Getting your taxi business some good PR coverage in local newspapers, magazines, on radio and even on TV can be a great way to build influence, authority and awareness of your brand. However, unless you’re one of the very largest taxi firms, you probably don't have the budget to hire a PR or marketing expert to help achieve this.

That’s why reading this guide to the 10 great ways to get your taxi business in the local paper is so worthwhile! With just a little bit of know-how, we can help you do your own PR and get ahead of the competition.

Just like finding the right taxi insurance, getting your taxi business in the local news is surprisingly easy to do. If you take the time to get some advice that is. Give our team at Taxi Insurer a call to arrange the right taxi insurance cover for your business in one easy step.

 

Taxi Rank

 

Why local news coverage is great for business

 

It might not have quite the same kudos as appearing in the national papers, but for a local taxi business getting coverage in your local press can give your business a very welcome boost.

Readers of local papers or news websites love hearing about local news, stories and events – matters which are all-too-often ignored by the larger news organisations. So, if you can help a locally-based journalist deliver this, then you’re well on the way to getting priceless press coverage for your business.

A local newspaper is often wrongfully perceived as the ‘poor relation’ of the national press. But that would be a mistake, it can in fact be an extremely powerful marketing tool with these distinct advantages over national media.

It’s easier to build powerful relationships

If you’re a strong local business then a local journalist may already have heard about you. It’s far easier to build a strong mutually beneficial relationship with a journalist if you can keep in regular contact with them. Indeed, once you’ve got to know them, they might even call you to comment on other stories relevant to your industry. Giving you more coverage with a lot less effort.

Your news is more likely to receive a positive spin

One of the main benefits of dealing with local media is they’re more likely to be interested in putting a positive spin on a local news story. While this isn’t always the case, in general local media have a greater sense of obligation to the local community. And are keener to promote their region and the good things about it.

You’ll have more control

Once a story has gained national interest it can be very difficult to control, even for people with professional media training. By keeping things local you’ll have more influence and control over how the story is presented. Avoiding any ‘sensationalism’ that could have a negative impact on your business.

More targeted digital reach

Local newspapers usually have a strong presence on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. So, remember it’s not just the physical paper you’ll be featured in. You could have a much more targeted impact online, too. A story going digital is a great way to reach the local audience who will be most interested in a taxi service.

A better return on time investment

As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot to do. From arranging taxi insurance to ensuring vehicles are well maintained, running a taxi firm takes a big investment in both time and money. So, why waste all that energy trying to get published in the national media when you have an audience that’s far more likely to be interested in your services, right on your doorstep.

 

10 ways to get great PR coverage for your taxi business

 

With so many reasons to seek out coverage in the local press it’s no wonder you’ll be competing against many other local businesses. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s easy to get high quality coverage in the local media. Follow these 10 steps to increase your chances of being featured.

  1. Decide what you need from media coverage

While getting good coverage in the local press may be considered ‘free advertising’, it does actually cost you something – your precious time! So, before you start you need to be clear about why you want media exposure in the first place. And precisely how you think it will help your taxi business. Are you looking for more customers, launching a new service, or recruiting new drivers? Or perhaps something else entirely. By knowing what it is you want to achieve, you can tailor your message accordingly.

  1. Find out what your target audience reads

The next step is to think about who your target audience is and what they read, watch and/or listen to. If you’re hoping to target company executives in your local area then think about what publications will best appeal to them. In that case you might approach a local business magazine. However, if you’re targeting retired people then there could be more appropriate publications or programmes to approach.

If you want to find out more about your customers, you could create an online survey and promote it on your social media channels. Use a simple tool like Survey Monkey. Just make sure you’re adhering to GDPR rules whenever you’re contacting customers so they have the chance to opt out of future communications if they want to.

  1. Be realistic

Getting decent press coverage isn't easy, so don't be disappointed if your ideas aren’t immediately snapped up. Journalists are busy people and may well ignore your finely crafted press releases and pitches completely. Others will simply say no. However, if you keep going and are willing to learn from your mistakes, you will get results.

  1. Get to know the contact details of your local journalists

Local journalism is a surprisingly small world, but knowing the right person to contact about a potential story will save you a lot of work. Many publications list contact details for journalists, so make use of them.

By reading local news articles you’ll soon get an idea of the journalists working in your area and the kinds of stories they’re looking for. If you can’t find an email address then social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn can be invaluable. And if you do connect with them, this will keep you at the front of their mind if other opportunities for coverage arise.

If in doubt, simply ring up the newsroom and ask who to contact. Journalists are always keeping a careful eye out for a good story so someone should be able to point you in the right direction.

If you’re given a generic email address such as news@ or features@ then be aware that sometimes these aren’t checked regularly. So, if you’ve got something time sensitive then you might need to find an alternative route. It’s always better to have the name and email address of the journalist covering your area.

  1. Research your target publications

You might not be aware of this but journalists often receive hundreds of press releases and emails each week. And unfortunately, many of these are simply sent unopened to the trash!

So, the closer you can get to their ideal story the better. If they love local sport and you contact them with a funny story about a recent football derby then you’re a lot more likely to get their attention.

How to do this is to spend the time reading their publication. What kind of stories are being covered? Is there anything you might be able to offer that works with those themes? For example, traffic congestion could be a common cause for complaint in your local town. If so, they might be interested to hear what local taxi drivers have to say about it.

When you're gathering information on your target publications, it's a good idea to find out about something called ‘lead times’. This is the amount of time they need between receiving some news and publishing. For print publications, this can often be far longer than you would think. For example, if your local newspaper comes out on a Thursday morning, if you call them up at 3pm the day before you'll have missed your chance.

  1. Write an email pitch

When you’re trying to get your news to the top of a journo’s in-try then you’ll need a decent ‘pitch’. In it you’ll want to include the following:

  • Personalised greeting – If you know your local journalist’s name then use it. It’s much more difficult to ignore a message that’s addressed to you personally!
  • Snappy subject line – You want them to open the email after all. Journalists are a busy bunch, a compelling one-liner that quickly describes your story is more likely to get their attention.
  • Important information – A couple of paragraphs outlining your idea, why readers would be interested and where to get more information is often enough.
  • Press release – The meat of the story. Include it in more than one format to be safe. For example, as well as attaching it to the email you might also want to include a link to a Google Doc. The less work the journalist has to do, the more likely your story will be published.

Depending on your relationship with the journo and the type of story you’re pitching, contacting them over the phone is fine, too. Just avoid obviously busy times and have an email pitch or press release to send if you're asked.

  1. Write a press release

As we mentioned in the previous tip, you’ll need to include a press release with all the relevant information. If it’s well written and checked for spelling and grammar then it may even be printed with minimal changes. That’s a brilliant result as that way you’ll have had complete control over how your business appears.

Writing such a brilliant press release is easier said than done, but there are plenty of examples on the web that you can get inspiration from. Reading previous similar stories will also give you a good idea of what to write. If you're not sure about writing it yourself, a freelance writer might be able to help.

  1. Don’t forget to follow up

You should usually only have to wait a day or two before a journalist will get back to you, if they’re interested. However, in a busy newsroom, stories can easily get missed. Never be afraid to chase up by phone or by email. But if you’ve chased and not got anywhere, then you can probably offer the story elsewhere.

  1. Be careful

By all means offer your story to a range of different publications, but be aware that there can often be rivalries among publications and journalists. A journalist who’s said they want to cover your story won’t be happy if they see it somewhere else before theirs hits the newsstands.

  1. Respond to journalists

Hopefully a journalist will respond to your pitch and press release and call you up for more information. If they do then you’ll want to respond to them promptly. News can move pretty fast and if something more interesting comes along, you could lose out.

  1. Cultivate the relationship

When you’ve achieved your aim of press coverage, don’t sit back and rest on your laurels. Now’s the time to develop the contact. So, connect with them and thank them for running the story, and offer to help with any other queries.

Follow them on social media, share the news content to your own network, and offer to provide more contacts or relevant future stories. It could be the start of a great relationship with your local paper.

 

Taxi Sign

 

10 great ideas your local newshounds will love

 

Stuck working out what kinds of stories might interest your local paper? Never fear, we’ve got 10 great suggestions to get you started. Not every one of these will apply to your taxi business but if you think they would then act now before other local taxi firms grab the headlines!

  1. Fundraising for charity
    Taxi drivers are a caring bunch and often an integral part of their local communities. However, they aren’t always keen at pushing themselves forward into the media spotlight. If your firm or any of your drivers have done a good deed or are fundraising for charity then local newspapers are always glad to hear. Particularly if there’s a human-interest story behind the fundraising.
  2. Commenting on issues of local concern
    Your fleet of cars will spend more time than most motoring around your local area. With potholes, unending road works, accident blackspots and traffic congestion being such a big part of local life, then your views could well be of interest. But be careful to stay on the point and be insightful. Think about what you really want to say and prepare yourself beforehand.
  3. Job opportunities
    People are always looking for work in local areas. If you’re searching for lots of new drivers then consider approaching your local paper. They’ll be keen to talk about employment opportunities for local people.
  4. Work in partnership with local firms
    In your work with wedding venues, hotels or restaurants there could well be times where you’ve got an interesting local story to share. Just make sure you’ve got the okay beforehand. You don’t want to jeopardise a business relationship just for a bit of publicity.
  5. Report funny stories
    When you’re dealing with the general public on a daily basis you’ve got to have a sense of humour. Provided you keep things anonymous, the local newshounds are always in the market for something funny or a bit quirky. Has someone left something really strange in your cab? Perhaps you’ve just returned a lost purse or passport to a customer?
  6. Crime against drivers or passenger problems
    Not a good news story at all. But publicising some of the problems your drivers have to endure is an important part of your local paper’s public duty. As a professional driver, you’ll be used to dealing with the general public on a daily basis. And while you know there are significant risks to this, there are some great tips for keeping safe as a taxi driver. Having specialist taxi insurance can help if things go wrong.
  7. Health initiatives for drivers
    Taking care of your drivers with the right taxi insurance is a big part of your role. Unfortunately, spending so long at the wheel every day can have a big impact on drivers' physical and mental health. If you’re doing something to help your drivers then why not publicise the fact? It might cause other businesses to take note and do the same for their staff.
  8. Environmental initiatives
    The state of the planet is always big news and anything businesses can do to help is often newsworthy. Perhaps you’ve decided to make the switch to electric cars, or make your business more sustainable by recycling more? It’s not just world leaders who make a big difference, so can you!
  9. Making your taxi fleet more accessible
    Did you know that only 58% of licensed taxis in the UK are wheelchair-accessible? And yet according to Scope there are 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. Many readers of local papers will be disabled and only too keen to read about how local businesses are seeking to help this unmet need.
  10. Discounts and offers
    Everyone is always looking for a bargain, and the readers of local papers are no different. If you’re running a really exciting offer then it could be worth contacting the local paper.

If you think you’ve got a decent story but the local paper isn’t interested, don’t be disheartened. Your own social media accounts are a great way to get your news out there. Take a look at this interesting guide to social media post ideas for taxi firms. Getting used to social media is good fun and great for business, too!

 

Protecting your business with taxi insurance

 

Getting your taxi business in the local paper on a regular basis can be an important part of success in our modern, competitive taxi industry. That’s why the specialist team at Taxi Insurer are always looking to help you stay on top.

Our taxi insurance comes in a variety of different forms, from third party, fire and theft to comprehensive cover. Public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance can also be added on.

Let us find you a quote for taxi insurance today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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