Securing a form of coverage is a great way to increase awareness of your brand, publicise some key information or a message, as well as sometimes obtain an all-important backlink to your website. I previously shared a blog post with tips to help you write the perfect pitch to send to journalists, but this information is useless if you don’t have a strong and suitable media list to send the pitch out to!
Determine where/who you would like to target
In order to begin compiling a suitable media list, you must first understand who you want this content to reach and consider where this audience can be found. For your target audience to stand a chance of viewing the content, you must make sure that you’re pitching it towards the most suitable outlets. This could be from any (or a combination) of the following:
- National newspapers
- Local news outlets
- Lifestyle publications
- B2C niche focused magazines/websites
- B2B niche focused magazines/websites
- Radio channels
Not only must the outlet fit your target audience, but you should check that the outlet covers content of this type. For example, you might find that outlets that cover research findings won’t necessarily be interested in sharing a press release of a product launch.
Once you’re confident that the outlet covers similar content to your pitch, take the time to identify which journalists/writers fit the niche of your content. When targeting national news outlets, often each journalist has a job title related to their content, so a few specific journalists will cover politics, with others for lifestyle and others for finance etc. Sending your content to the wrong journalist is likely to lead to it being ignored, and if you’re consistently sending irrelevant information to the same journalists, they may block you from contacting them at all.
Find the right contact details
Once you’ve decided who you want to target, you then need to find their contact details. This can sometimes be easier said than done. Some outlets happily share their journalists’ email addresses, often on their ‘author page’ or within their articles. Others may provide you with the format of their staff’s email addresses, such as email@example.com. From this, you can work out the details for whoever you wish to contact by using their name. There are a few different Chrome extensions that can be used to find email addresses if you’re struggling to find them within the outlet’s site.
Many online publications, magazines and blogs will display relevant contact details in the ‘contact us’ section, however, sometimes you’ll find a generic email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may be presented with an online contact form. Both of these are fine to use if you’re unable to find an email address for a specific journalist.
Create a home for your media list
In order to keep your media contacts up-to-date and organised, create a spreadsheet or database to store the information in. Key information to include is the name of the outlet, the name and job title of the journalist and their contact information such as email address and phone number. It’s also worth adding a section for notes where you can include any other relevant information, such as the domain authority of the outlet’s website, submission guidelines, or specific days the journalist prefers to be contacted.
It can be worth creating multiple tabs within the document to organise each of the contacts further. You may wish to filter by outlet type, making it easier to locate each outlet when you’re trying to target specifics.
Sometimes, the same information will be sent to multiple different outlets, and if these combinations are commonly used it can be easier to split your contacts out by the type of content you regularly send out. For example, you may send out regular product releases to a specific mix of outlets, as well as regular research statistics to a different mix.
Once your media list is up and running, it’s advisable to regularly check the contacts you have. Sometimes journalists can move jobs and begin writing for a different outlet, and can sometimes leave the sector entirely. In either case, their email will no longer be functional and you’ll find that anything you send to them will bounce back.
Whenever you find a bouncing email, make a note on your spreadsheet so that you can investigate. You may find an updated email address for them, or you may find the email address for whoever has taken their role. If they have moved outlets, make sure that their new role still fits with your content and target audience, as they may no longer be relevant and therefore are best to remove from your media list.
Although it can take a considerable amount of time to get a healthy media list set up, it will save you so much time in the future. If you continue to add to each list, as well as create new lists whenever a new selection of contacts is needed, eventually every piece of outreach will be much simpler to carry out.