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How to prioritize media outlets for better company coverage

By Marjorie Comer

Classify media tiers, identify interest, select quality options, and stay informed about competitors to prioritize media outlets.


A newspaper.Earning media coverage is essential to a successful PR campaign, and it’s important to remember not all media outlets are created equal when earning coverage. For example, an outlet you may be excited to earn coverage with may not be exciting to the client.


Knowing how to categorize and prioritize media outlets as you build relationships to earn media coverage is essential in maximizing your efforts and securing coverage that matters to your executives.


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For each client, you must know the target audience, industry, and overall media landscape, such as what has earned coverage before and what hasn’t.


How can your company prioritize media outlets?

To prioritize media outlets and build relationships for earning media your company or client desires:


1. Classify the media tiers.

Follow the “typical” breakdown of media outlets by dividing media outlets into their tiers. Tiers are based on the relevance and reach of each outlet. 


  • Tier 1 is national general news, consumer, and business outlets with 20+ million total audience.
  • Tier 2 is national general news, consumer, and business outlets with 10-20 million total audience.
  • Tier 3 is national general news, consumer, and business outlets with 3-10 million total audience.


2. Identify executive and customer interest.

Identify outlets that matter most to your company and your customers. Ask yourself “What am I reading?” and “What are our customers reading?” 

Your CEO may be more traditional and prefer to see news stories included in print 

instead of online media coverage. Know what matters to your executives and what 

matters to your customers.

3. Select the best quality outlets.

Create a media list and then prioritize the quality outlets — remember, quality over quantity. You can pitch to all outlets on your media list, but will you really be giving it a quality effort? Pitch like you are throwing spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.

4. Stay up to date on company competitors.

While you should aim for unique outlets, knowing where your competitors are quoted and featured can help you identify and prioritize where those outlets should land on your media list. If you haven’t done it yet, consider creating Google Alerts for your company and your competitors to ensure you’re aware of all your coverage and enhance your media list regularly. 


Every outlet only serves a segment of the population. In my years of working in PR, I’ve found the most success spending a majority of my time on the top 10 to 20% of my media lists. The more time I’ve spent prioritizing my media lists, the better the outcome has been. For example, I spent two months cultivating a relationship with one reporter –– who was with an outlet a client sought to be in –– by sharing photos of our gardens and recipes. Get to know that top 20% most important to you, the CEO, and the company. 


The CEO may have a different priority than the CMO or others within your company. Your media list should be a living breathing document –– reporters come and go, media outlets close and open. Be aware of these updates and continually evaluate what outlets you need to focus on for earned media coverage. 


Prioritizing media outlets is one PR strategy you can use for a rounded PR plan. For more information about how we can elevate your PR strategy, contact us today or book a one-on-one consultation.


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Photo by Ensiha Digital

Topics: media relations, earned media, news media

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