How to Make a National Media Story Work Locally

Public relations professionals often hope a local story they are pitching makes national news. On some occasions, the opposite situation presents itself and we are challenged to make a national story work locally in order to be more effective at reaching a client’s target audience. The latter approach is sometimes more realistic as local journalists are often on the hunt for a national story with a local twist. Recently, NST was tasked by client San Diego County McDonald’s restaurants to conduct media outreach for the launch of the Snoopy NASA Happy Meal books and toys. To secure coverage, NST utilized the below tactics to make this national story work in the San Diego market.

  • LOCALIZE THE STORY: When drafting a pitch, think about who your story will benefit or interest. How does this national story relate to your local market? How will it impact community members? Be sure your pitch highlights the answers to these questions. For the most success, it’s important to keep in mind not only the key audience but also the most appropriate media outlets and contacts. Why should media care about this story? Which outlet will be most likely to cover it? This will require having a good pulse on the local media market and knowing what stories are well received at each outlet. In the case of McDonald’s Happy Meal book launch, the books came in both English and Spanish, so NST targeted both English and Spanish speaking media outlets.
  • PARTNER WITH ALIGNED ORGANIZATIONS: Partnering with a local organization may help amplify your story and conceptualize its local impact. In the case of McDonald’s Happy Meal launch, NST partnered with two local organizations to emphasize the story’s local relevancy. The Happy Meal books were intended for children and had a NASA focus, so NST partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego and the San Diego Air & Space Museum to donate 300 books to each organization.
  • PROVIDE QUALITY CONTENT: Content is king. While media outlets might love your news, they don’t want a talking head sharing your story. Visuals are a key component to storytelling because they help illustrate the message being shared. NST secured three different local news stations to capture footage of children and their families eating Happy Meals and being read the new Happy Meal book by a local astronaut at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. NST captured these moments through photos and videos and distributed them to local broadcast and print media outlets that couldn’t attend. This b-roll added value to the dialogue in our press release and provided additional reach. The b-roll was also repurposed into social media content to highlight NST’s local efforts.

Are you looking for a strategic partner that can help your organization effectively tell its story, engage local audiences and secure media coverage? Learn about our approach and areas of expertise by contacting us today!