Handelsblatt, Wirtschaftswoche, WELT and FAZ: Many PR clients have a precise idea of which media they want to appear in. The wish list includes: high circulation, nationwide readership and very good reputation. Regional daily newspapers or even weekly papers are usually not considered – and this can be a strategic mistake.
Of course, it is important for companies to appear in the major leading media. However, some target groups can be reached much better through local media. For real estate companies and project developers, for example, it is extremely important to include local daily newspapers and weekly papers in their communication strategy. They are multipliers and can win over citizens and residents with their reporting against or in favour of a project. But also industrial companies or public authorities should have the smaller publications in their region on their list, because they might come in handy in terms of employer branding, reputation management and possible crisis PR.
What should companies keep in mind when dealing with local journalists?
- Local journalists are critical. They not only have a journalistic interest in a company or project, but also a very private one, because their personal environment, city and neighbourhood are influenced. Accordingly, they take their duty to inform their readers seriously and are not afraid to ask critical and unpleasant questions during the interview. Thorough preparation is therefore essential when talking to local journalists.
- Local journalists have a good memory The last construction project has been significantly delayed? A planned citizen survey was not carried out? Many local journalists have been working with their medium for years and can remember past coverage well. This is both a risk and an opportunity. Anyone who stands out negatively has to invest a lot of time to rebuild trust. But once you have established a good relationship, you can usually live off it for a long time.
- Local journalists are accessible. A big advantage: They answer the phone reliably and are very open-minded towards press work. Because, as I said, they take their informational duty seriously and appreciate it when companies actively approach them and thus facilitate their research work. The quote from a local journalist after we invited him to a press conference: "It's nice to be included for once."
This shows that pro-active communication is already half the battle when dealing with local journalists. Reach out directly, offer information material and personal backround talks. It's worth it, because you will gain valuable partners for your communication with local target groups.