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As a rule, publications with national reach will have a higher search volume, higher traffic and a higher domain authority. At Midnight, we have a strong track record of getting our clients into both.

What’s the value of national media coverage for local businesses?

A lot of our clients start out by thinking that their target audience is based in a specific region so they should focus solely on reaching out to local media. While we appreciate the huge value of coverage in local media and its potential to build reputations and accelerate business growth, national media has a very important role to play too.

Historically, businesses would serve clients and consumers within a certain radius of their bricks and mortar outlets and offices, but today those constraints simply don’t apply. If a business owner wants to reach more people geographically and digitally, it makes sense to broaden the reach of coverage and bring in the nationals too.

As a rule, publications with national reach will have a higher search volume, higher traffic and a higher domain authority. At Midnight, we have a strong track record of getting our clients into both.

As an agency that specialises in supporting businesses targeting other businesses, it’s important too, to consider trade media and sector media as part of the mix.

A clever media relations campaigns should always be multi-layered. People are not one dimensional, neither should your PR campaign be.

So how to you get regional businesses that coveted coverage?

We use several tactics, all of which work to boost businesses’ profiles and position them as experts in their particular sectors.

Responding to events in the media as they break – or newsjacking – has the power to reach wide audiences, build reputations and establish business credibility, so it forms a core part of many of our PR strategies. But the viewpoint pitched into national media has to be relevant to a wide audience.

Recently we jumped on the controversial P&O Ferries story, where 800 workers were sacked with no notice via Zoom, for two of our Southeast-based legal clients, Mayo Wynne Baxter and Trethowans. The resulting coverage in iNews, the Mirror and The Guardian positioned them both as experts in national employment law – a key aim of their PR strategies.

Placing thought leadership articles in national media is another tactic we use to position our clients as progressive critical thinkers, which can have substantial impact on growth.

According to a 2021 report by LinkedIn and Edelman, which surveyed 3,600 global industry leaders, 42% of decisionmakers invited an organisation to bid for a project based on a piece of thought leadership that they’d read; 48% awarded a project to the business responsible for the thought leadership; 53% decided to increase the amount of business they did with the organisation, and 54% were persuaded to buy a new product or service that they hadn’t previously considered buying. 

We also issue press releases to national media when appropriate. They enable business leaders to drive their own narrative and influence opinion, establishing a positive brand story.

A current example of this is for our client the Youth Sport Trust which is powering a school wellbeing movement called Well Schools in partnership with BUPA Foundation. Part of our b2b PR strategy has been to raise awareness of the movement amongst school leaders. So far, this month, our research-based press release has been featured in the Tes (Times Education Supplement) and Daily Telegraph, as well as achieving thought leadership placements in education trade media.

Why not just self-promote businesses on social media, such as LinkedIn?

We do that as well, but third-party endorsement is more powerful and achieves stronger success metrics. Sharing a story that has appeared in national print, digital or broadcast media gives it real credibility.

National media only publish insights from experts who have valuable things to share with their readers. So those placements offer validation to prospects and clients, which is great for employees, clientele, local audiences, national audiences – and business.

How do I make my story relevant to the national media?

Know your audience and do your homework. We work hard to understand who editors’ readers are, and which stories are likely to land and those that won’t. That PR instinct, honed over decades, coupled with strong media contacts, means that we know exactly what journalists are looking for. And we know what annoys them too – stories that they have already covered, comments and articles that have no relevance to their readers, and anything overtly promotional.

We continually touch base with journalists and editors, pre-empting their needs, and carry out regular media audits, which means we can provide timely, relevant and compelling comments, opinion pieces and news exactly when they’re needed.

What should businesses do when they do land coverage in the nationals?

Use it! Getting national media coverage isn’t easy, so it lends visibility and kudos. Share across social media and reach out to people who react and comment. Reconnect with prospects and clients, sending them links via email. Showcase media mentions on the company website, using links to drive traffic.

This is a golden opportunity to get noticed and position a business front of mind with key target audiences, so make coverage work as hard as possible – and then start planning the next hit…

Contact us to discuss how we can help.

First published in Sussex Business Times in May 2022.