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4 Reasons We Love Local Media (and You Should Too)

January 25th, 2017   ||    by Monta Monaco Hernon

National programming offers high viewership, it’s true. But local media also has a certain charm that makes it an attractive outlet for advertising. Here are a few reasons why we love local and why you should, too.

1. They Create a Community Connection

For starters, local media offers a sense of community that’s not easily replicated. Broadcasters tend to find stories of local interest that probably wouldn’t be covered by national outlets. Local stations mobilize for charitable events, promote local sports, and run educational programming. By sponsoring fundraisers, sports teams, or programming, companies can foster an emotional association with their brand that leads to loyalty.

Two principles help explain this relationship and its benefits. The campfire effect shows how watching live television together has replaced the communal act of gathering around a fire. Through local stations, advertisers are able to join in around the electronic campfire and share some of the positive associations viewers make with their broadcasters.

2. Local Content is Highly Shareable

Communities do have their share of crime and punishment but they also inspire tales of compassion and heroism, stories reflecting local flavor. They also share accounts that relay some, shall we say, unusual happenings around town. In this age of social media, residents share these broadcasts, which are sometimes picked up by other outlets as a result.

NBC Los Angeles recapped its top shared stories from 2016: A funeral procession for a slain officer was viewed more than 4 million times and gathered about 58,000 shares; and a story about firefighters who rescued a bulldog named Potato from a fire was viewed more than 9 million times and led to 102,000 shares.

As for going viral—in January, WPIX in New York reported on a 12-year-old boy who pulled a gun on a classmate for a chicken nugget. The story was picked up by national outlets like the Huffington Post, which posted the original video and linked to it on the station’s website.

3. You Get Natural Geographic Targeting

Local broadcast is by nature a form of geographic targeting. But reaching the desired locations and stations has traditionally presented logistical difficulties, as the process has involved dealing separately with each station and therefore becoming mired in a sea of emails, faxes, and phone calls.

As Videa President Shereta Williams said in a Beet.TV interview, it used to be easier and less time-consuming for advertisers wanting to target 40 percent of the country to do a network-TV buy. Automated buying, however, is making it easy again. By streamlining the workflow, automated makes it more efficient to target that 40 percent via local media. “You don’t have to waste the part of the country you don’t want to buy,” explained Williams.

4. They Build Viewer Trust

Local stations have built a sense of trust in their communities. Viewers, for example, count on the broadcasters for information in emergency situations. Employees work round-the-clock, reporters put their own safety at risk, and anchors show care for their audiences. Marketing Land analyzed the Nielsen Trust in Advertising survey, which found that television continues to trump online and print ads in terms of consumer trust. With local advertising, the goodwill and sense of loyalty built up between newscasters and the public can carry over to the brands showcased during commercial breaks.

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