Earlier this year, Golin’s Global Relevance Review paired big data with small town research from Preston to understand exactly what’s making brands relevant in 2017 and to look beyond the London bubble. As part of Golin’s continued commitment to think outside the M25, we spent two days at Preston’s regional newspaper, the Lancashire Evening Post.
It was an incredible opportunity to understand how to better communicate with media outside of London, as well as gain insight into how traditional newspapers are using social media and other macro-trends. We learnt what factors lead the residents to feel disengaged with ‘big brands’ and how brands can gain back loyalty in tight-knit communities. Here’s our five learnings from Lancashire.
Don’t try and sell a product
One of the things we heard numerous times was that it’s clear when a story is written with the motivation to sell a product. One reporter told us, ‘our newspapers already have adverts, we’re not trying to fool our readers by sneaking them into articles as well’.
Make it relevant to the region
Naturally, people are extremely proud of their town. Their biggest concerns lie in the community and what affects it, rather than places where they feel little to no connection. Reporters also told us that it’s abundantly clear when the name of one location has been swapped out for another, thus meaning the story never feels authentic or more importantly, relevant!
Don’t underestimate regional online reach
The digital and print content of regional newspapers are as important as each other. The newspaper is a collection of what has happened whereas a newspapers website and social media is a reflection of what is happening. The LEP website and social reach is not unique to this newspaper, regional news is seen as a trusted source in many communities. Brands need to use this to their advantage.
Useful and practical content is key
The content that does best in regional press is either useful or amusing to the readers. At the LEP, the content that is popular with its readers has to either make them laugh or help them out. Offer people a helpful solution or a chuckle!
Word of mouth is everything
In regional cities, people look more to each other for opinions and reviews. There is a lack of trust in big brand or big businesses as they don’t feel relatable or authentic. In the eyes of LEP readers, family and friends are a trust-able and reliable source of information.