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Mine Smaller Outlets to Bolster Your Utility’s Media Portfolio

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
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  • Feb 8, 2021
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Landing a favorable story about your utility on the cover of The New York Times or a segment on a network news program is the holy grail of public relations.

Even a front-page story in the local metro daily, a lengthy piece on the local 6 p.m. news or a feature in a coveted trade publication is nearly as good.

Problem is, those things rarely happen. While it’s all well and good to push for those things, too often public relations practitioners overlook smaller outlets, including most radio programs, weekly community newspapers, local access TV (or the local network affiliate’s community affairs programming) and a host of online-only websites.

Yes, fewer people may see your news, but remember that thanks to the internet, most of it will live on indefinitely in cyberspace. And you can increase your exposure by posting it or linking it to your own website and social media.

Why are smaller outlets potentially fruitful spots for your utility’s news?

For one thing, a lot of companies forget about those outlets, so you have less competition.

In addition, smaller outlets often are in desperate need for content – they may even take content directly from you, which won’t happen at the bigger outlets. In any case, you’ll likely to get a bigger share of any content that is produced.

Reporters and editors at smaller outlets are often less experienced, so it’ll be easier to get across whatever points you want to make without being challenged on specifics. And they’ll be flattered that you’re interested in them in the first place.

As always, make sure that when you pitch, you keep things clear and concise – avoid industry jargon. You only want to deliver the basics of a story – anything more than that and busy media members will move on to the next thing.

Once you do attract attention from a media outlet, make it easy as possible for the journalist to do good work. Offer plenty of material and be quick to answer questions or provide anything else needed.

Finally, remember to build your relationship after your story is published/aired. That outlet could be fertile grounds for further opportunities.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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