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Three Keys to Creating a Kick-butt Media List to Jump-start Your Publicity

Friday, February 14, 2014

Whenever I consult with clients about creating an effective publicity campaign, I always stress the importance of having a well-crafted strategy. However, a great strategy alone is not enough. To be successful in getting publicity for your company, you must also have a strong media list.

WHAT A MEDIA LIST IS:
A media list is a customized and carefully researched list of media professionals (including reporters, producers, and editors) whose job it is to cover stories that are related to your industry, expertise or target market.

For instance, if you are an expert in consumer affairs, build your media list to include reporters, journalists and editors who cover consumer affairs-not those who deal with gourmet cooking, literacy or film. Likewise, if you are a financial advisor, you wouldn't create a media list that includes reporters who cover the police beat. Instead, contact those in business or finance or maybe even lifestyle.

Many publicity do-it-yourselfers naively put any and everyone in the media on their list, without much thought as to whether or not that person has an audience for that particular message. Big mistake. Instead, use these three keys to create a kick-butt list that will jump-start your publicity:

1.) DO RESEARCH
When starting your media list, I recommend that you start locally. Collect a few of your town's most prominent newspapers and identify the editors or reporters that cover topics in your area of interest or expertise. If you're in education, find the person who covers that. If you're in fashion, look for the fashion editor. Then create a database with the following:

- Reporter's name
- email address
- phone number
- fax number and
- snail mail address.

Usually, you can find a reporter's name and email address right at the beginning or the end of the article. If not, look in the "masthead" which is usually found near the front of the paper. It lists all of the editors and even some reporters along with the snail mail address of that publication and other information as well.

Keep this info in its own category on your database labeled "newspapers."

Then go to the websites of your local TV stations. Identify the news shows or public affairs programs that do segments on the issues you can discuss. Usually they have the names of reporters and their email addresses in the bio section. If not, call the station, ask for the assignment desk and they'll tell you who best to contact for your particular story. Follow the same procedures listed above and label this category "Local TV."

Do the same thing for radio, blogs, podcasts and any other media you can think of. If you focus specifically on media professionals with an interest in your area of expertise, you have the makings of an amazing media list.

Once you get a grasp on your local media list and you start sending press releases and pitches to them, then start identifying national media outlets using the same procedure--- but don't do it without considering the second key to building a powerfully effective media list...

2.) BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
No matter how great your press material is, it carries a lot more weight when you have good media relationships. In my e-book, Successful Media Relations Strategies, I give specific tips on how to nurture media relationships. For instance: If a reporter does an excellent story on a topic, send them a note complimenting them. Additionally, don't be afraid to offer yourself as a resource should they decide to do a follow up story.

3.) REFRESH YOUR LIST REGULARLY
Turnover can be high in the media industry, so every few months, have an intern or assistant check to make sure the names on your list are still current. This way, you can always personalize your press material and make sure it gets to the right people. "To whom it may concern" does not go over well in the media. Whenever possible personalize your correspondence and even handwrite the envelope for best results. This technique also helps with media relationship building.

REMEMBER: Your strategy and your list work together synergistically to get your message in the media. If the publicity strategy is the car, the media list is the engine that drives the car. One cannot work independent of the other. Therefore, create your list thoughtfully and purposefully and you will get meaningful, high-impact publicity.

 

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