I don’t believe I’m going out on a limb (well, at least not too far out) when I say that nearly everyone recognizes the giants of journalism. Such venerated (and at times vilified) publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and USA Today are hard to ignore, even if you’re not a regular reader or subscriber.
But as wonderful as they are, these behemoths of the reporting world aren’t the only option for those who long to see their names in traditional and online print.
Small towns throughout the country also are blessed with daily or weekly newspapers that keep their communities informed about who’s engaged, who died, whose child made honor roll and what the city commission and school board are up to these days.
These more obscure practitioners of journalism still serve a significant role in our information age, but admittedly without the luster and renown that those top-tier publications enjoy.
That’s why if you’re seeking to promote your brand, you could be thinking that it’s OK to ignore these lesser lights of the print and online media world in your quest for publicity.
Let me tell you why that would be a mistake. These smaller venues, whether they appear online or in old-fashioned ink on paper, can be more important than you realize as you build your reputation as an authority in your field.
- People read those local publications. Weekly newspapers and small dailies still attract a loyal readership for one simple reason: They provide readers with articles that have a direct impact on their lives and keep them apprised of what’s happening with people they know. If you want to promote your brand, it never hurts to start with your hometown newspaper. It can be a stepping stone to bigger things, plus as a bonus, you get to hone your interview skills in preparation for that day when the New York Times calls!
- Smaller publications can have a bigger reach than you think. What happens in lesser-known media venues doesn’t necessarily stay in lesser-known media venues. Story ideas that bubble up on the local level can get noticed at the national level. Many smaller newspapers also are owned by large newspaper chains, and the publications within that chain share articles with each other. That means your interview with a small weekly in Wisconsin could be printed in sister publications far and wide. The fact is that not everything that grabs widespread attention begins life on the front page of the New York Times.
- The media follow the media. There is little doubt that your friends (and potential clients and customers) are going to be impressed if you’re quoted in the Wall Street Journal or USA Today. How could they not be? But many of the authoritative voices that journalists at large publications seek out didn’t take a direct route from anonymity to the media spotlight. Instead, they built a media presence at smaller publications, establishing a trackable online presence. If you offer yourself as a source to top-tier media, those reporters are almost certain to Google your name. If they that see that other publications – even smaller ones – quoted you, they are more likely to view you as a credible source..
One final point worth noting. A Pew Research Center study in 2017 showed that Americans place greater trust in local news media than they do in national news media. The study showed that 25 percent of those surveyed said they trust their hometown news organizations “a lot” and 60 percent said they trust the local media “some.” That compares to 20 percent who said they trust national news organizations a lot and 52 percent who said they trust national media some.
Perhaps some of that trust in local media can rub off on you! After all, if the local media trust you enough to seek your insight about your area of expertise, potential customers or clients will be more inclined to trust you as well!