For many business owners and authors, there’s very little glamour in regional media – mostly because the lure for national is always there, beckoning. But the challenge is that with so much “noise” and so many people vying for attention, it’s harder than ever to get national media attention. And even if you could, does it really matter? Will it get you as much bounce as you’d like?
A recent article in Poynter media, found that regional is surpassing national by 36%, which is a huge margin. A lot of it has to do with the nature of national media stories, which are often overwhelmingly negative. As a result, folks are tuning in closer to regional outlets that have stories more relevant to their daily lives.
And although there is a definitive art to pitching regional media, there are a number of ways to engage with regional media, without making a single pitch. Nextdoor, the super handy app that helps you stay in touch with what’s happening in your neighborhood, is also used by the regional media to keep a finger on the community’s pulse. As such, it lets you key into your regional media markets, as well as in possible new business.
Not familiar with Nextdoor? Well if you aren’t it’s definitely worth a look – they have both a website and apps for Android and iPhone. And what’s more? Your neighbors probably already use it! As of December 2016, Nextdoor had 114,000 active neighborhoods on the site, and more than 50% of US neighborhoods are on Nextdoor (50 %!!) Approximately 26% of messages on Nextdoor are about recommendations, with on average of 4 million messages sent every day. That’s a great and robust market you really don’t want to overlook!
When it comes to how Nextdoor is used, most posts tend to fall into the categories of communicating neighborhood updates, getting or giving recommendations, discussing upcoming events, or even an issue you/your neighbors are having. But used more creatively, Nextdoor can help you in many other ways. Let me explain.
A few weeks ago, I posted about an issue I had with my Home Owner’s Association and I put up a question about it on Nextdoor. A day or so later a media person from my local ABC affiliate contacted me, wanting to do a story. When he came out, I asked him how he found out about this and he mentioned my Nextdoor post, which, as it turns out, is where he gets a lot of his stories. He told me local media is always keen on finding interesting stories and many are going to Nextdoor to find them. I spoke to one media person, who wished to remain anonymous and he said that he’s got access to 10 neighborhoods via 10 different friends he has living across San Diego, which he uses to look for stories. He’s not alone. Regional media competes heavily for your time and attention, which means they are hungry for local stories, announcements, events, or problems (like in my case) that you may be having.
Now that we’ve established why you want to utilize Nextdoor’s untapped potential, let’s first look at how you can use it to promote your local business. Yes, even if you’re a book author, you should make use your Nextdoor page to promote yourself and your work.
If you don’t have an account on Nextdoor, you can start by just going to the recommendations tab on Nextdoor and click on “Claim your page,” you may or not be listed there already, if you aren’t, you’ll just need to quickly add your name, business name if you have one and whatever address you want the system to use. Unless you have a storefront business, you’ll probably want to send people to your PO Box, instead of listing your actual home address. Here’s the page you’ll get, once you click on “claim your business page:”
One you finish this, upload your logo, picture, or book cover, and you’re done! And now your neighborhood, and much of the surrounding area will get to know you, your business, and your product!
Getting Media Attention
The media people I spoke to all said the same thing – they are looking for community interest, and anything you post could wind up in the news. In other words, be professional if you want to get noticed.
In particular, they watch for things like events – both private and public, community news and trends, and ways that people are making the community a better place. So to capture their attention, be especially sure to post about things like these:
Events – so events you’re doing, book signings, business events, open houses, etc. If you’re really eager to get media attention, make sure you skillfully craft your announcement and remember the thing the media will be looking for is WIIFM – what’s in it for me? And the “for me” part are their readers, listeners, or viewers.
Library & School events: Regional media loves this, too. So, if you’ve got any kind of an event like this coming up, be sure to list it. I would list any bookstore events you have coming up, or any talks in general and remember – make it compelling. Even in the absence of media, you’re posting this on Nextdoor for a reason so ask yourself “Why?” Why would someone be interested enough to take time out of their day to attend your event.
Special Promotions: While I encourage you to stay away from sales-y stuff, if you’re doing some special promotion that maybe ties into something bigger like a holiday or, even better, you are donating a portion of your proceeds to a local organization, that’s fantastic.
Creative Ideas and Projects: if you’re doing anything creative that’s unique to your company or part of a bigger promotion, definitely add it to the page with any links that are appropriate. Also remember that a picture speaks 1,000 words so be sure to add pictures and/or video if you have it.
Feel Good Projects: If you’re doing anything with a local charity, school or organization, be sure to post it here, too.
After the Event: If you’ve run an event or book signing or whatever you’ve done, I recommend posting it, with the pictures on Nextdoor. Just as a follow-up or thank you to your neighborhood to whoever showed up. You don’t want to abuse this, I mean just posting promotional stuff all the time (and this goes for anything you’re posting), but it’s certainly a good way to draw some attention to some post-event thank-you notes.
How to Add Events, Promotions, and Other Items: If you have a personal account on Nextdoor, you should post through there. And again, keep in mind that you’re posting as a member of the community so forgo the sales language which will turn off the media and, probably, any consumers who may want to attend your event or learn more about what you’re doing!
With that in mind, if you’re not 100% sold on giving Nextdoor a try, they’ve also set up a demo website that you can check out to see what you think. Nextdoor is quickly becoming the go-to for all neighborhood communication, events, and news and, according to the media I’ve spoken to is also the go-to for many local reporters to find the next great story!
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