Have you ever watched a local competitor on TV or read about them in the paper and thought "Why can't this be me?" Well, the fact is, they probably experienced that at one point themselves. The difference is they took action to earn that moment of local fame. But the good news is that you can, too.
Becoming a local celebrity can drive sales, open up networking opportunities and boost your overall confidence and productivity. Here are some simple, practical steps you can take to begin building your way up to local celebrity status:
1. Write for your local paper or business journal
Establishing yourself as a regular columnist for a local paper or business journal will provide you with a great deal of influence, visibility and credibility among the outlet's readership. To secure this type of opportunity, you will need to connect with the appropriate editor at the publication. But before you do that, you should be able to demonstrate a track record for regularly authoring high quality content, and one of the most convenient places to do this is your company blog.
You should also know which topics your column will cover and be sure that those topics are appropriate for the publication and of interest to its readers. If you are a financial advisor, for example, you could pitch an editor a monthly personal finance column. If you own a bar, you could pitch an editor a quarterly craft beer column for each season.
Writing for a local paper or business journal positions you as the local authority on a particular topic. It will distinguish you from your competitors and amplify your voice throughout your local market.
2. Host a local radio show
While local radio has changed partly due to the rise of satellite radio and podcasting, it is certainly not dead. Radio advertising gives brands an opportunity to target local, demographic-specific audiences. And depending on the size of the market, it can be quite affordable. Best of all, many stations offer time slots where local businesses can sponsor and host their own programs.
Unlike your typical 30 and 60 second radio ads, hosting your own show comes with much more exposure and credibility. Best of all, many stations will allow you to own and republish your shows as a podcast on your website, which in turn, allows you to leverage the content beyond the station's listenership. If producing your own show is too laborious, consider purchasing a regular mini-segment instead. For example, a health expert could record a daily or weekly health tip, or a salon owner can air regular beauty tips. Creating your own podcast is an option, too, but it won't deliver the same credibility a show on a respected station will--at least not until a loyal, local following is established.
To explore radio as a route to local stardom, contact the sales departments of the local radio stations your target audience is most likely to listen to, and evaluate the opportunities they present to determine if it's a good fit.
3. Become a recurring personality on local TV
Local television coverage can be a game-changer for local businesses. It often carries more clout than print or radio, and social media can allow those segments to live on and spread throughout your target market for days, weeks and even years.
There are typically three ways to appear on your local news: do something newsworthy that earns coverage, earn invitations to come on a show as an expert guest, or pay to come on a show as an expert guest. Since the latter two can be more likely to be recurring roles, they can offer the fastest path to local fame. TV is an especially good option for experts in areas that have a high level of consumer interest like lifestyle, health, personal finance, dining and entertainment.
To become an expert guest, reach out to the appropriate producer and pitch timely, relevant segment ideas. If those efforts don't work, but you are willing to spend to get on TV, reach out to the station's sales department to inquire about sponsored segment opportunities.
4. Generate national press recognition
Coverage beyond your local media market can have the same, if not greater, impact if leveraged properly. And believe it or not, in some cases, national press opportunities can actually be more abundant and easier to secure than local coverage.
Because local markets have a finite number of credible newspapers and stations that must cover a wide range of general news, it can be challenging and sometimes improbable to earn placements in those outlets. National outlets, however, include niche segments, sections and publications that could have a heavy appetite for your particular expertise. The key to making your national press coverage elevate your local status is by leveraging it effectively. That means sharing your national coverage on your website, to your email lists and across social media to funnel it to your local market.
There are typically three ways to seek out national press coverage: do it yourself, have someone in-house do it or hire an agency or consultant. Whichever method you choose, by leveraging national recognition to achieve local celebrity status, you will establish a well-defined edge between yourself and the competition.