November 4, 2019
Media lists are not the most exciting parts of PR, but don't let that fool you, a well-put-together media list is a crucial foundational piece of any successful outreach campaign. No matter if you are informing about a new product launch, or offering commentary for a developing industry story, the quality of your media list will go a long way in the quality and quantity of coverage you secure. With this in mind, below, I have listed my best practices for building a robust media list.
One of the best actions you can take when you start working with a company is to identify their target media. What I like to do is make an excel document and compile all the industry and vertical trade publications and determine the appropriate contact at each outlet. If your client works in multiple verticals, I recommend creating a separate sheet for an excel sheet for each vertical. Maintaining a well-organized media list will help not only you but also your fellow team members. Creating a media list from scratch is a huge time investment, but remember, the more work you do early, the more time you will save in the long-run.
While researching your client’s media list, you might be tempted only to include each contact’s title and email address. These are necessary details to have, but for a more comprehensive list, it is best to go one step further. When you are researching each media member, take time and include a note section on each person’s beat and what they have written about lately. Then more pertinent information you add, the better.
If you use twitter, don’t be shy and give the journalists you have identified a follow. Journalists who take the time to be active on twitter are giving you a golden opportunity to get to know them on a deeper level. By monitoring their activity, you will have a better understanding of each person’s areas of interest. With a stronger grasp on their personality, you will be able to write tailored pitches that are genuine and personal, which hopefully will give you a higher chance to create a strong working relationship for years to come.
Like a finely manicured garden, a great media list alive and changes continually. As time goes on, the media landscape shifts, and journalists’ interests change. Because of this, try to take time every couple of weeks to trim and update areas of your list that need attention. Ideally, you want your media list to be the best possible representation of the current media landscape.