One of the first things you need to do to gain great media coverage is to create an excellent media list.
A media list documents the key media contacts who would be interested in stories about your business or area of expertise. These media contacts may include journalists, reporters, bloggers, producers, freelance writers and editors across print, online, blogs, radio and television.
The process of building a media list allows you to think long and hard about who will be receiving your news and how you might approach each journalist, blogger, producer or editor to ensure they see value in covering it. It is important to selectively target the media of most relevance to your business.
To build your business' thought leadership and demonstrate expertise in your industry, you must be strategic about where you generate your media coverage.
Here are some tips to help create an excellent media list.
Assess your target audience
The first thing you need to decide when creating your media list is who your target audience is and how best to reach them.
Start by researching what your target audience is interested in and how they prefer to consume information, including via blogs, websites, TV programs, newspapers or magazines.
For instance, if your target audience is predominately stay at home mums, you would look at directly targeting your media pitches and media releases to women's magazines and mummy bloggers.
Research media outlets
It is important to conduct research into relevant media outlets. This should include what topics they cover, the medium (online, radio etc.) and the readership or audience size.
Take note of the frequency the media outlets publish or produce new content. For instance, a blog may publish posts daily but a magazine will often be published monthly. Understanding the editorial calendar and the deadlines of the media you're targeting will give your story the best chance of landing.
Find the right contact
When creating a media list, it is important to find the best person to contact from the media outlet. This person should have responsibility for or an interest in the topic of your story.
For instance, if you are looking to send a media pitch to the technology section of a metropolitan newspaper, you would need to find the journalist who covers that particular section.
Look at articles written about your topic in your target publications and note the journalists who wrote these stories. It is also helpful to look at the job titles of journalists, producers and reporters. Often their particular area of expertise will be reflected in their job title, for example 'social affairs reporter'.
Try to avoid sending your media release or pitch to the email address for general enquiries, as often it will not reach the right person at the media outlet. Ensure you don't contact several people at the same media outlet as they may feel that you are spamming them.
To find media contact details, you can visit the media outlet's website where they may list staff email addresses and phone numbers, or call the publication directly for information. There are also several online databases which offer media contact information for media professionals, like AAP Media Net, an Australian media contacts database.
Organise your information
It is important to organise your media list into a database such as an excel document, with separate columns for the name of the media outlet, contact person, job title, email address and phone number.
It is also a good idea to categorise your list into different sections for the type of media outlet. For example you could create a section with your blogging contacts and a separate section for your magazine contacts.
Keeping your information well organised will mean you are able to easily digest the information, and locate information quickly.
Update your list
It is important to update your list regularly, as your media contacts will often change roles or move into a different area of expertise.
Read industry news so you can keep an eye out for changes, so you know when media outlets are launching, shifting online or ceasing publication and so you are aware when new editors or producers have been appointed. Staying on top of changes within media outlets will ensure that your media list stays up-to date.
Having a great media list is an important start when looking to engage with the media and gain media coverage for your business. Use the media to shine your light.
About the author
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. www.unknowntoexpert.com
Catriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. www.cpcommunications.com.au