Dave Manzer believes that with a bit of training, and the right outreach platform, pitching local media becomes a relatively easy endeavor. He created MyLocalReporter – a reversed HARO and ProfNet platform, where business owners can target local media to gain coverage. And it makes sense.
There’s a an old PR strategy gaining more and more momentum these days, and MyLocalReporter fits right in. Hyperlocal is more than a trend – it’s a tested and proven PR strategy. It may as well be the PR buzz word of the year 2012, but the strategy has been part of the PR arsenal since way back when PRs relied mainly on local journalists to spread their news. And it’s coming back, this time online, with the dawn of hyperlocal social networks, hyperlocal news sites, hyperlocal blogs and so on.
“MyLocalRepoter allows small businesses and professionals to proactively pitch their news story ideas to hyper-local news media professionals based on industry niche and geography,” founder Dave Manzer told Everything PR.
But is MyLocalReporter really the best bet to find the right journalists? It could be, in time. Today, it’s nothing than a database of US journalists who are not even “opt in,” meaning that MyLocalReporter collected their names, phone numbers and email addresses, from publicly accessible data.
This is the main issue with MyLocalReporter: journalists who don’t “opt-in” to be included in a directory, or on a email list, are less receptive than those who opt-in to receive news. And it will not matter how extraordinary your hyperlocal pitch may be, you’ll be hitting a wall. But then, MyLocalReporter is just starting. Opt-in for journalists could be a feature for a future upgrade of the service. And even without “opt-in” for journalists, the service promises a lot.
The main advantage is that you can search and find local mainstream media journalists for specific niches. The MyLocalReporter search engine allows you to select a region, community and beat, and then pitch the most relevant journalists you find, in bulk, via email. But here’s the catch: instead of submitting a lengthy email with fluffy press releases, MyLocalReporter forces you to consider the most relevant facts of your news announcement, and send those in your pitch instead. And that’s how MyLocalReporter helps you refine your PR pitch, to better capture journalists’ interest and attention. But is it enough?
Not really. So how do you address follow up, and sending interested journalists more details? There are two ways: either you use the contact details provided by MyLocalReporter upon confirmation of your order, or you hire MyLocalReporter to follow up for you. Both choices affordable.
Now for the million-dollar question: does it work? It works as much as you can make it work. You could go through the trouble to find the journalists yourself – after all, their contact information is publicly available on the web. But it would take you a few hours of research. MyLocalReporter does the job in less than a minute.
Then, you will have to send each reporter an email. MyLocalReporter sends the pitch to as many reporters as you selected (up to 20) at once.
But in any case, you will have to follow up. That’s where your PR expertise is challenged. MyLocalReporter will only work if you know how to make it work. If you are not a PR, let them follow up. And even if you are savvy enough, it may be a better choice to ask MyLocalReporter staff to follow up, while you focus on other important campaign details.
You can even “try before you buy.” So give MyLocalReporter a try, and let us know how you like it.