The creation of an effective media list is an essential component to any PR plan. A media list is a compilation of media outlets including specific reporter contact information. As someone who is just beginning my career in PR, I find myself looking to the below tips when creating media lists from scratch. They have helped to direct my process and break down the task of creating a media list into manageable parts. Here’s hoping it can do the same for you.
Understand Your Audience and Scope
This is a crucial starting point for beginning your media list. Who is your client and who are they trying to reach? What industry are they in and what industries are do they want to engage? What kind of publicity are they looking for? The more specific you can be with these answers, the better. This gathered information should guide the media outlets you target, whether it’s print, online, broadcast, or some other form of media.
Similar to understanding your audience is determining the scope of the publicity you want for your client. Where do they want to be seen? Do they want highly localized media coverage? Regional or national? This will help broaden or narrow your focus on media outlets.
Check Twice and Use Twitter
Finding the perfect media outlet for your client will only be helpful if you pitch to the right reporter. Media databases like MyMediaInfo will have information about reporters and their beats, but they could be out of date. It’s important to cross check this information with other sources. This can be done with media outlet staff directories, such as The Oregonian. However, while some media outlets have detailed staff directories, others do not. You can also look up past articles written by a reporter to ensure they align with the content you hope to pitch.
Social media can also provide additional insight on a reporter. Check out their Twitter or other social media platforms to see the kind of content they consistently post. This can be a helpful indicator of what content interests them. Additionally, interacting with reporters via social media can help them get to know you which is beneficial when pitching.
Have a Little Patience
Sometimes finding the right reporter at the optimal news outlet can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Some clients may be highly specific and have less outlets that are applicable, while others may be broader. Be persistent with your research. Crafting a great media list can take time and that’s okay. Happy hunting!