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Are you local?

Graeme McGilliard

IT’S easier than ever to be global these days, with any announcement good or bad pinged around the world in an instant.
It’s far trickier, however, to be local.
Because as we all jostle to make our voices heard on multiple platforms, the regional and local press are increasingly focusing on the thing that sets them apart – that they are woven into the fabric of the communities they serve.
They understand their readers because they live among them – so in this climate of diminishing revenues, it’s all about offering news, features and promotions that chime with the ‘heartland’ audience.
This way, the regional press editors reason, they will hang on to as big a readership as possible for as long as possible by offering that which the competition of national media and the internet can’t.
What matters to people living and working in Manchester, Stoke, York, Nottingham or Coventry is something no journalist, editor or PR sitting in an office in London could ever tap into.
And the same goes when it comes to knowing how to give these staff-light, cash poor regional titles the stories, giveaways and offers they need. Regional PRs are the ones getting results.
A London agency seeing occasional cuttings from a far-off regional newspaper can’t begin to understand the staff cuts, budget cuts and shift in mindset in that newsroom when they call to pitch in their ‘big idea’. More often than not, they’ll just end up being an irritant.
You won’t find many regional titles these days with a fashion department, shopping journalists, beauty ‘team’ or many other specialist roles. These days, everyone does a bit of everything.
However, local agencies live and work in the same neighbourhoods as these papers and their readers. They understand, they ‘get it’. They have reacted quickest to the changes in regional newsrooms to give easy solutions, ready-made content and added value promotions to over-stretched local reporters.
So these days it’s definitely local papers for local people – and local PR for local papers.

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