As a journalist, I’ve covered news in Phoenix, Miami and New York – and all three markets couldn’t be more different when it comes to getting stories on the local news. News is covered differently based on the region of the country and even the city.
So how do you get the local news to write or run a story on your event?
Many PR blogs will advise you to pick up the phone and call. As a guy who received those calls from publicists, I would advise you differently.
Instead of picking up the phone and calling a random reporter you have never met, you should first put your thoughts down in writing. This will keep you more focused and concise when you try to explain the story to a reporter.
Most people ramble on when they get reporters on the phone. It’s a normal trait since they are likely excited when they finally get through, but it will work to your disadvantage quickly if you don’t communicate the angle of the story within the first minute.
If the news desk likes your story, they will also ask you for something in writing, so these notes will help you sell the story later.
Finally, if the TV station says they don’t have a photographer to send to your event, don’t give up. Ask if you can send them video. We’ve done this for many clients and the local TV station ran the story. Smaller TV markets are also more likely to run your video.
Most important – make sure your email gives detailed information on your organization for the story because a local TV station can’t write a story if they don’t have the information for the story.
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR or MarketYourFund.com