Building a great media list starts with knowing your audience, knowing their interests and the media they consume. The better you know your audience, is the better your chances of reaching them when you begin to communicate.
If you know your audience is made up of young, entrepreneurial women who love fashion and read Vogue magazine, then building your media list will start with finding media, writers, journalist and bloggers who cover womenpreneurs or fashion and who write for Vogue magazine.
Then, study what you find. How are the stories written in Vogue magazine? What have the writers published recently that is relevant to what you want featured? How can you contribute by being a source to the media and writers that you find?
Take the time to get to know the people you want to connect with and then begin to nurture a relationship with them. It works exactly the same in the dating world. You take the time to get to know prospects and you go on dates to deepen your knowledge and understanding of one another with one or more goals in mind i.e. sex, companionship, marriage . . . you get the idea. The same rules apply with media or any business relationships.
Now that we have the most important piece covered, here are some steps you can take to create your outstanding media list.
- Start small – yes I know you want to reach everyone, but you have to be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Start with a list of 5 media outlets or journalist who would be great to connect with and take one day a week to get to know each of them. Follow them on Twitter, share one or two of their stories, comment on their blog and find other ways to make a connection. As you go, record their information in an Excel spreadsheet: name, media outlet or blog address, email if available. Keep notes on your interaction with them, whether they respond to you or have a great article you can share and move on to the next.
- Know where to look – Twitter is great place to search for possible media contacts, but LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook are all perfectly fine to seek out the best contacts for your list. Magazine mastheads have names and emails for editors and contributors, websites of media outlets or blogs will most likely have a contact page with a form, but don’t be surprised to find specific emails depending on the news you want to share. Continue to add the names and contact info of the people you find to your Excel list.
- Keyword search – You can google a keyword like ‘fashion’ and then click the ‘News’ link to see what headlines come up and click through the search results to see who is writing about fashion.
- Network – If spending so much time online is not your thing, get out and do some networking. Journalists and writers are often invited to events which creates the perfect opportunity to bump into one of them, strike up a conversation and exchange business cards.
- Check online resources – If you have the budget you can use tools like Cision to get quick and easy access to media contacts, otherwise you can check these resources to help with building your list:
- Muck Rack (US, UK, CA, AU)
- Contactable (Global)
- Help a reporter (US)
- Anewstip (Global)
- Bolo Software (US)
- Hey Press (US, UK, Asia)
- PressPass (US, UK)
You can choose one or more of these methods to create your media list, just remember that slow an steady is the name of the game. Set a goal to make one new media contact per day or per week and keep going until you have a strong list of contacts you can reach out to on a regular basis. One piece of advice: don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from anyone you reach out to. There are plenty of media in the sea. Chances are, if you get enough buzz from the media contacts who do respond, it will only be a matter of time before the big outlets come calling.