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Social media is a great way to get your message out and communicate with your clients. But if you’re looking to reach a really broad audience and get the word out to your local community, you should consider trying to get some traditional media—the local media—to talk about your business also.

Talking to the media, no matter what size paper or news station they work for, can seem intimidating. You might be worried that they won’t be interested in your business, event, or story. Remember, when you get ready to call or contact, that the media are people like everyone else, and it’s your job to pitch the story of your business to them.

Know Who You’re Pitching To

This gets to one of the most important things in contacting the media: make sure you know who you’re talking to. Hey Press is a great site to help you find media contacts in your area if you’re looking for local coverage.

Once you have the names of reporters and freelancers, do a bit of research. What does this person usually write about? If they cover the business section, pitch them the story of your new local business. If they’re human interest, tell them about an upcoming event, a special client, and recent development. If they cover entertainment and travel, pitch them about the opportunities for adventure your company provides.  Maybe there’s even someone whose beat is your neighborhood.

Just like any other pitch, it’s up to you to show the media what value can be gained by covering your business and its story.

Be Creative

Having a reporter cover your business isn’t the only way to get the media excited about your business. Just like everyone else, the media are always looking for ways to capture the public interest and get more people to pay attention to their work. So don’t be afraid to pitch outside the box!

As I told David Kortje in our recent Hot Seat Coaching episode, try to get stations to film at your business. Maybe for a day the weather report can come from inside your gym, and maybe the anchors can come and test their climbing skills. Propose creative ways that using your facilities can help the media station to gain more attention too.

Even if it’s not a story specifically about your business, just having a camera there, having your company name mentioned can do a lot of work on brand recognition and local awareness.

Building Contacts

Reporters and members of the media are always on the hunt for new stories. Remember, it’s part of their job! So don’t be afraid to let them know about your business. If you’ve done your homework and are sending the right pitch to the right person, they’ll thank you for it and you’ll have built a contact for the future, even if this story didn’t work out.  So take a look at Hey Press and the sites for your local paper and news stations, and start pitching!