local news report

Helen Kitchen PR headshotWith many mobility retailers across the UK reopening their doors to the public yesterday after months of retail hiatus, the coming weeks will be vital for companies to entice customers back into stores to start spending again.

For many, this will mean investing more time, effort and resources into marketing and communications to help fuel the sales push and convince consumers that it is safe to venture back into showrooms.

To help mobility retailers reach out and engage with their local community through the media, PR specialist Helen Kitchen, Managing Director of HKPR, provides her top PR pointers for how to gain valuable publicity and exposure.

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By Helen Kitchen, Managing Director of HKPR

Have has anyone seen that Mel Gibson film What Women Want? You know, the one about an ad-man who suddenly finds he can hear what women are thinking?

Well, the secret to getting local journalists interested in your business is to find out what they’re thinking. But there’s no need for drastic measures, like the one Mel Gibson suffered in the film! You just need to ask!

My number one tip to help you attract media attention is to pick up the phone, introduce your business and ask the newsdesk what sort of stories they’re interested in.

If you’ve not had much luck in the past with getting in the news, now’s the time to start showing how you can help make journalists’ jobs easier by becoming a reliable source of interesting local stories.

The impact of COVID-19 on local communities, businesses and older people has been all over the news in recent months. As a local business owner with a predominantly elderly customer base, you’ll have plenty of insights and stories to share, as well as opinions on many issues affecting the people who are reading and ultimately making the local news. And that, in my experience, is exactly what journalists want!

So here are some tips on being a good local media source:

  • Make a list of all the media in your area (newspapers, radio stations, TV stations) and after an initial call to introduce your business, send in a list of your key people including mini-biographies, so they can be contacted for commentary when relevant news or feature stories are covered
  • Offer your premises as a backdrop for TV news footage relating to your sector. If you’re in the local TV news team’s “little black book”, whenever they need to film a local angle on a national story on a topic relating to your industry, yours will be the business they call first!
  • If you’ve got an open day or fundraising activity coming up in your store, make sure you give plenty of notice (up to one week) when you call the newsdesk to let them know about it!
  • Above all, if you do manage to get a journalist interested in your story – MAKE SURE YOU GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. You wouldn’t expect a customer to return to you if you don’t give them the level of service and quality of products they expect, and neither will a journalist come back to cover another story if you don’t treat them well the first time.
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