How to Build a Strong Media List to Maximize Your Coverage
It’s pretty simple really. It doesn’t matter how great your story is; if you don’t have anyone in the media to pitch it to, your news will be dead in the water. It’s all in the list, and with the right media list, you could land coverage on blogs, newspapers, business magazines, podcasts, and much more. Of course, the first step is to build a strong media list.
What makes for a strong media list? A good list is:
Up to date – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the print media industry has been going through some serious shakeups lately. Some reporters have been laid off and others have been reassigned. Keeping your media list current is absolutely essential.
Divided up by type of media outlet – Sometimes, you’ll want to pitch to bloggers, and other times, you might have something better suited for an industry print publication. Keep your list organized so you can easily access the right media members for making your pitch.
Made up of reporters who are likely to cover your story – I can’t say it enough. Good media relations is about knowing who in the media is likely to cover your story. Irrelevant pitches are one of the biggest mistakes you can make, and it’s an easy way to make the media hate you.
So, how can you assemble the perfect media list? Here are some simple tips to help you out.
Figure out where your audience is – The point of getting media coverage is to get exposure in front of your target audience. After all, who cares if your company gets mentioned in a magazine that none of your customers would ever read? So, figure out which publications (blogs, magazines, industry journals, etc.) appeal to your audience, and start building your list there.
Consider geography – Is your target audience local? Start building your list with local media. If they’re national, you need to build a national media list. If they’re international, well, you get where I’m going with this.
Know the frequency of the media outlets – The frequency of the media outlets has to do with how often they publish new content. Blogs often publish daily, while magazines may be monthly. You need to understand the editorial calendars of the publications you’re targeting to give your story the best chance of getting picked up.
Find specific contacts – After identifying the media outlets you want to target, you need to figure out who the right contact is at each of these places. Most publications offer general contact info, but that’s not enough for you. You need to find out who the right reporter is who would be likely to cover your story.
Use these online databases – The internet is full of useful directories loaded with media contacts:
News and Media in the Yahoo! Directory
Internet Public Library: Newspapers .
Newspapers US and Worldwide
Refresh your list regularly – Reporters find other opportunities, get reassigned, get promoted, or suffer from layoffs. Keeping your media list fresh is essential to ensuring you have a good contact at the outlets you’re targeting.
Have a PR distribution company do it for you – Building your own list can be tiring. By letting a press release distribution company handle all the work of getting your news out there, you can benefit from their huge list of contacts.
What’s your best tip for building a strong media list?