National Vs. Regional Press Coverage, Who Wins?

Over the weekend, I’ve had coverage come in from both national papers and regional papers, I get equally excited about both – which led me to thinking, what’s more valuable? National coverage, or regional print coverage. Can they really be compared?

My colleague Beth recently wrote a great blog on a similar topic. With readerships unmistakably lower amongst regional titles, is it worth focusing our energy there at all? Or do we keep aiming for the stars? The blog concludes with a resounding yes – regional coverage is worth the effort, and Beth goes over a number of reasons as to why we ♥️ local news. You should definitely give it a read, but after this weekend, I wanted to weigh in too.

Perks Of National Coverage

Coverage is coverage, right? You can’t be disappointed with it either way. Whether it’s linked or unlinked, a press comment, a feature inclusion or a press release – any exposure for your client in the news is generally considered good (when you’ve had a chance to control the narrative, of course).

I started working with nationals pretty much from the get go in my PR career, my first link was in The Sun and was back when I was an intern in 2018 (you’ll always remember your first link). Now, even as I’ve shifted away from a national focus and into more of a traditional PR role, you can’t beat seeing your clients name in the big titles. Just some of the perks of national coverage include:

  • HUGE readerships
  • High DA when you achieve a link
  • Often a wide demographic, meaning you reach a varied audience
  • Clients love it
  • More chances of stories being picked up by other outlets
  • Often great engagement when the story is shared on social too

Surely regional coverage can’t top that?

Perks Of Regional Coverage

Well, now I’m working in more of a traditional PR role, I’d say actually, yes it could. Naturally there’s a certain kind of vanity that comes with declaring a link in the Metro, or print coverage in the Telegraph, but also there’s beauty in regional coverage too. Oftentimes I feel the coverage we get in these papers brings better return for the clients than they would get from national exposure. That might sound odd, but please hear me out.

One of the things I’ve learned since edging out of the digital PR world, is that it’s not all about links. *Gasp*. Obviously if your main goals are SEO-driven, then of course backlinks are fundamental. But for us now, our aims usually consist of footfall to local businesses, a better reputation and an overall great image amongst potential customers. Whilst links are great and I’ll always chase them (digital PR habits die hard), they’re not the be all and end all. This is just one of the reasons why I focus a lot of my energy on regional titles now, here’s a few more reasons:

  • Unless you’re a national business, your audience is probably local and therefore reading the local paper
  • High DA despite not being as high as the nationals
  • Journalists who you can create a relationship with who understand your client
  • Social media coverage is more targeted
  • You know what demographics you’re going to reach with regional coverage
  • Substance over vanity
  • Has potential on making an actual difference to footfall and engagement
  • Local reputation > national reputation for SMEs and local businesses

So What’s Better, Regional Or National?

I do hate to say it, but it really does depend. Depends on your client and your goals. If your client is of national interest, such as an ecommerce business, a franchise, or a place where somebody would travel to (such as a holiday accommodation) then naturally national coverage should be the aim. The same stands for if the goal is to improve SEO, national backlinks are incredibly valuable, and most regional papers don’t link, or if they do – it’s a nofollow.

But if you’re working with a local business, such as a pub chain, shopping centre or even a local housebuilder, then regional coverage wins hands down for me. This kind of exposure has the potential to actually bring feet through doors and means you’re reaching your target audience in a more defined way. There’s a chance they’re going to be reading the national papers, sure. But there’s a much better chance they’re going to be engaged even more with the local titles, and that doesn’t have to mean having a paper in their hand either… Local people often follow local news sites, because they’re going to engage with what’s relevant to them.

This is your sign to give your local newspaper some love. Long live regional journalism.

PR world, let me know your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments below.

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