At the winter farmer’s market in my town, I ran into my local editor for Patch.com, the uber-local website that’s giving Publicity Hounds yet another outlet for their press releases, photos and local news.
Lyssa Beyer and Matt Schroeder, her associate regional editor, were stopping shoppers and asking if they knew about Patch, which operrates in 22 states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia. Two weeks earlier, I had pitched a story about my local garden club to Beyer, and she said yes. They’re interviewing one of our members this week. So this was a good chance to meet her in person.
Here are her tips on how to use Patch:
1. Share your blog posts.
If you have your own blog, or even if you don’t, you can register to be a blogger at your local Patch site. Go to Patch.com, click on the state where live, and then the Patch community where you want your blog to appear. Scroll down and look for the “Want to Blog on Patch?” button in the middle column. Introduce yourself, tell the editor a little about your blog, and wait for instructions.
You can share all your posts, or some of them. I recommend you tweak your posts to give them a local angle.
Your post won’t appear until the local editor approves it. Patch welcomes moderated comments at all blogs. So check back periodically to continue the conversation if people comment on your posts.
Local nonprofits, this is a great opportunity for you, too!
2. Pitch news and feature stories to your local editor.
Beyer responded to my pitch within 48 hours. Remember, local news is their bread and butter, so don’t be shy.
When you pitch, let the editor know if you can offer contact information for other sources, or photos and graphics.
3. Invite your local editor for coffee.
Beyer says she meets regularly with people in the community, usually at local coffee shops. This is a great chance to start building the relatonship. Invite your local editor for coffee even if you don’t have a story to pitch. See 18 ways to schmooze with reporters and Magic phrases to use with the media.
4. Claim your free listing for businesses and organizations.
Patch includes a free directory of local businesses and organizations. Listings include details such as hours, payments and more, tools for owners, original photos, a description, and customer feedback. If you’re squeamish about people reviewing your business, get over it. They’re probably already talking about you somewhere online. Read about 11 ways to use Yelp to respond to bad reviews. Much of that applies to Patch, too.
5. Post your event on the calendar.
One of the reasons I love Patch is because readers can sign up for daily email alerts. When I get mine, I usually drop what I’m doing and head on over to Patch to see what’s happening in my community.
6. Share your photos and videos.
The Gallery section is a great place to upload photos or videos that promote an upcoming event, or photos or videos you took at an event. Remember, stand-alone photos and videos are welcome. You don’t necessarily have to have a big news story.
7. Write an announcement.
Just married? New baby? Make the honor roll? Spread the word in an announcement. This is for personal news only, not promoting your business.
Those are my tips for using Patch. What are yours? If you’re using Patch, what kinds of results have you seen? More people attending your events? More people saying, “I saw you on Patch”?