A targeted media list is your game plan for success.
Having grown up watching the Los Angeles Dodgers and playing Backyard Baseball on my desktop, I’m the first to admit that my football knowledge is lacking. However, in the spirit of the approaching season, I do know the importance of a well-strategized game plan. Without a game plan, even America’s most talented teams would be left misguided and unprepared.
For PR pros, developing targeted media lists is an essential skill that each member of the team should know. From our account coordinators to our CEO, each member of the Largemouth team has developed tips, tricks and best practices to create spot-on lists and a strong offensive line for media outreach in client campaigns.
When working with a public relations firm or reaching out to media yourself, never underestimate the importance of a quality media list. Here’s what you should pay attention to before reaching out to those perfect media contacts:
Know your fans
A common misconception about media outreach is that you should simply reach out to as many journalists as possible and hope something sticks. While there’s strength in numbers, this approach can take up extensive amounts of time and may not produce a worthwhile return on investment. Think about it this way – if you want to spark journalists’ interest in your product or service, know your fans. When searching through Cision or a publication’s website, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the journalist regularly write on the topic or has he or she covered a similar story in the past?
- Does he or she write for a publication that caters to your target audience?
Now you may find yourself staring at a lengthy list of reporters, editors, news anchors, producers and more. Naturally, one would think the next step is to start pitching. Although you’ve identified specific media to target, it’s important to organize your list to include key information on each media contact. Apart from listing a contact’s name, role, outlet, email address and phone number, consider including notes from your research that can help expedite the process when it’s time to pitch.
For example, Cision’s media database provides brief descriptions of the topics a journalist tends to cover. Likewise, taking note of journalists’ past coverage will make it much easier to tailor pitches and show you’re familiar with their work. Whether you’re creating your list in Cision or Excel, find the platform and logging process that works the best for your team and stick with the plan.
Don't forget the team huddle
Although your media list may only be targeted to one campaign, past media lists are excellent resources for future media outreach. One of your most responsive contacts may cover new products but also has an interest in corporate social responsibility stories. If your team is planning to pitch a story on the latter, having the contact’s information readily available provides a great starting point for your teammates as they create lists for new campaigns. This is where the extra work organizing, taking notes and regularly updating past media lists pays off – saving you and your team valuable time.
From the NFL to your next media relations campaign, developing a solid game plan can prove to be vital to your team’s success. For our team of PR pros, nothing is more exciting than seeing our clients covered by top target news outlets after specifically adding the journalist to our media list. As the air gets cooler and we start to enter football season, consider using the services of a PR agency like Largemouth to coach you and help get your message out to your fans.