If you're a brand that focuses on building a local presence, you might not think you need to worry about national press.
"My audience is in only one geographic location."
"I can serve only a specific location with my services."
"I have a high concentration of potential clients in specific geographic locations, and I want to target only them."
These are just a few of the common objections to broader content marketing initiatives. And they are 100% valid in some cases.
For example, if you're a small business (lawyer, restaurant, plumber, etc.) in Boise and can only serve within a 20-mile radius of your brick and mortar, targeting national audiences doesn't make much sense for your strategy or dollar spend. If that's you, you should absolutely focus on hyperlocal SEO, as it's cheaper and has less competition. Plus, it's more relevant for your lead sources, considering that 82% of smartphone shoppers conduct "near me" searches and local searches lead 50% of mobile shoppers to visit stores within a day.
However, if you're a company that's growing its clientele, expanding into new cities, or servicing your customers online, then you most likely need to add national press — including guest posts and press mentions — into your content marketing strategy to build your brand and earn more trust from your audience.
At this point, you might be thinking: "OK, I'll think about it. But I'm not sold." So let's dive into how national press can help local-focused companies work toward their marketing goals, whether they include SEO, increased local coverage, thought leadership, competitive advantage, or growth.
If you're only trying to rank in search results for "best pizza in Charlotte," then keep cornering the local market. Focus on review tools like Trustpilot, optimizing your web copy for local terms, and pitching your content and your story to as many local publications as possible.
But if you're B2B, you're a franchise, or you have an e-commerce component, securing placements in third-party publications is an excellent strategy for you. As a general rule, publications with national reach will have higher search volume, higher traffic, and higher domain authority — all of which you can benefit from with the right strategy. So create valuable, relevant, keyword-rich guest posts and pitch them to national publications, and reach out to journalists letting them know about your story and any timely happenings they might be interested in covering. (If you don't have the know-how in-house, an agency can help.)
Having your business called out in a national publication allows your community to rally around your brand. This can spark interest in local press, leading to more local coverage for your company.
When Vicia, a St. Louis-based restaurant, was recognized as the second-best new restaurant in America by USA Today and one of the top new restaurants in the world by Eater, it spurred excited local press and more interest and recognition in the competitive food landscape. This became a pride point in conversations with people from St. Louis. It garnered more organic local press and surged searches for the restaurant. And the national recognition became a badge of honor for the restaurant itself, for the community surrounding it, and certainly for the St. Louis economic development teams.
Not long ago, I was speaking to a marketer from a real estate investment firm who lamented, "If there's a publication with the word 'Dallas' in the name, I assure you, we've been published there 10 times over."
While the firm has a strong presence in Dallas (because it's where the headquarters are), it oversees commercial real estate in 36+ states. This marketing team is clearly working hard to leverage the firm's executives as experts in real estate investing, but the firm can't be seen as anything more than a Dallas real estate investment firm if it doesn't start reaching beyond its backyard.
Third-party publications publish insights only from experts who have valuable things to share with their readers. Those placements are validation that your company has something to say — which is great for you, your employees, your clientele, your local audience, and your new national audience.
So securing regular bylines, a column, and press mentions in publications with a broader, less localized audience means more recognition and a wider reach — which could lead to the firm reaching more potential investors, limited partners, and landowners. Even if you're entirely local, if you have an amazing company culture, have a strong altruistic arm, or are truly disrupting your industry, the rest of the nation can benefit from seeing what you're doing.
Outside of just helping you be seen as an expert, national publications can also lend to your top-of-funnel lead generation efforts.
If you're going head to head with other local businesses in your ZIP code, national press is a way to get a leg up. Your fellow neighborhood wealth advisor might be a big deal in Burbank, but is she getting published for her thoughts on investing trends during COVID-19 in Seeking Alpha? A big publication or an exclusive industry-specific magazine pointing to your company indicates to your community that you have valuable capabilities and a strong voice in your industry. And the visibility from this kind of wider-reaching press can mean increased opportunities in the future, like acquisitions, investments, speaking opportunities, recruiting top-notch talent.
Diversifying your capabilities is a big topic right now. Regardless of how feasible that is for your business, extended reach offers more opportunity for growth in the future.
I was recently strategizing with a healthcare tech company that has built a platform for parents to navigate pediatrics (think: health insurance, finding specialists, reviews, etc.). While currently serving Florida, the platform is expanding rapidly and has the capability to be used nationwide. Even though the expansion plan extends into the next couple of years, the company wants to start increasing visibility ahead of time in the states it's focused on. This is an incredibly smart move because the company will be able to hit the ground running once it actually expands. If you're considering an expansion, you can do the same with the help of national press.
Even when companies have localized services or are looking to reach specific geographic locations, they can benefit from national press. Securing guest-contributed articles and press mentions in national publications can help brands improve SEO, build thought leadership and credibility, increase local coverage, bolster their competitive advantage, and grow their businesses.
I'm a VP at Intero Digital's Content & PR Division. I like my coffee black, my whiskey straight, and travel when I can afford it. I think most people just want to feel heard, and I’m happy to comply. I've also taken a sworn oath to never eat sushi.