5 Reasons Local News is Essential to Your Comms Strategy

Local news is important to your communications strategy.

For so many brands and services, coverage in national newspapers, magazines and media outlets is of the utmost importance. Endorsements, features, and stories from these types of publications can go a long way very quickly to build credibility and recognition for a company.

While national publications are often favored, local news is equally important. When considering your brand’s media plan, keep in mind the value that local and regional media brings to a brand.

Here are five reasons why local news should be a key part of your strategy:

Consumers Trust Local News

Overall trust in news outlets in America is low. Only 36% of survey respondents reported that they had “a fair amount” (29%) or “a great deal” (7%) of trust in publications according to data from Gallup.

For local news, however, Americans are more trusting. According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2021, for Americans, local TV news had the highest brand trust score (58%) when compared to its larger, national counterparts, such as CBS News, the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times each of which had 48% or fewer survey respondents saying they trusted these outlets.

Local News Drives Eyeballs

Because national outlets have more reach, they will always have higher impressions or viewership numbers. Still, many local publications have smaller but devoted audiences with a significant number of impressions. The New York Times recently covered the encouraging numbers coming from local newspapers around the country. Although print circulation numbers have decreased drastically when compared to circulation numbers from 20 years ago, many local papers have seen a significant increase in digital subscribers over the last several years. For example, the New York Times writes “Gannett, the largest chain, reported in November that digital-only subscriptions rose 46 percent from the previous year to 1.5 million.”

Own Your Backyard

Just as trade coverage is crucial to each brand, local or regional coverage should be essential to a brand that wants to own its own backyard. For a smaller company, local coverage is essential to help build a positive reputation amongst your own community and be visible and present to your consumer base. For a national or global company, local coverage can be beneficial in several different ways. In the region where your company is founded and/or headquartered, having a strong presence in the local news can help build trust with the community that surrounds it. Similarly, incorporating local publications from other areas where your product or service is available into your outreach strategy can also help drive awareness or demand for your offerings in those places.

Getting in Front of Local Stakeholders

When looking to grow your product or service’s availability, getting in front of local stakeholders via the local publications they already read is an important way to build recognition and visibility in a new community.

Having your product or service featured in local publications will also help improve your local SEO so that your business will appear in local searches. One of the citation factors for ensuring your business appears in a local search for Google, for example, are unstructured citations like mentions in a newspaper or blog.

Local News is a Steppingstone

If you haven’t been convinced yet that local media outlets are just as important as national publications, perhaps you should consider local news as an important steppingstone for building national stories and recognition for your brand. It is not uncommon for stories and trends with more regional and local coverage to eventually become recognized nationally in media outlets. At any rate, having your brand in different outlets will improve your visibility online and ensure you appear in any relevant searches.

If you’ve been inspired to incorporate more local news into your communications strategy, we are happy to help!

By Alexis Karis