Creating a media contact list that earns press is a skill that has to be learned. You can easily create a list that amounts to zero press simply because you don’t know how to build one.

If you send an email pitch to the wrong reporter, it will end up in the trash folder of the reporter’s email. A media list needs to be:

  • Relevant – A relevant media list means that the email pitch is going to the right journalists likely to be interested in your story.
  • Up-to-date – Your contact information for every journalist in that list has to be current. Outdated contact information means your pitches will return delivery errors and won’t reach the recipients.
  • Comprehensive – The media list needs to not only have the contact’s email address but as much contact information as you can find. This includes the social media usernames of mostly Twitter and LinkedIn. It does not stop at the contact information; it also includes a list of some of the articles that the journalist has worked on, mostly their recent 5 pieces. Collect as much relevant information as possible for which you would need in order to pitch.

Here is why having a bad media list will spell death for your PR campaign:

a) The media industry experiences rapid changes

A few industries can be said to be dynamic and ever on the move. The media industry is one of them. There are always new outlets springing up, reshuffles happening in newsrooms, and journalists moving from one outlet to another. Chances are that if you leave your media list unchecked for more than two weeks it will be out of date. For more than a month it will be grossly outdated.

b) You can jeopardize your reputation by constantly pitching the wrong reporter

If you are sending an email to the wrong reporter, you are spamming their inboxes. The more you do that due to your outdated media list, the more spammy you become to them. It will affect your company’s credibility in the end.

c) You may be losing valuable opportunities

A media list that has the wrong contact information could be leaving a story on the table. That is a potential journalist to give your pitch some interest, and yet you have a wrong email address of theirs.

d) Wasting time pitching wrong contacts

Every time you spend pitching using a bad media list is time wasted that could be utilised elsewhere. As you send all those emails to a bad list, know that the clock is ticking, and money is being wasted as well as time.

e) Your perception is out of touch

To develop pitch angles so that you can write the right email pitch to the right journalists, we usually insist on having relevant data. Part of the relevant data includes knowing what is happening in PR and that relates to your industry. A bad media list means that you are out of touch with your industry and the media involved.

How to create and maintain an effective media list

a) Know your story

Understand your story and your story angle before beginning your PR campaign. The story is not just abasic launch pitch, it has to be involving and interesting.

b) Understand your audience

Would the audience you are interested in showing the story be interested in it? Is the medium of communication you are planning to use going to be effective? Would it fit to have an inspiring story or a technical story or both for this audience?

Understanding the audience that will read your story and their needs or where their focus is answering the above questions and more with full and clear conviction.

c) Identify the publications/outlets

Having understood the audience, where can you find them? This is the stage where you list all the outlets that you want to be featured in. From large media companies to those that are mid-sized and small blogs, the opportunities are endless.

d) Identify the target journalists

Once you have the outlets, which journalists in these outlets would you be pitching? Have they featured more stories like yours or within your niche before? You should feel confident if they have written about any of your competitors. At this stage you list all the journalists from your target publications.

e) Collect your contact information

At this stage, you have your journalists and their publications of interest. You then set out to get their contact information. Using a platform like Pressfarm, you are able to pay a small monthly fee to get up to 20,000 contacts of journalists. The most important thing is to ensure your collected contacts are up-to-date.

f) Constantly check and update the list

To keep a media list that is not constantly updated and checked is to create a huge potential for wasting time, money, and not being ready for that PR campaign when it’s time to push it.

As you can see, a media list is critical for any PR campaign. However, coming up with a media list that is effective and keeping it updated takes work. If you are a startup, you will probably struggle a bit with this and that is where Pressfarm comes in. As a PR firm focused on startups, we help build your PR campaign by creating a media list for you and working with you to craft content that is sure to bring in replies from your target journalists. With a professional press release, some compelling guest posts and a creative media kit, you can make a journalist’s head turn.

However, if you would like to do this on your own, using the tips discussed in this post, make sure to sign up for the Pressfarm media database. Here, you will find comprehensive, relevant, and up-to-date information on over 1 million journalists, bloggers and influencers across different industries. With this database, you can continue doing media outreach for your brand for up to a year after you sign up.

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