India is a vast country and every few kilometers the language, culture, nuances - everything changes... So how does one look at media relations in these places???
For a consultancy that has had more than its share of "client requirements" for smaller cities and towns - we targeted more than 300 towns in North India for a client several years ago - we have been pretty successful in garnering coverage across regions.
And this was not through some rocket-science, but keeping the basic tenets of PR in mind:
1. : In the smaller towns, the opportunities are fewer and most media is more than happy to connect with your client, if he/she can get a bite/quote that can give him/her more visibility. So the crux is to reach out and open channels of communication. Just remember - Phones/Faxes are preferred modes over emails/sms here.
2. We have always believed that respect is a two-way street and sometimes we are so caught up in our own sense of importance, that we forget common courtesies. Most agencies err on the side of "superiority" - we err on the side of caution. Making a person feel good about himself/herself and then getting him the access to the right people, we have realized, helps get better stories than any amount of push/pull from the head office or throwing names
3. Giving the local flavour, and adding some basic details relevant to that region helps a lot... Customization is the key here... It also gives the media a sense of "relevance" and they can fight to get their stories in better... Wherever possible communicate in the local language and offer quotes and details in the same language. Remember - Google translate is NOT a good idea - it only transliterates and does not translate! Locate a quality translator, often a local media person or someone who the local media can recommend!
4. It pays to have a short briefing session on the local media, just before the activity, so that the client is fully abreast of what to say and what not to say/do!!!
And last but not the ;least: Please do not crib about roads, heat, power failure, lack of amenities, etc... Remember, there is some nice thing to say about the worst of places and while you are just visitors, these people are residents...
We have had successful stints in most of the places that we have been to, based on only these four tenets and so can all of you!!!