PR: The art and science of creating great media lists

By Lisa Goldsberry

4231221_sThis may be the most important list you can make for a more profitable year

Your company has a big announcement or event coming up and you want everyone to know about it, so you create a terrific press release and develop your best pitch. Now what?

Whom you send your press releases to is as important as what you send. To make sure you’re targeting the right journalists for your message, you must do your homework and generate a media list. Of course, this is easier said than done, but fortunately, PR can help.

Media lists are vital

Positive media placements are a key to getting your company’s name and message to customers and prospects, industry leaders and other major stakeholders. These placements act as a third-party endorsement for your products and services. Your media list may be all that stands between your company and achieving enhanced visibility and increased profits.

In order to reach your target customers, you need to know who they are, what they’re looking for and the best way to attract their attention at various stages of the buyer’s journey. Just as knowing more information about your customers makes it easier to communicate with and persuade them to purchase from your company, having a detailed media list makes it more likely that the reporters you contact will be interested enough to cover your company.

How to create your media list

Many companies try to follow the send-it-to-everyone-and-hope-someone-bites approach to media relations. This is sort of like planning a party for your friends and then sending invitations to everyone in the phone book.

You have to discover which news outlets and journalists are most likely to cover your industry and the type of news you have to share. Then, you’ll have to work to build relationships with those reporters.

A good way to do this is by following them on social media (if possible), regularly reading their articles to get a better sense of what they write about and commenting when appropriate. Once you’ve done this, you may feel like you’re ready to start flooding them with your press releases.

Pause. A better line of attack might be first to reach out just to offer your assistance. Perhaps you can recommend your CEO as an expert on a hot topic or provide helpful information about an upcoming trend in your industry. Do this without pitching your company. Then, you’ll have positioned yourself as a go-to resource and when you do have news about your own company, the reporter will be more likely to listen.

Once you’ve targeted the right reporters, it’s time to build your media list. As you do so, make sure you spell everyone’s name correctly and that you have the most current contact information.

It’s important to note that a media list is a living document, requiring periodic reviews and updates. Additionally, you’ll probably need more than one list, like a local list and a national list, or at least one that’s segmented into various categories. For example, if your company creates computer programs designed for use by schoolteachers, you might need one list of technology reporters, one for education reporters and a third for business writers.

Why professional PR help is essential

All of this can be very time-consuming work, which is why hiring a PR firm is a smart choice. At Axia, we understand editorial calendars, ever-changing titles and beats, as well as what it takes to help you build a strong media list that gets results. Download our free e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media or contact us today to find out how we can improve your media outreach campaigns.



Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter @axiapr.

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Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: Public Relations, Featured

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