Local Press vs. National Press: Which One Should You Pitch?

Jul 13, 2020

Many PR professionals get confused when it comes to knowing whether to pitch local press or national press. 

There are so many different types of clients that PR professionals like you are representing. It’s normal to feel unsure about where and when you should pitch certain types of outlets.

Some questions you may be asking yourself are:

  • When do you pitch your client to local vs. national?
  • What is the strategy for local vs. national press?
  • What are the benefits of pitching local vs. national? 
  • What are the different clients you would consider for each type of pitch opportunity? 
  • What kind of results can you expect? 
  • How do you leverage one versus the other?

Local Press

Local press is a great way to promote brick-and-mortar companies. They may have one (or multiple) local physical locations and/or offer products or a service that’s not available online. 

Some examples of expert local services are:

  • An in-person fitness expert
  • Legal services
  • Accounting services

Some examples of local product-based businesses are:

  • Coffee shops
  • Restaurants
  • Clothing stores

Some businesses also offer products that are handcrafted locally. 

For example, I have a friend who sells handcrafted jewelry in Santa Barbara at a little boutique. She uses several things she finds on the beach to make her jewelry. This has turned into an incredible brand.

What is really awesome about local press is that you can use those opportunities to gain a solid reputation in the community where your clients’ potential customers are. 

By using the local press for experts who own a company, you’re getting them front and center as the “go-to” authority in their community. 

Gain Experience Through The Local Press

Another way that you can utilize local press is to help your clients gain experience before pitching them to national outlets. 

Someone local is not going to go straight from doing nothing to going on the Today Show. You have to first demonstrate that your client is telegenic. You want your client to be engaging and  able to carry a segment. You don’t want them to be like a deer in the headlights when they sit in front of a camera.

They should have some experience before going for national press. And the way to do that is to start at the local level. As they begin to gain expertise, you will see what really lights them up when they talk. You can tell the difference when someone is just sharing information versus someone who’s really passionate about something. People are then drawn to them like a magnet.

Those are the things that are going to make a better segment and make your client more appealing to a bigger national show. 

Related: How to Develop Confidence in Your PR Skills

Tie in a Product to a Local Market

If you have clients with products or services available nationally, you can still use local press! A great tactic for this is to tie in their products/services to a local market. 

It should either be easily available to the local community (like a product is offered in a local shop). Or maybe the founder of the company is from that community. Create some sort of a connection to the area that you can highlight in your pitch. 

National Press

When to Pitch to National Press

It’s good to pitch to the national press if your product or service is available online. More and more people are working online. For example, people are coaching, teaching, or offering online services. 

It’s no longer seen as less effective if you work remotely. You can offer one-on-one strategy sessions or group coaching sessions.

That is what I offer. Even though I’m located in Southern California, my members are all over the world. I teach people how to run their own agencies and how to do PR on a national and international level. This allows me to connect with my audience all over the place which gives me credibility and exposure. The business I have is an example of something that could be pitched to the national press.

How a Local Brand Can Pitch to the National Press

If you’re a local brand, you may have to think about a pitch angle that would be interesting for the national press. 

Even though people are offering a product or service on a local level, figure out a way to tie it into a national trend or a national story.

For example, there’s a big trend around recycled products. You could pitch an outlet that there is a trend for one-of-a-kind pieces of handcrafted jewelry (or whatever it is). 

People are being conscious consumers and they want to know who makes the products they’re purchasing. They want to know how things are made and if recycled materials were used. People want to make a big environmental impact and purchasing local recycled products gives them the ability to do that. 

This is a trend that is relevant on a national level of conscious consumerism, (eg. upcycled jewelry and handcrafted pieces), that an expert could speak about. Those are the types of national opportunities you can look for. 

Find Out Your Clients’ Goals 

Setting an overall strategy depends on your clients’ goals. The goals they have set will help you know if you should start out with the local press and then work your way to the national press. 

Don't just respond to what your clients are telling you that they want and how you should go about getting it. Instead, you should guide them as the expert and guide the strategy that's going to help them achieve those major goals that you are going to set together. 

Show your clients that you know what you’re talking about and you know what you’re doing. This will keep them in the door for a long time. 

Related: 7 Unique PR Goals That Will Get Results for Your Clients

The types of clients you have will help you determine whether you should pitch the local press or the national press. The local press can be the stepping stone to reaching out to the national press. 

The Pitch Lab is a program we have that can help you send amazing pitches to secure high-quality features for your clients. Join The Pitch Lab today!