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Getting featured in your local newspaper is a great way to get exposure, and it is free! In addition to reaching a local target for your niche market, many papers have online versions, enabling you to post the link to the article on your website, blog, etc.
What to do:
1) Decide what you have done that is newsworthy and of local interest.
Are you publishing a book? Organizing a fundraiser or community event? Starting a new business, new location, or offering new services?
For ideas, take a look at your local paper for the kinds of printed, long and short stories. For example, papers often feature local authors. So if you have published an eBook or print book, there’s a good chance they will write about you.
The story doesn’t have to be related to your business. The point is to get your name in the paper to be at least a mention of what you do professionally. For example, if gardening is your hobby and they have a gardening section, you can write an article on gardening tips.
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2) Write a press release. Be concise, and include key information.
If you’ve never written a press release, search the internet for some tips. The paper is likely to edit and contents, so don’t be surprised if what you see in print doesn’t match what you sent! Remember the 5 W’s and one H: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
3) Submit a press release to multiple publications.
If you live in a town/city which borders a major metropolitan area, submit to newspapers for both areas. Also, consider any magazines and journals that are a good fit for your topic.
The larger publications have the advantage of a larger distribution. The advantage of the smaller publications is that they may have more time and space for a reporter to do a personal interview with you!
4) Be Patient!
I don’t hear back right away; the paper may have a backlog of potential stories. For example, because eBooks have made self-publishing so affordable, it could take several months to be featured as a local author.
5) Add a published story to your Personal Portfolio.
Get in the habit of maintaining a special folder of your accomplishments, training, awards, etc.
Whatever your field of expertise, you can always benefit from free advertising! Your local newspaper is a great avenue to get more exposure and add to your credibility. If you don’t think you’ve done anything newsworthy – think again. Look for the entire newspaper, magazines, and journals, looking for connections to things you have done. Send a press release – and you are on your way!