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Understanding Your Local Media

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 13 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Local Media Newspaper Contacts Paper

In order to understand your local media, you need to be aware of what a difference it can make to the success or indeed failure of your restaurant.

Just because the national media is awash with people talking about social networking as though local media doesn’t exist anymore, it is imperative that you appreciate that not only can local media give you incredible PR, but it can also act as a ‘word of mouth’ referee for your restaurant.

Give Them Something to Write About!

Never forget that local press and magazines are always looking for something to write about. Not any old thing (although you may beg to differ depending on the quality of your local paper!) but good news stories are always able to placed if you have the right message and, ideally, the right contacts.

It’s not hard to build contacts with your local newspaper, although it does take some effort. Start by having an idea of a story – your restaurant opening, a new menu, a new terrace, a competition for children…- and then buy a copy of your local paper to check out the contacts list. Start by calling the features editor and take it from there.

Have Offers and Promotions

It makes sense that if you continue to give your local newspaper something to write about, they’ll keep writing about your restaurant. That is why you will often see then same businesses, societies or clubs mentioned in your local paper – they’ve bothered to foster contacts and they tell them when there is something going on. Offering to provide a good quality photograph often helps too.

So when you have a new promotion or offer, tell your contact about it. Be careful not to just look like you’re using them and give something back too – try getting involved with local events, offering your restaurant as a meeting place for clubs or championing using local ingredients rather than only ever talking about your menu!

Invite Reviewers

Whether it’s bloggers that you meet on Twitter or the local restaurant critic, getting people who are influential to write about your restaurant is worth its weight in gold. Of course, you need to make sure that there review is good, so only invite reviewers when you know you have ironed out any ‘new restaurant glitches’ or it could do you more harm than good.

If your local press has anonymous reviewers, watch out for people who order quite a random cross-section for the menu and then either have a notebook or look to be typing on their phone throughout the course of the meal. Although you’re sure to want to make sure all your customers have a wonderful experience, there’s nothing wrong with being extra careful!

Get on Mailing Lists

Most newspapers and media have contacts mailing lists where they will send out emails if a certain type of story is required. It’s a great idea to get onto these lists so that you can put yourself and your restaurant forward whenever possible. Join them by asking to join them! Whenever you have a reason to speak to a media person (or if you have a thick skin, just call them up) ask to join their mailing list so you don’t miss out on any opportunities. They won’t mind and it will help you to 'see and be seen'.

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