In years past, the way to reach someone in the media was to send out a press release. Ideally, you’d have your local contacts and send the press release as far and wide as you could. Then, services such as PR Web stepped in and promised being able to reach media contacts all across the globe with one push of a button.

Nowadays, the standard press release gets you nowhere. There are so many of them being sent out all the time that it’s just not effective unless you can pay a lot of money for a very targeted list.

If you’re a local business, it pays to develop a relationship with your local media. For newspapers, start by contacting the editor of the business page. Don’t go in person unexpected! They’re busy, and it is viewed as intrusive to just show up without an appointment.

Send a polite email introducing yourself and your business. Avoid being demanding. Ask if there’s room in her schedule for an in-person meeting. Ask if she’s in need of any sources for business-related local articles.

Remember…you’re a real estate agent, perhaps, or a lawyer or a contractor, but you can still speak to trends in that industry. So even though she might not be planning an article about your business per se, you can still be a source for a big picture article.
When you plan an event at your business, invite your media contact. When you have a news item to promote, send your media contact a short to-the-point update. Be patient. It might take several emails before you get a response. But eventually you will get a response and you can be sure that when your media contact needs someone in your field to be a source, she’ll think of you.