How to think like a Newspaper Editor

Everyone, including residents, likes to see their senior living community featured in the media.

Newspaper coverage is great for SEO (search engine optimization) and comes across as third party endorsement, allowing the community to stand out from the competition. And that’s exactly what we want to be-one step ahead of the others.

Attracting media attention, when news staff is limited and there is more focus in a youth- oriented culture, is a tough sell.

Here are some tried and true tactics I have found to be successful in local media markets:

  • Think like a food editor: While most of us have our eye on the front cover or the “Local” section of the paper, the Food section offers unique opportunities to showcase your community’s cuisine and the skill of your chef. We all may dream about a reporter highlighting our food service with a glowing review. But chances of that happening are minimal. Instead think like a food editor and ask what could you share with the editor that may be of interest? Keep in mind food editors are constantly under pressure to present new twists on old recipes, particularly for the holidays. This is where you and your food service staff can be of assistance. By offering the editor a holiday-specific menu or recipe, you are filling their need for the unusual while you soft-sell your community through the food editor’s back door.Here’s a perfect upcoming opportunity: A how-to video is often well-received but check with the editor if photo attachments are accepted. Keep in mind that holiday food sections require extra lead time, so start your food pitch early.
  • Think like a photo editor: Photo editors, like food editors, are constantly roaming the town for great photo opportunities (or ops as they are referred to in our business.) And they are short staffed, which means they are appreciative of those people that propose a photo with mass appeal.Intergenerational programs are my favorite-i.e. bringing in school age children, not to entertain (that’s too predictable), but for a joint project like a chorus where both groups learn a song together, bake cookies or a senior prom where high school seniors can twirl a silver-haired senior to a medley of tunes, representative of both generations. Why not plan a joint charity project? Now that’s win-win. The photo editor will have a great photo, you will have the newspaper coverage you crave, the residents and students will have a great time and some well-deserving recipients will be the ultimate beneficiary of group kindness.
    I can see the picture clearly. Can you?
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