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Who to Pitch in Local News to Get Digital Coverage

By Tricia Harte

Who to Pitch in Local Newsrooms to Earn Digital Coverage

In the world of digital PR, television features, print mentions, and radio spots are all great ways to earn media attention and build brand awareness. But without an accompanying link, that brand attention has no SEO benefit for your business.

So, how do you get a link and reap its benefits? It’s all about who you know, and who you pitch in local news.

We’ll break down newsroom structures in television, newspaper, and radio to highlight who you should be pitching to land that link, and who you should avoid. By understanding each newsroom’s structure, you’ll learn to avoid wasteful pitches and snarky replies and instead earn the type of linking digital coverage you seek. Because, let’s face it, when it comes to local news outreach, you’re only as successful as the inbox you land in.

Who to Pitch at Local TV Stations

Like any media outlet, a television station has a very clear hierarchy. While many viewers associate the on-air personalities (AKA the faces they see on the nightly news) with the news creators, the reality is that behind the scenes, others are in charge of writing scripts and posting web stories.

There’s also an added dimension of the style of local news. Morning shows are typically more open to “softer” and light hearted content, whereas the evening news tends to focus on harder hitting stories. Understanding what news audience your content is best suited for will help you know who to send a press release to.

Before deciding who to pitch, ask yourself what type of coverage you’re looking to earn for your content.

Understanding TV newsroom hierarchy and responsibilities

Many businesses want that screen time, and if that’s the case, pitching producers and reporters your story ideas is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for that added SEO boost (that backlink) your best bet to see the type of coverage you want is to go straight to the web producer.

The 24/7 news cycle created a voracious appetite for content on local television stations’ social media channels and website. With the right pitch and the right newsworthy content, web producers can help secure you the type of digital coverage you desperately crave.

Who to Pitch at Local Newspapers

Local newspapers have a similar hierarchy to television stations, though titles vary. In this case, you don’t have to go to the top to get coverage. Instead, reporters are largely responsible for pitching their own stories. Newspapers’ websites, however, are full of additional content designed specifically for the internet.

Before you start pitching, think about the type of coverage you want. Remember: In an increasingly digital age, you may not want to aim for a reporter to cover your story for the print edition. Instead, you may want to reach just for an online mention or social media shoutout. 

If you’re looking for a full print feature, determine which department your content best fits. Once that’s done, the best way is to pitch to a department editor or individual reporter. But if you’re looking for a web article, you’ll want to pitch the editor, individual reporter, or web producer.

Understanding newspaper newsroom hierarchy and responsibilities

Don’t waste your time going to the top of the food chain. Those at the top of the newspaper newsroom hierarchy don’t have the bandwidth or desire to read your pitches. Editors, however, especially if their title has “digital” in it, tend to be the most amenable to content. Many mid-size and larger newspapers have official web teams, in those instances, pitching web producers with content that is both click-friendly and primed for social media can be an easy way to earn digital media coverage.

Who to Pitch in Local Radio Stations

As you would when pitching other local publications, pitch carefully – pitching the wrong person lends itself to the potential of the pitch getting lost. 

Understanding radio newsroom hierarchy and responsibilities

If you’re looking for an on-air mention or interview for your client, email the program director or on-air personality. If you’d like to secure a web story from a radio station, pitch the web producer.

Who Will You Pitch in Local Media?

Earning media coverage with major TV publications, including TV, radio, and newspaper, doesn’t have to be difficult – you just have to know how to pitch and then identify who to pitch. Remember, most often, it’s the assignment desk or web team. Getting in front of those individuals will not only provide SEO benefits, but you’ll also build relationships to lean on in the future when your content is newsworthy and relevant.

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