Plenty of people eye-roll when I suggest pitching local media, but don’t knock on local media placements until you try it! Local media placements are an effective way to get your message across to communities who really care, but perhaps more importantly, they help build and generate awareness for your brand that is essential to landing national media!

So you might say, local media is VERY important, and I would even say necessary in most cases! I recently had the chance to go live on Instagram with Liz Palka, Lead Publicist at Nardi Media and former local media reporter, who broke down all things local media. We talk about why it matters, the best tactics for pitching local media, and how to get started on outreach.

Here’s a snapshot of what we chatted about:

A: Why is having a local media presence so important for building your brand and thought-leadership?
L: If you want to target a community regionally, this is the best way to do it. I’ve found that people really trust their local news outlets because they’ve known and watched/listened to/read their material for many years.

A: How do you get started pitching?
L: Think like a reporter. What might they need, what might be important to them, and what ties your story to that particular community? You can also localize a national story that speaks directly to that community. For TV, think about what journalists could be working on. Most also want photos and videos so make sure you have some on hand!

A: How do you stand out when pitching local media?
L: Your subject line should be unique, catchy, and as short as possible. Try leading with STORY IDEA. Also, do some research and figure out which reporters might like your story idea. Maybe they’ve done similar stories in the past, or maybe they’re tied to your story personally. Reach out to them individually.

A: What goes into a pitch?
L: Unless it’s a feature they’re working on or a long-term project, you should think about what’s newsworthy and timely right now. Address this in your pitch and how it relates to the local community, and share that you have an expert (or that you are the expert) to speak to this topic. Then write up takeaways and talking points in bullet form.

A: What is the lead time for local media pitching?
L: Shorter than longer, usually. Most local journalists don’t always have the luxury of planning out in advance. Sometimes the journalist will tell you to be prepared right away, other times you might have a few days to prepare.

A: Is it worth pitching local TV during a holiday week?
L: It’s definitely wise to pitch, whether a few days out or the day of the holiday. Journalists might be working on holiday-related stories but they’re also always looking for unique stories to cover.

A: How do you insert yourself into local news without looking too opportunistic?
L: Use local studies that support your story. The CDC for example has plenty of them. If it’s breaking news especially, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call journalists to jump on the news as quickly as you can.

A: What are some ways to make connections to local media stories and journalists?
L: Start by researching the market and really learn and know the market. Be a student of the game. Research local reporters, read their bios, and see if there’s something you can pull out of that. When you find something they’re connected to, they’re more likely to approach your story idea with a little more zeal and energy. And don’t forget to follow them on Twitter!

A: What types of videos do you recommend sending to reporters?
L: Things are changing in local news all the time, so the best thing you can do is ask the reporter what they’re looking for and what would work best for them. And don’t forget the power of photos, which by the way, don’t have to be fancy. Cell phone or Instagram photos go a long way, and there are ways reporters can use them to create a video for TV segments.

A: Any parting thoughts?
L: Support your local news! Watch them, listen to them, grab the local paper! And don’t discount local news as an important way to get your message out. It really is a great way to build thought-leadership and brand presence.

CLICK HERE to watch the full IG LIVE with Ashley + Liz!