The Art Of Marketing - How To Use Offline Content To Market Your Local West Sussex Business

West Sussex Business Marketing - By using a great set of images and a well-written press release I've managed to achieve repeated coverage for many of my clients who run small businesses in West Sussex, England. Photo © Scott Ramsey Visual Content Creator.

West Sussex Business Marketing - By using a great set of images and a well-written press release I've managed to achieve repeated coverage for many of my clients who run small businesses in West Sussex, England. Photo © Scott Ramsey Visual Content Creator.

If it's your job to market a business or an event you should already know that having a significant online presence and regularly updating your social media accounts is a must but have you thought about offline content? You know what I mean, that pre-internet marketing stuff like leaflets, brochures and articles in local newspapers and magazines. There's such a buzz about creating awesome visual content for social media at the moment it's easy to forget about this old-school form of marketing. But don't, I regularly achieve a high level of success using this traditional style of business marketing for my clients.

In this article I'm going to focus solely on local newspapers and save the other forms of offline content like leaflets, brochures and posters for another time, well we don't want to be here all day!

So sit back and let me give you a top marketing tip on how to use offline content to help promote your business or event. Let's go! 

Don't fancy reading this? Then check out my recent Facebook Live video instead. 

Over the course of several years, I have regularly (often weekly) managed to get articles for my clients published in their local newspapers. And just to be clear, this has been for free (apart from the client paying me to do the work), so we're not talking about advertorials, adverts or paid content.

To explain how and more importantly why this marketing tactic works I need to tell you a little about the world of local newspapers. The newspaper industry has had a tough time and is having trouble keeping up with the digital age. Many media organisations have reduced their staff and closed many local offices. One journalist or editor will now often do the work that several once did, long gone are the days of a group of highly skilled professional photographers and journalists working together on a local paper! This dumbing down of local news is a real shame, but we can use this to our advantage. 
The often lone overworked (sometimes) experienced journalist has to find and publish stories every day, a tough job, but by us creating and supplying them with high-quality editorial photos, and well-written press releases their day has just got a lot better. Why? Because we have done all the hard work for them, remember they have very little time and limited resources, so all they need to do is copy and paste, perfect. Creating a press release is nothing new and was the norm pre-internet, but nowadays it's often overlooked in favour of digital marketing techniques. I say it's time we all start using it again. 

I must just point out there's no guarantee the article/photos will get published, but that's not a bad thing, I'll explain why in a moment. 
For over a year now I have used this offline marketing technique on several of my client's campaigns and managed to achieve a 90% success rate, my secret (drum roll please) great Visual Content! Creative photographs or a fun video makes all the difference - You've heard me say it before "If content is king then visual content is the ace up your sleeve" and our new journalist friend knows this too. 

Now I know what you are thinking.

"Scott, this all sounds great, but what happens if we spend money creating a press release and getting you to take some photos or a video and the article isn't used?" 

Good question, it doesn't matter! Why, because firstly it’s raised your profile and you’ve made a new contact who could (and I've had this happen) interview you for a future story. Remember journalists need connections and stories every day. 
Secondly, you still have the article and all the photographs to use on your website, blog and across your social media accounts. Just think about all those lovely social media posts you can create, and let's face it keeping those pesky updates flowing can be a real headache. 

"But Scott, I haven’t bought a local paper for years, now I read everything online."

It's been well-documented newspaper sales have fallen big time, but people do still buy a local newspaper or at least receive a free copy through their door. Anyway, it's not just about the printed version of the publication. Nearly every news organisation is online, and they will often share the story via their website and Facebook page, so here's your online marketing coming into play. Still, need convincing? Go check out how your local newspaper dominates Google for local news in your area and then check out how many Facebook followers they have. Just imagine all this extra exposure for your business or event?

Here's how to get started and market your business with offline organic content. 

The first thing to do is book me! Well, this is my blog ;-) If you can’t hire me, then my recommendation is to find an experienced local editorial photographer as you'll need a photographer who knows how to create a great press photo that editors want to use. You’ll also need to write a catchy press release to accompany the photo's (remember you want to send a complete package to the local newspaper as the less work they have to do the better) so talk to the photographer and ask if they can recommend a freelance journalist. Once you have your team your all set, heck you can even show them this article!

Just remember it sounds simple to achieve and you could be tempted to take the photos yourself! Sure give it a go but remember a bad picture or poorly written quote/article can sometimes do more harm than good. A professional content creator will have all the equipment and experience to get what you need which in return allows you to run your business. Their expertise will enable them to create whats required in the fraction of the time it would take you, not to mention the photos and article will appeal to the news desk far more than your smartphone pic. 

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions drop me a message in the comments below, and if you need help marketing your business or next event, please contact me, I’ll be happy to help.