writing about the Exhibit Deal Displays and Banner stands. When she’s not busy providing web content, she loves a good book, a swim and especially a good hike.