At some point, your company will be announcing a new product or service to an audience located outside of your regular geographic region. This could be a new office in a different locale, new staff members occupying an office outside of your headquarters, or a combination of both. Initially, it can be very difficult to penetrate the local media market to get your news broadcast in a new area. From a PR perspective, there are a few things that you can do to localize your news so that potential customers and other stakeholders will notice and react positively to it.
When crafting your press release, describe how your announcement will have a positive impact on the area, what new services or products people will have access to, and how it will benefit other businesses in the region (assuming you’re a B-to-B company). For example, if you’re an energy conservation provider expanding to a new location, you might talk about the relationships you have with local utility companies and how they can help businesses save money by leveraging those contacts while implementing equipment upgrades. It’s also helpful to add a local company or organization that your company has previously done work with in the new location to your press release. This will add to your credibility in the new region and give you the opportunity to both leverage the other company’s network and utilize their reputation.
After you’ve drafted your press release, it’s worth considering placing it on a wire service to increase its exposure. It might seem obvious, but it’s important to pick a geographic region that best fits with your news. This isn’t an issue if you’re moving to a smaller state, but a misplaced click on the California or Texas circuits will mean that you’re potentially broadcasting the news to media outlets thousands of miles outside of the targeted coverage area.
After utilizing a wire service, you should pitch the announcement to some local publications. Most metro areas have a business journal that serves the region. You can see examples here and here of where we placed local news for our clients. If you’re outside of a major metro area, there are many local online and print newspapers. For example, most local communities have an AOL Patch publication that provides coverage on a smaller scale. Additionally, many other communities still have independent newspapers as well as papers that are owned by a larger conglomerate that may cover your relevant area.
Depending on the publication that you’re reaching out to, the pitch you develop for your company may vary a bit. For example, when you’re reaching out to a business journal in a large metropolitan area, you want to speak in terms of bottom line and how your product or service will help companies save money or significantly build their businesses. When pitching to smaller local publications, you’ll want to add a bit of an economic development angle to the pitch and how the community at large will benefit for your expansion.
Over the years, MPR has helped numerous companies reach new markets with announcements of new offices, personnel and services within a new region. If you’re expanding your business, these simple steps will help lay the foundation for success.
Adam Waitkunas authors the column “Anecdotally Adam” and is President of Milldam Public Relations.