If you’re interested in raising the public profile of your senior living community or simply getting some publicity for special events, local media provides an effective means for spreading the word.
Local newspapers often have more loyal readership than national daily newspapers, and your target market — seniors and their adult children — are likely to subscribe. Seniors are also among the most devoted viewers of local TV news.
With newsroom staffs dwindling, however, it’s not as easy as it used to be to get a reporter and photographer out to your campus. To mount a successful campaign to increase your local media coverage, you’ll need a plan for putting together compelling messaging and getting it to the right people.
Craft an Enticing Pitch
To get coverage for your community, you’ll need to create and distribute a pitch, typically in the form of a press release. The easier you make things for news editors, the more likely you are to get coverage. Consider what’s newsworthy about your proposed article, and be sure to include the pertinent information — the who, what, when, where and why — along with your contact details.
Find a Timely Hook
If your proposed story has a timely element, you’re more likely to get coverage. For example, you may receive coverage of a class on making gingerbread houses in December, when stories related to Christmas are popular. In addition, don’t be afraid to tie your message to a current national or international story.
Publicize Your Involvement in the Greater Community
When your senior living community sponsors an event that benefits your local area — such as a charity walk or fundraiser — be sure to make that information known to local media. Local news organizations frequently cover events that benefit charities and will often provide you with special coverage when your efforts help the larger area and its citizens.
Cover all the Bases
Most people stick to one or two familiar media sources for the bulk of their information, but there likely are a significant number of outlets in your area. Conduct a search for nearby newspapers, TV stations and radio stations, and use the results to compile a media list. Take time to make some notes about the focus of each media outlet to help you determine whether to send specific pitches — and how to customize them — in the future.
Contact the Right People
Sending your pitch or news release to a specific person is likely to get better results than addressing your inquiry simply to the “news editor.” If you personally know someone with a given news outlet, send your releases to that individual. If you don’t know anyone, look for names on the websites of media outlets you wish to include.
One of the best ways to get coverage on a regular basis is by developing personal relationships with journalists. Consider following some of the journalists in your area on social media, or try to connect with them at local events.
Be Aware of Deadlines
Try to give journalists as much notice as possible about events at your community that you believe warrant coverage. If you have a scheduled event coming up, send a press release several weeks in advance, then call to follow up. Some TV stations will use footage you provide, but staff members will want to know in advance.
It’s unlikely that you will get local media coverage with just one call or email. In most cases, you will need to initiate repeated contacts, and follow up, to secure coverage for any particular event. If you send too many emails, journalists may view your contacts as spam and begin ignoring them. The best strategy is to email your pitch and follow up a day or two later with a phone call.
Build an Engaging Social Media Presence
Rather than reaching out to local media in your area, an alternative way to get coverage is to have the outlets come to you. Many journalists follow strong social media feeds for local companies and charitable organizations as a source for stories. If you start to build a popular social media feed with compelling content, you increase your chances of having a story picked up.
To garner coverage from local media, start attracting attention with your social media presence, create strong pitches, and contact the right people. Walker Marketing can assist you in crafting a media strategy to get your message out in your area.