Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Here’s your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on the VIP list for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)
Local media is often your first and best place to go for publicity. Because your local newspaper is in the business of covering local events and people, reporters really do want to hear from you. Fact.
Before you dismiss because you’re holding out for “something bigger,” take note: those freebie papers stacked all over town typically have more local readers than the national dailies. Becoming famous in your field often starts with being famous in your own ‘hood!
Today’s fame booster is to find local reporters.
1. First, look up your local newspaper’s website.
Once you’re there, look at the different sections of the paper. Where does your news belong? Here are some typical newspaper sections:
Lifestyle or Home
2. Next, find the staff listing or instructions on submitting your news.
Often you’ll find it through links at the top or bottom of the page. If you don’t see a link or button labeled “Submit News,” look for “Contact Us” or “Help.”
Once you’ve found the department or staff list, look for reporters assigned to the “beat” where your story belongs. Reporters who cover a specific beat are specialists reporting on a particular issue, sector organization or institution over time. Examples of beats include crime, City Hall, higher education, business, or real estate.
(Crain’s Detroit Business gives its readers a snappy tutorial on how to get your news in Crain’s. The guidelines apply to almost any media outlet.)
3. Research your reporter.
When you’ve found the reporter who covers your topic or metro area, go back to the newspaper’s home page, and search for the reporter’s name. Read the last five articles to get a feel for the types of stories the reporter writes.
Make note of the topic and how the article is structured. If the story features a business, does it also include quotes from customers? Competitors? Critics?
The more you can provide the reporter a full package, the more likely the reporter is to write about you. (Journalists are overworked and underpaid, so the easier you make their job, the more often they’ll turn to you for stories and commentary.)
4. Organize your “extras.”
Before you submit your news item, collect the contact information and permission of others who can “flesh out” the topic. It may be a few customers or a local college professor who can comment on a trend related to your business niche or expertise.
Do you have high quality pictures? Video? Or is there a photo opportunity in your story? Having good quality images ups your chances of being included by a big margin.
(Pro tip: be sure to get ‘em before you reach out to the media! Trying to stage photos or get them from another source will cost precious time. Before you know it, your story will be too old to print. Sad face.)
5. Increase your odds.
Even after you have gathered as much information as you can from the web, you may need to call the paper for more info.
Here are some questions to ask:
- What is the deadline for submitting news items and events?
- How do they prefer to receive news releases: via online submission form? Email?
- Is there a special web link or email address for submissions?
- Should news releases be directed to the attention of a particular individual?
- If they prefer email submissions, do they want the news release in the body of the email or as an attachment?
- Do they accept photographs or only use those taken by their own photographers?
- Is there a specific editor or reporter assigned to cover your field or topic?
Your Fame Boosting Assignment:
Jump on Google and find the website of your favorite local publication. Follow these steps to zero in on the reporter who wants what you’ve got. It’s time for YOU to get found in the crowd.