When the Midlands went viral: the overlooked wonder of local media

When the Midlands went viral: the overlooked wonder of local media

Images of a young girl with a new prosthetic leg running into a playground to the enthusiastic welcome of her classmates went viral last month, capturing the hearts of people, and news outlets, around the world. Anu’s story was obviously heart-warming stuff, and deserved the attention it got from every major UK news outlet, as well as many internationals, but something that struck us was where the story started: BBC Midlands Today.

Even if getting massive amounts of national and international coverage isn’t the aim of your PR work, there are lots of lessons to learn from this particularly excellent piece of local coverage.

You may think your story is interesting and important enough to go viral, but it’s unlikely that ‘girl with new prosthetic leg’ would have stood out in the inboxes of the national media. A tailored pitch about the ‘girl from Solihull’ is going to attract the attention of local news, and is much more likely to result in coverage.

But it’s important to remember that just because a story is local, it’s not automatically newsworthy in the eyes of regional outlets. Your story still needs to pass the ‘so what?’ test. Does your story tell local audiences something new, surprising or something that will impact on their lives where they live?

This isn’t just about local media being an easy way to get coverage (although sometimes it may be), and it’s not about going viral (although sometimes it may). It’s often a popular, trusted source of news that can be an extremely valuable part of a PR campaign. We’ve put together our top tips for securing local media coverage in our new intro. Check it out and let us know what you think.