Like me, you have probably attended a host of social media workshops and seminars and as a result, have been motivated to bring those exciting options to the workplace. Yes, this has inspired me to encourage my clients to get on board and to update online communications for my own business. But I view these tools as enhancements to the rich, diverse world of communications and public relations, not replacements — and I value local media even more during these challenging times. Here are five reasons why:
Last week while watching our local NBC TV affiliate, I caught my friend/client’s son who is a rising basketball star as the sports reporter focused on a high school tournament.
It may sound trivial, but when I called my client the following day to discuss business, the mere mention that I had seen her son on TV just delighted her. And the fact that we shared a few moments of “proud Mom time” as a prelude to our business conversation goes a long way in cementing our relationship just a little bit more. It’s good business but not all business — I am excited for her and for her son’s accomplishments. That’s what relationship building is all about, and it’s important.
While the standard headshot and three lines of text announcing a new hire or an employee’s promotion are not exactly “breaking news,” when your client does business in a small to medium sized market, it is one way to announce that your firm is growing, that your employees are achieving and that you are holding strong in your industry.
People actually read these items and whether they are looking for someone they know, or perhaps for themselves, they are taking notice and filing away these tiny bits of information. Over the long run, these small steady bits add up to help build a company’s reputation. Hometown newspapers like the Fort Myers News Press and Florida Weekly, and business publications like Gulfshore Business understand the value of local business news, and the value of relationships.
If you’re looking for your friend’s race time in the neighborhood 5K or checking for the locale of an upcoming charity gala, one obvious source is your community newspaper. And after the gala, you might even get a glimpse of yourself in the society pages.
Along the same lines your local radio station, rather than a satellite channel, will offer commentary on Friday night’s happy hour at the local downtown watering hole. Just fluff? Not at all — these are the things that bind a small community together.
When local media reports on people and organizations you know, whom you can relate to, whom you see on a daily basis, this can affect the way you go about your business. Depending on the positive or negative reporting, you might make the decision to seek out or to avoid that business as a potential client or vendor. You might admire the good charitable work a business is doing in the community, or you might develop a loyalty to a particular organization because local news has kept you apprised of their achievements. If you are a non-profit, you might discover through local news that a particular business might be the perfect fit for a sponsorship for your upcoming event.
A local feature story could serve as the entry to conversation with someone you’ve been meaning to communicate with but didn’t know how to start. All in all, good local media can lead the way to good local business.
We live in a transitional society where friends, neighbors and co-workers move fluidly either to new jobs or new communities. Social media helps us keep up to date with those long distance relationships, whereas local media can provide much-needed stability.
Watching or reading about the annual tomato festival, seeing your affiliate TV anchors MC’ing at local events and reading your banker’s weekly financial column establish a sense of place where local people are doing local things. It’s great when community reporters show up to cover grand openings, charity functions and other events — they live here too and have also made their community a priority.
So while I certainly would not discount the vastly significant and growing importance of social media to marketing and public relations for business, I still hold local media in the highest regard. Valuing and nurturing those relationships make local business stronger in the long run. If you want to continue a discussion on local media, social media, marketing or public relations, please contact me.