Putting together an effective media list is one of the first steps in engaging the media and getting coverage for your startup or small business.
In its simplest form, a media list is essentially a document outlining key media contacts, publications and areas of expertise.
Creating an effective media list will ensure that your pitches and news releases are targeted towards the most appropriate media contact and publication to ensure that the person who gets your pitch sees value in covering it. This is why it is important to strategically select and target the media most relevant to your business or industry.
In the digital age, media lists are no longer limited to including just reporters – your media list should include journalists, editors, bloggers, freelance writers, and producers across print, radio, television, and online outlets.
Here are some great tips to help you create highly effective media lists to maximize your PR efforts:
- Identify your target audience: Everything in media relations is centered on one very important element – your target audience! If you haven’t already, research your target audiences and the best ways to reach them – find out how they consume information, do they read newspapers? Magazines? Blogs? Watch the news on TV? Watch videos online? Listen to the radio? Podcasts? Answering these questions will help you to target your media list to outlets and mediums that your audiences are already tuned into.
- Assess media outlets: Research relevant media outlets to your business and be sure to narrow them down by topics covered, the medium (TV, print etc.) and the readership or reach of each outlet. Try to get a hold of past issues or old programs from each media outlet to really get a sense of what topics are covered and how they are covered. Try searching for an editorial calendar for the outlets you are targeting so that you know exactly when their deadlines are so you can pitch accordingly.
- Identify the best contact for every outlet: Picking the right person to pitch your story to is critical to your success in getting coverage. As you craft your media list, you should identify the best person to contact from each media outlet. For example, if you are pitching a tech story to your local newspaper, you need to find out who the technology section reporters are, as well as the technology section editors. As part of your research you should read past stories and features written by the journalists you are targeting to familiarize yourself with them and their work.
- Never send a pitch to a general address: Sending your news release or pitch to an email address for general inquiries should always be avoided as your pitch will be far less likely to reach the right person at the media outlet. A great tip for finding media contact details is on the outlet’s website where they may list staff email addresses and phone numbers, if you can’t find this info online, pick up the phone and call the outlet for information. There are also many online databases that offer media contact information, most of them you have to subscribe to, but the fees are usually nominal and worth the amount of time you will save finding this information on your own.
- Get organized: An excel document with columns for the outlet, name of contact, job title, area of expertise, email address, and phone number is a great way to get your information organized for each media list your produce. Make different sections for each type of outlet, for example, have a section with bloggers, one with radio contacts, one for magazine contacts etc.
- Keep your list updated: Make sure to update your lists regularly to make sure your information is always current. Keep an eye on industry news so you know if any of your media contacts have moved, and be sure to also keep an eye out for publications that will be launching, and ones that will be ceasing publication so you can update your media lists accordingly.
Having a great media list is an important start when looking to engage with the media and get coverage for your business. We hope these tips were helpful to you in putting together an effective media list, let us know in the section below if you used any of these tips, and what worked and what didn’t, or just say hi!