This article originally appeared on PR Daily in June of 2017.
Companies have a strong handle on the role of local SEO today, but what about engaging with your community offline?
What does local PR look like in the real world, and how do you execute it effectively? For brick-and-mortar businesses, mastering community PR is essential for growth.
That requires direct measurement: determining who makes up that community, what approaches work, and who is missing out on your messaging.
With these three metrics, you’ll see exactly where the gaps in your PR approaches are:
1. Examine the reach of your Facebook posts.
Facebook is the leading point of engagement for many organizations. If you’re using Facebook, are you letting their metrics be your guide? Anyone who runs a Facebook page has access to a variety of measurement tools, including post reach and number of people engaged. Use these numbers to expand your audience and boost page impact.
For example, if you’re using Facebook live to increase audience engagement, keep a close eye not only on the number of viewers while you’re live, but also how many watch later. This can help you determine the ideal time of day to go live with future videos.
2. Know your neighborhood’s demographics.
You won’t have much success targeting your local PR if you don’t have a sense of who lives and works in your area. Consider using software that measures local traffic. These data can help you determine who passes through your neighborhood daily, assess who visits your business, and which groups of people are not stopping in.
With this information in hand, you can develop press kit tools that focus on groups you aren’t reaching. Your press kit is your first line of interaction with reporters and other key publicity sources, so make sure it’s inclusive of the community you hope to attract.
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One great way to play up demographics-based marketing is by pitching news articles centering on employees who fall into that group. Local new outlets love employee-centered articles, particularly inspirational pieces. For your business, though, such articles play up your existing relationship with a desired demographic, and that can pay off if it draws the group into your place of business.
3. Scale your output.
Local PR is vital to your success, but you don’t want to flood news outlets beyond your ability to generate current information or interesting content. For example, do interviews with local journalists to learn the how the process works, but don’t necessarily try to run an op-ed or article every week.
It can be harder to measure your impact if you’re pushing too much content, because the effects tend to overlap. If your PR efforts aren’t measurable, they’re a waste of your time, because individual efforts don’t inform your long-term strategy.
PR is a numbers game, so don’t downplay the stats. You have to know your community inside and out, pay attention to when sales spike, identify when foot traffic peaks, and stay apprised of all the other quirks of being present rather than virtual.
Local PR is driven by relationships. The more you connect with the people around you, the more successful your business will be.
Jenna Cyprus is a freelance writer and business consultant. She has lectured for several universities and has worked with more than 100 businesses in the last 15 years.