An important skill when working in a public relations agency is to build media lists. In order to get great results and press coverage, you need an organized media list. The process of building out your list can be time-consuming and keeping your lists up-to-date is an ongoing project, but it is worth the hours of research. A media list also gives you a place to organize the relevant information you collect from reporters, bloggers, journalists, producers and beyond. Building and maintaining media lists is a critical step in building long-lasting relationships with your contacts. Whether you are trying to get food, beverage or lifestyle publicity, maintaining an organized list will make your life easier and less stressful in the longrun.
Here are a few tips for creating a useful media list.
Know your Target Audience
When building your list, consider the type of pitch you’re sending and the audience that will be most receptive to it. Do you want your news to reach people reading magazines, browsing websites, flipping through news channels or a combination? Once you identify your target audience and where they consume their information, you can move on to researching specific outlets and contacts.
Building a media list requires a great amount of research and can be very time-consuming. It’s important to research the specific outlets you will be sending your pitch to determine if the outlet is a good fit for your brand. When researching, it’s best to look at audience size/demographics and the main topics that are covered by the outlet. From there, start researching relevant reporters who would be interested in the topic you’re pitching based on their previous articles or personal interests.
Building Out Your List
Now that you have determined your target audience and gathered all your media contacts from careful research, use a spreadsheet to build out your list and provide yourself with a convenient document to refer back to. Structure your lists to include basic information: the contact’s name, email, outlet and helpful notes. It is also beneficial to include links to their recent articles and past coverage to get an idea of what their area of focus is. If you personally have a great relationship with an editor, you should make note of that. It’s also important to include a city or state they live in for reference in case you were to book them specifically for deskside meetings and it may be convenient to also list out their mailing address as it can come in handy when you need to send them samples of your brand’s product.
Maintain the Media List
After creating your lists, you need to keep track of changes in people’s roles and areas of coverage. It’s important to keep your list up to date to avoid bounce backs and invalid responses. Having an organized list will make pitching seamless without having to go back to your emails to find that specific contact you’re looking for. It is ideal to clean up your lists once a week.
Now that you have created the perfect media list, you can begin media outreach and start receiving several responses needed to get excellent results.