Tips for working with neighborhood blogs.
Hyperlocal. Neighborhood news. Citizen journalism. These buzz words began creeping into our vernacular around 2008, and are here to stay. A national media trend, in Seattle sites like the West Seattle Blog or Capitol Hill Seattle Blog have become especially popular—with both readers and sponsors alike—due to highly targeted, independent and local affiliations.
Burien’s local news site, The B-Town Blog, cites its readership as 65,000 monthly readers—an impressive reach compared with the average print circulation of Seattle’s metropolitan monthlies, which hovers in the ballpark of 53,000. Newbie Seattle Greenlaker just launched last spring, yet is already garnering 12,000 visitors each month and a bevy of local advertisers.
In the context of mass media, these “new” news sites may seem to be yet another competitor in the crowded media landscape. Yet neighborhood bloggers and mass media outlets have learned how to cohabitate, and may be all the better because of the other. Just one example of this is manifested in The Seattle Times partnerships forged with verified neighborhood news sites. Due to this “News Partner Network” alliance that links neighborhood sites from the seattletimes.com homepage, readers are able to consume a variety of news—from the international to the hyperlocal—in one place.
When it comes to working with neighborhood bloggers, the same rules apply to traditional media relations with a few considerations. Here are the top five tips PR folks should consider when working with neighborhood news sites:
- Know the audience. When pitching an event or story idea to a neighborhood news site, know the geographic region. Don’t expect West Seattle Blog to cover your event in Kirkland.
- Find a common thread. Perhaps your business is not based in West Seattle, but you have an employee with an interesting story that commutes from Alki. And he volunteers in a homeless shelter. And goes to church every Sunday. And can juggle balls of fire…you get the idea.
- Offer an inside scoop. Neighborhood bloggers keep a finger on the pulse of the community. Help them stay ahead of the game by providing an exclusive sneak peek or interview.
- Consider lead times. Even though blogging can often be considered an as-it-happens medium, many bloggers work on editorial calendars with posts planned up to a month in advance. Make sure to provide as much lead time as possible if your event or story is seasonal or time sensitive.
- Nurture the relationship. Your community’s neighborhood blog can be a wonderful resource for you, and vice versa. If you consistently deliver timely information regarding your client or business—or simply news that’s relevant for the blog—you will become a trusted source and go-to for that site’s editor.
It’s a brave new world, go forth and pitch. Of course, if you want some help from the experts, GR PR is here to help! Questions, comments and concerns are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org.