There’s no way around it – working in PR means you’ve got to know the media, inside and out. The first step is to create a killer media list, a curated list of journalists, bloggers, editors, producers and anyone else in the media you will pitch to during a campaign. Creating a useful, focused media list is a delicate art that can make or break your media outreach. Below are ClutchPR’s suggestions for building a media list and landing the coverage of your dreams.
- Research – Before you do anything else, you need to determine who your client’s target audiences are and what outlets they consume. There’s no point in landing a story in an outlet that your target never pays attention to. For instance, if you’re going after Millennials, don’t pitch to Zoomer.
- Cision – The PR Software program allows you to generate lists of contacts across the media landscape by location and topic, providing most contacts’ email addresses and phone numbers. Generating a Cision list is a great first step, but unfortunately it’s just that. Lists are not always up-to-date or complete, so you will have to curate the list and add to it yourself. Learn more about Cision here.
- Keep tabs on your beat – Stay up-to-date on who is writing for whom, especially if your PR efforts focus on a particular industry (fashion, entertainment or tech, for instance). Read the outlets regularly. Follow the writers on Twitter. I’ve heard of publicists ripping out and saving the mastheads of magazines as a quick reference for publishers and editors. Your media lists will be greatly improved if you already know the key people who should be at the top of it.
- Tracking down journalists – What to do if a journalist you’d like to pitch isn’t in Cision and you can’t find her email address online? If you know she writes for a certain outlet, you can try to replicate the format of the publication’s email addresses. If, for instance, you want to reach Lois Lane and you know other email addresses at the Daily Planet start with the person’s name and end with @dailyplanet.com, try email@example.com. Alternatively, many writers are on Twitter and aren’t adverse to a friendly direct message asking for their contact info.
- Update your list – Fill your media list with everything that’s relevant, including email addresses and phone numbers, if you have them. You never know when you might need to hop on a call with a journalist. And if you reach out to someone else during the campaign, add their contact to the list. A good media list is a living, breathing document you’ll return to in future campaigns.
For more media relations advice, check out the ClutchPR Get Press Now kit.