As an auto repair shop owner, you may not think much about your day-to-day business is newsworthy. However, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Local news is quite different than national and even statewide news. You have everything from local papers and business journals to hometown and indie radio stations. It’s surprisingly easy to get in touch with reporters and show hosts from these types of media outlets. In addition, there are many story angles when it comes to topics like buying or selling a vehicle, and auto repair and maintenance. Consider some of these questions to discover interesting and timely topics:
- Do cars develop a lot of rust in your area due to weather conditions?
- What tires do best on potholes in your region?
- Can you help clients shop for the best cars to safely handle snowy or icy weather?
- Which model cars are the best from your experience, that keep running 15 years or more with little or no maintenance?
- What are common problems with certain popular car models in your area? Are there many pickup drivers where you live? What about hot rod drivers, commuters, mini-van drivers, etc.?
- What is some little-known advice for buying a used car that would help someone who doesn’t understand vehicles?
These topics can be very valuable to the public and can make great general interest stories. In addition, changing weather often makes your expert contributions especially relevant to local media sources.
How News Coverage Can Help Your Shop
Getting featured in the local news offers many benefits to auto repair shops:
- It legitimizes your brand and helps to build trust. Buying a vehicle and having it serviced can be intimidating to someone who doesn’t know a lot about cars (and that’s most people). When they see your shop featured on the local news, they figure, “He must know what he’s doing.” Or, “He must have a good reputation. I’ll go there.”
- It lets the public know you exist and increases business at your auto repair shop. It’s fair to say that most people don’t shop for auto repair service until they need it. However, if they happen to see a reporter interview you about how to get to work safely during a winter storm warning, the customer is more likely to take their business to your garage than to shop around.
- It establishes you as an expert. When people see you in the paper or on the morning news, they’ll be more likely to believe you know what you’re doing and that you understand cars on a very deep level. By maintaining a blog and nailing an interview or two, you will really set yourself apart as a reliable, local automotive expert. Just don’t forget to post the videos or articles on your website and social media channels!
How to Contact Local Reporters
The trick is to develop relationships with reporters before contacting them and then to contact reporters before they even need your story. Social media makes it easier than ever to develop relationships with public figures. You can follow them, friend them, re-Tweet them, and comment regularly on their articles and content. Monitor the online activity of various reporters, publications, and media outlets to get a better sense for who you think might feature an article about car buying, repair, or maintenance. After you’ve done this for awhile, write a letter formally introducing yourself and attach your story ideas or a recent press release.
Contact them first by email, and follow that up with a paper copy of the letter and/or press release. If you offer anything unique or significant, be sure to cover that. Introduce yourself to the reporter and let him or her know your areas of expertise, should they ever want to do a news story covering a related topic. Keep the letter brief, courteous, and to the point.
To learn more about how to increase business at your auto repair shop, contact us. We understand the unique business of marketing automotive services to customers who just want to buy from someone they can trust. Sign up and start getting more leads today.