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Carolyn Moncel

Putting the Local Spin on a Global Story

 

by Carolyn Moncel

If you run a small business and occasionally there is a demand for your products or services overseas, should you really be concerned about attaining foreign media coverage? A friend in Chicago, who runs a consulting firm catering to upscale clients in Europe, asked me this question recently. The short answer to her question is yes!

 

Businesses of all sizes are competing in a global economy. Almost all companies have web sites, and if you are selling products or services directly through your website, then the chances are great that many of your clients may reside outside of the United States. So if your company sells widgets and they are selling like Fish 'n Chips in London, why not contact one of the business reporters at the Times to tell your story? Here are a couple of examples to illustrate my point.

 

A few years ago while working for a small online publishing firm, our marketing team monitored our web traffic reports every month. Over time we discovered that a large segment of our readership were Russian. The traffic was so significant that we eventually launched a Russian edition of the magazine complete with Russian columnists. We, of course, threw a media party in Moscow and invited the local media. When the magazine debuted we received some great press coverage from the Russian newspapers.

 

It happened again while handling PR for another online publisher. When the company wanted to launch a Spanish edition of their website, our team contacted the Spanish news wires. The company's president conducted interviews in both Spanish and English and the story was disseminated across Spanish newspaper and radio outlets throughout the United States and also Latin America.

 

Intimidation and language barrier fears are probably the main reasons why more small-business owners are unwilling to make contact with the foreign press. Although communication may be a problem in some instances, don't forget that English is the language of international business. Thus, you'd be surprised by just how many journalists speak English because a lot of them have worked in the United States covering stories.

 

But if you're still nervous about contacting the foreign press then there are two useful tactics.

 

First, make contact via e-mail rather than phone. Even if the reporter doesn't speak perfect English, chances are he or she will still be able to understand written communication perfectly well.

 

Second, most foreign newspapers maintain a news bureau in major cities. It's usually just one reporter covering stories, but contact them with your story idea. Even though they're are often very busy, they still are always hungry for a great story.

 

The bottom line is this. All news is local. Whether the reporter is in London, Bangalore or Indianapolis, they all want the same thing: a great story that appeals to the local audience and is relevant to the news beat that they cover. Never losing sight of the impact your products or services have on a foreign audience yet also being able to make a meaningful connection is an invaluable skill that anyone can learn with practice. Not only will you be showing the local reporter that you understand them, but it will just make your story that much more appealing. And that's how you put the local spin on a global story.

 

Carolyn Davenport-Moncel is president and founder of Mondavé Communications, a global marketing and communications firm based in Chicago and Paris, and a subsidiary of MotionTemps, LLC.
Contact her by
e-mail.

 


Do you have a media relations question? Ask Carolyn! Your questions could be featured in an up-coming article. If you enjoy reading the Shoestring PR articles then sign up for our monthly articles via email or visit our Mondavé Communications blog - it's free!

 

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