Dooley Noted

How To Localize Your Pitch: Using Proximity To Gain Publicity


Drawing eyes to your webpage isn’t an easy thing to do. Whether you’re an individual, a non-profit or a corporation, a little bit of publicity can go a long way in promoting your brand. But how do you get publicity?

A media pitch is an attempt to get media attention by bringing your news to the attention of a reporter, journalist, editor, publisher or producer. Once you send them your pitch, outside of following up and being as persuasive as you can be, it’s really up to the journalist and his or her newsroom to decide if it warrants coverage.  

But with a bit of strategic planning, you can improve your chances of getting your news in the news. 

Eight values contribute to newsworthiness: impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, the bizarre, conflict, currency and human interest. All are important, but one of the most valuable ways to make your pitch newsworthy is to use proximity. 

All News Is Local 

Proximity means being near (in this case, a news event) in space or time. When an issue hits closer to home, people tend to care more. If it affects us personally, it’s because, proximity-wise, the story matters to us.

The average Winnipegger likely cares more about their municipal government reducing the speed limit from 60 to 50 km/h on Portage Avenue than they do about a federal government scandal. One story impacts them directly, the other does not.

Whereas the federal scandal’s impact won’t be felt by many Winnipeggers, it is likely people will feel the impact of the speed limit change. The proximity of the speed limit change takes precedence, makes a more impactful, localized story and is of greater interest to local people. 

When crafting a pitch, ask yourself: does your news matter to the audience you’re targeting? If your company has legitimately revolutionized an industry, as an example, make sure Winnipeg media knows you’re based here. 

Closer proximity to the target audience increases a story’s news value.  

Capitalize on community involvement

Many companies make an effort to be good corporate citizens and neighbours. Sometimes they give back by donating time, money, etc. 

While public acknowledgement is never the reason for philanthropic efforts, the efforts of an individual, a non-profit or a corporation that goes above and beyond typical behaviours are added ties to its community. 

When pitching other news items, mentioning philanthropic efforts doesn’t have to be a pat on the back, but can be a celebration of the community you belong to and add value to. Locally, people care about the community and appreciate giving back.

As a result of highlighting such efforts, the likelihood of local media attention for other pitches increases. 

Have you thought about ways to connect with your community, bolster your public relations and generate positive buzz?

Applying proximity to your news

You can never guarantee media attention, but you can utilize the eight values of newsworthiness to add strategy to your media communication and public relations. 

Proximity is just one of those values, but it’s an important part of any news you’re pitching. Stories that happen near us carry weight and have significance. The media landscape is constantly changing, but one thing that will never change is people’s love for local stories. 

Don’t overlook local details. Use them to your advantage. 

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