In part one of “How to Be Your Own Public Relations Firm,” we discussed Help A Reporter Out. Now that you’ve all joined HARO, you’re ready for the next level of self-promotion. In addition to a multitude of social media options, there are many ways to score traditional media hits for your company.
For example, in the Phoenix market, The Arizona Republic asks citizen reporters to submit content in what it calls “news by you.” It’s an invitation for community representatives to share news stories written in the same manner as those generated by the publication.
For those of you who still read paper newspapers, you may have noticed that they thinned out during the recession. That hasn’t been limited to the little guys—the big guys are feeling it, too. Many papers have been forced to lay off reporters as advertising dollars have diminished. It’s the same story in every city, which is why “news by you” or “citizen reporter” (or whatever the section may be called in your city) is an opportunity for you.
What types of announcements fit in “news by you” sections? Really, anything that is interesting to your surrounding community. Consider these options:
• New-hire announcements (if possible, include head shots)
• Company philanthropy initiatives
• Any partnerships or programs you’ve initiated with local high schools, hospitals, or other community entities (include photos from any public meetings or events with the organization)
• Expert tips on relevant, top-of-mind topics (such as insights on area foreclosures, etc.)
• Summary of recent community events sponsored by your organization (be sure to offer photos from the event)
• Contests you’ve launched that invite members of the local community to participate
Also, keep in mind that anything you write for your own blog or e-newsletter may be useful for your local publication. Make sure that the article is designed to inform rather than sell. Be as unbiased as possible. Your article should read as if a journalist wrote it.
Do yourself a favor and take a moment to research the local publications around you. Initiate a relationship with your local editors. Ask yourself if the information you have would be valuable to community readers. If in doubt, pitch a reporter or editor first with a simple email to gauge her interest in the story you have to offer. It couldn’t hurt, right?
Are any of you already engaged with your local media through practices such as those mentioned above? If so, we want to hear what has worked and what hasn’t. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments as well.