The headline on my first day at work as a junior reporter in a Birmingham district office read “Chernobyl cloud hangs over Solihull.” The impact of the toxic plumes anywhere else in the world – even down the road in Sutton Coldfield– was irrelevant.
It came as no surprise to me. The previous year at journalism school we had been taught to start every local newspaper article with the place the article was being read – a Cardiff mother-of three, a Cardiff driver, a Cardiff body-builder etc.
This lesson, which is so deeply ingrained in journalists, surprises others time and time again – but it shouldn’t.
It is an incredibly important starting point for any media interview or any presentation to know where you are being heard.
Gather some statistics or stories about the place you are appearing. If you’re being interviewed by Radio WM in Birmingham about rogue builders- have a case-study to hand about a Brummie builder with some facts and stats.
It works well for PR purposes too. Wherever possible, it’s a great idea to issue press releases for different parts of the country with localised information. That way you are far more likely to make the local headlines.