How to Use the Local Press to Grow Your Small Business

Since you probably put most of your marketing efforts into online media, there is an outlet you most likely haven’t paid much attention to–local mainstream media. You definitely should be paying more attention to online content marketing, but at the same time, it’s advantageous to devote some energy to local media and news outlets, as well.

There are opportunities in that area which also have the potential to give your business a boost of exposure. It’s easy to overlook it. Of course, content marketing is the primary method of reaching new customers these days, but people still consume content through the traditional channels, too.

Mainstream Media Channels Are Not Dead

Local or wider news media channels probably don’t even enter your mind for marketing your business, but they can still be useful in the age of the Internet. It may seem pointless, but there are ways in which your business can benefit by collaborating with media outlets in your local area.

People still read their local paper. They may not consume it in the classic, print version, but they do read it because they’re interested in what’s happening in their community. Assuming that traditional local media is dead is erroneous because traditional outlets are a contact point for local residents. It’s just promoted differently now.

To stay alive, they have been forced to adapt to the new landscape, using different methods to continue to stay relevant in the digital world. They offer web subscriptions or free viewing from their websites, in addition to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media promotion. This makes it easier for you to connect with them and promote your business, as well.

Connect with Local Newspapers, Blogs, & Newsletters

It can be pretty complicated to create a successful marketing campaign in our world of endless online content, but working with local media is simple, a remnant of the old print media which still exists and operates because it has evolved with the new digital trends.

All you have to do is reach out. Local newspapers still publish; so, you just need to make them aware of your business and see if they’re looking to run any stories about anything related to what you do. And there you instantly have an in-depth promotion with their readership for your business.

Another avenue you can check out are any blogs that are writing articles about the industry in which you are working. This is where you can definitely go outside of the locality because though a blog may be based locally, its reach might go beyond the area. So, as long as their content is inclusive of your type of business, you can utilize it to gain exposure with a larger audience.

In fact, it’s important that whatever blog you work with has the largest reach as possible. Many towns, cities, or communities also publish newsletters or mini-magazines that have a pointed focus of informing people about what’s available to them in their communities. These publications generally have a small but loyal audience whom can have great value for you as a local small business.

These are typically short, dense newsletters that people have pay more attention to than a larger local paper because they can more quickly get to what they want, which is the knowledge of places they can go today for whatever they need.

Arrange Interviews with Local Media

Reach out to the right individual working for a local newspaper or other publication, and you can easily get them to publish something that features your small business. It can’t hurt to ask them directly if they would like to set up an interview; there’s no need to wait for some journalist or writer to approach you first and ask for an interview.

When you do come to them, and they seem resistant to the idea, you can simply offer to give a small donation to their organization. A little something to grease the wheels is pretty much guaranteed to secure you an interview for the business.

It obviously depends on how much you want to promote yourself in their publication, but remember that earning loyalty with the locals can gain for you some very loyal customers. It’s a really good idea to serve the local people in your community first, to win their trust and build a loyal base that you can expand outward from there.

The customers you gain beyond your community will most definitely have more faith in your business when they see that your local base already has great trust in you. Basically, it can create some good word-of-mouth advertising.

Interviews with a representative from your company are a wonderful way to promote because it gives you a chance to talk about your best selling points, while also letting people in your community know that you’re there, as many might not even know that you exist.

They’re Probably Already Looking for You

Many local media outlets actively look, specifically, for new or unique small businesses that exist in the community. The best thing about it is that it takes pretty much no money and little time or effort to connect with local media.

They already want to find you and feature your small business in the first place, and they will portray it in a very positive light; so, it’s actually negligent to miss out on that opportunity. Even if they don’t feature your business in your own piece, they can still place you on a list of local businesses that they are recommending for their readers.

Unless it’s a big city, there’s not likely to be a whole lot to write about in most towns, so a featured article about a new business that has just opened up in town is not the worst thing to draw readers to the publication. While these local channels are a great way to engage the community for your business, you always have online marketing if it doesn’t work out.

Local Media Professionals Take Their Work Seriously

When you do approach these people who run the local news, you’ll find that the people working there are very invested in it. Many of them work for free, and they generally truly care about their community because a lot of these people have families there, for one thing, and want to improve the quality of life in the place where they live.

Chances are, they are far more passionate and devoted to their jobs than the regional or national media will ever be. The point is that these professionals will give your business real attention and will be happy to paint it in a flattering light.

To encourage them to write a piece on your business, it also helps to give them something noteworthy, something that really makes your particular business stand out. Maybe you have a tightly-knit team that has been together for a long time, or maybe you give every customer or client something special.

Maybe you have exceptionally friendly customer service. It can be anything; just giving them something unique to showcase about your business will give them an incentive to do it for you.

Local Radio & Podcasts

Most towns and cities have radio stations and podcasts whose sole purpose is to promote what is happening locally. If you prefer, you can just advertise your business normally on the radio; but otherwise, you could interface with radio show-runners more intimately. A paid radio ad will get you some local exposure, obviously, but it’s less air time, for one, and it doesn’t inspire nearly as much social proof as a full-on radio interview.

If you take the time to contact local stations, you would be surprised how many would be willing to do something like that with you. Simply ask them if they would be ok with featuring your business, personally. If they agree, then it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase your best points, your specialties, and what you can offer for the community.

That’s the standard organized media, but you’re probably even more likely to get a spot with a local podcast, which will have more time to spend with you and give you a chance to really promote your business.

Using local media outlets is not something that most businesses consider to be a worthwhile means of advertising or marketing, but to not take advantage of it would be a mistake because you would miss a completely untapped market. The primary benefit of doing this is that it is an excellent way to create a loyal customer base in your community. That is highly underrated these days.


Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

StephanieHow to Use the Local Press to Grow Your Small Business