Are you feeling shy about getting your business into your local newspaper? Maybe you’re worried that your story isn’t good enough, your business isn’t big enough or you’re afraid of feeling rejected if they don’t feature you?
This is the editor of my local paper, Ben Raza of the Bedford Times and Citizen, speaking at a workshop I attended last weekend:
Ben was talking about citizen journalism and I’ll tell you more about that in a minute. But what really grabbed my attention is that there are very few local reporters out there these days, so your local papers need you to tell them what is going on.
Of course you should be choosy about the stories you send them. You should be sending journalists good, interesting stories that their readers will enjoy rather than boring sales pitches. But in my experience, business mums tend to be too modest with their PR and there’s not much of a risk of us annoying our local press!
So what is citizen journalism? It is local people reporting on what is going on in their area, rather than it being done entirely by journalists. In fact, I’ve just joined #citizenbedford, which is my local citizen journalism project that will be documenting Bedford’s progress as a Portas Pilot town. Which is why I was attending the video, audio and journalism training on Saturday (here’s a pic of me being filmed).
(To find out more about the project, use the #citizenbedford hashtag on Twitter, YouTube or Google. Or you could keep an eye on out local community paper, the Bedford Clanger as well as the Bedford Times and Citizen.)
So don’t be shy, contact your local paper!
UPDATE 8 November 2012: Just to prove Ben means what he says, the Bedford Times and Citizen published my article today.
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2 Replies to “Feeling shy about getting your story into your local paper?”
I met Sir Ray Tindle yesterday (proprietor of the Herald group of local newspapers). The first thing he said was “businesses need publicity, don’t be modest about what you’re doing”. He sells newspapers because people want to find out about what others are up to, not just what events are going on, but people’s life stories, ideas and services or products they might want. As you say in your post local newspapers are run on a shoestring, so providing content for them makes their lives so much easier. Whenever I’ve submitted copy for local groups (Scouts, school etc.) my text is used word for word and if you can include a photo so much the better – faces sell newspapers.
Excellent advice Jane, thank you. Until I heard Ben talking I hadn’t realised just how short-staffed local papers are and how much they need us to supply them with content.