Making any story a local story is one of the great challenges of both journalism and public relations work.
This semester in my Integrated Strategic Communication course, students were working on media releases and feature stories. Seitel’s The Practice of Public Relations notes that most media releases either struggle to be well-written, localized, or newsworthy (and sometimes all three). My students were working on that second one – localized – and conducted a quick brainstorm of questions to ask that could successfully localize a media release in the city of Charlotte.
If you’re working on a release and it needs to be localized, these questions might just help. Take out “Charlotte” and insert the name of your community:
- Do people in Charlotte have access to the event?
- Has Charlotte hosted this event in the past?
- Will any significant members of the Charlotte community be in attendance (i.e. the mayor, local talent, etc.) ?
- Will the proceeds of the event benefit any local Charlotte organizations?
- How will the event benefit Charlotte?
- Is event focused strictly for Charlotte residents or is it offered in other areas as well?
- Has this event ever taken place in Charlotte before, if so how was the outcome of the event?
- Will any businesses in Charlotte sponsor the event?
- How will the event affect the local economy?
- Can I get a nourishing quote from a local person about this topic?
If those first ten didn’t work for you, wait until you read these:
- Why should this event be important to the people of Charlotte?
- How will this event impact the City of Charlotte?
- What local businesses, institutions or organizations are going to be involved?
- Any surprising data, statistics or (newsworthy) facts about a previous similar local event?
- What similar talents or events has the Charlotte area hosted? and, What was the attendee count of those similar events?
- How did the PR team(s) or event coordinators market those events as localized and worth attending?
- Is the current event featuring other local vendors or opening acts?
- Is the subject/host organization/individual based in Charlotte?
- Are any organization leaders Charlotte natives?
- Does the new release relate at all to any of Charlotte’s major economies (ex: banking)?
Surely you’ve found some connections by now to help localize your media release. Read on…
- Does it occur within driving distance of Charlotte?
- Will it effect Charlotte residents’ finances?
- Are these specific challenges that the Charlotte community is facing?
- Will it affect the growth of Charlotte?
- Will this event connect the community to the city of Charlotte?
And a final five, just for good measure and round numbers:
- Does the Charlotte community have access to this event?
- Does the event tie into the different cultures around Charlotte?
- Will this event be successful in gaining publicity for the city?
- Will the event help the environment around Charlotte?
- Does the event highlight any influential groups in Charlotte?
Remember that these apply to media release for things occurring in Charlotte, but more importantly, they help to localize media releases from outside the community that are trying to gain coverage inside Charlotte. This second piece is the key to good localization.