How to Build A Successful Media List to Generate Coverage

The biggest part of our job is earning media coverage for our clients, which is done by pitching stories and developing relationships with journalists. Doing this effectively requires a strong media list, which is one of the key components to successful PR.

 

Now, you may be wondering, what is a media list? Simply put, it’s a compilation of reporters organized for the sole purpose of pitching them story ideas on behalf of your client. It’s highly organized and updated frequently to accommodate today’s fast-paced, ever-changing journalism landscape. It’s also customized per story idea.

 

If this sounds like a ton of work, it is. But that’s what makes our job so rewarding. And there are a ton of tools and tricks that help build excellent media lists. But if you’re still unsure of how to put one together, follow these steps.

 

Step 1: Determine Target Audience.

In order to determine the best reporters and publications to add to a media list, first determine target audiences, which should correlate with a client’s key customers. For instance, let’s say a client sells audio products such as headphones, soundbars and home theater systems. As a PR agency, the goal will be to educate tech-savvy individuals about the client’s products in the consumer electronic space. Therefore, the media list should reflect reporters who cover this beat for media outlets frequently read by this demographic. If the client has multiple audiences, make sure to build a media list for each one.

 

Step 2: Create a list of ideal outlets.

Once target audiences are determined, create a list of outlets that are a natural fit to cover your client’s story. This will also need to reflect the client’s PR goals.

 

So, if a global tech company is seeking national media coverage, the media list may include outlets such as Fast Company, Wired, Inc., Forbes and USA Today. But, if a client is seeking local coverage to help promote a local event in Chicago, outlets may include the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, The Red Eye and Crain’s Chicago Business, among others.

 

When creating this list, consider the outlet’s key readers. This can be accomplished by identifying its age group, gender or median income, among other key characteristics. Many times, these insights will be found in an outlet’s media kit. This will help ensure the outlet’s key readers are parallel with the client’s target audience.

 

Step 3: Find contacts.

Once those outlets have been determined, it’s time to do our homework and find the right contacts. During this portion, follow these tips:

 

  • Review previous stories to understand how frequently the writer pushes out new articles.
  • Learn about the writer’s interests to build a deeper connection through their bio page, LinkedIn or social media. For instance, when pitching a new product for our client LIDS, we take the time to understand if the writer has an allegiance to a specific team, so we can pitch them relevant products.
  • Be thoughtful about what topics writers cover in their stories. In some cases, people who write about the “technology industry” may not review “consumer electronics,” and “health care” writers don’t necessarily cover “health and medicine.”
  • Take time to consider each writer’s role. Editors-in-chief, for instance, are primarily responsible for the business-side of an outlet, like selecting content rather than creating it. Editorial assistants or staff writers, however, are usually looking for unique new stories and ideas.
  • When faced with multiple people at one publication, select only one or two for the first iteration of the list. If everyone has a similar title and seemingly covers the same topic, review past stories for each contact and narrow down from there.

 

Step 4: Conduct additional research.

Once those contacts are determined, pinpoint key words and conduct additional research to find contacts that may be a fit based on relevant stories that populate in Google News. For example, if you’re pitching a new parenting app that you want reporters to check out, search “apps for parents” or “parenting tech” in Google to see what type of writers are covering something similar to help build out your media list even further. In addition, conduct research to find media contacts who have covered the client in the past, written about the client’s competitors, and/or recently covered a trending news topics relevant to the client. This may help build out additional pitching angles.

 

 Step 5: Find contact information.

Depending on the media vertical, the contact information for the reporter may be easy to find and readily available on their designated bio page or in the “About Us” section on the outlet’s website. This is more accurate for newspapers or smaller publications. Other times, it may be harder to find. Media databases such as Cision and Meltwater are helpful tools to find contact information for journalists at hundreds of thousands of media outlets.

 

Step 6: Organize contacts.

Once research has been completed to find the right publications and reporters, organize and track the information so you can refer back it to at later time. Since the majority of our efforts are conducted through personalized outreach rather than blasted out through a media database, many of us organize them through Google Docs so they’re always accessible, easy to share with peers, and can be updated in real-time. Use columns and rows to track reporter name, job title, email address, phone number, Twitter handle, bio page and other important information.

 

Step 7: Keep media list up-to-date.

Once the list is built, the work is far from over. The media list will need to be updated regularly so you can stay on top of any role changes that could affect future pitching efforts. In addition, make sure to monitor the beats and job titles of any reporters on media lists, in case they change.

 

While these tips may be helpful, enlisting the help of a PR agency such as Dittoe PR is the surefire way to ensure PR goals are met. If you’re interested in learning more about Dittoe PR, contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com

Dittoe PR helps Indy PopCon become a household name

Where else can comics, gaming, YouTube, sci-fi, fantasy, and art fuse together for a weekend celebrating pop culture other than Indy PopCon? From June 17 through 19, the third-annual Indy PopCon was held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Unlike its competitors, PopCon does not hyper focus on one single fandom, but instead seeks to celebrate all types of popular culture. In other words, PopCon is “a con for fans, made by fans.”

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PopCon is an evolving event, celebrating fans around the world through collaboration, creativity and open-mindedness. Convention-goers are encouraged to discover their next obsession and interact with people from all different sorts of backgrounds and interests.

Dittoe PR helps spread the word about Indy PopCon

When Indy PopCon launched its inaugural convention in 2014, roughly 9,000 fans were in attendance. By 2015, the convention had more than doubled its attendance to 24,000. By the time 2016 rolled around, PopCon was preparing for a record-breaking 40,000 fans to attend the third-annual event.

With PopCon’s staggering growth, founders sought the assistance of Dittoe PR in order to grow their event even further, and to really spread the word to the city where it all began – Indianapolis.

“Indy PopCon is truly a celebration of Indianapolis and everything our city has to offer. Unlike some of the other conventions that come to Indianapolis, PopCon was created right here in our city,” said Carl Doninger, president of Indy PopCon.

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In order to increase the community’s knowledge of PopCon, Dittoe PR executed a number of communications strategies including corporate and non-profit outreach, but most importantly, media relations.

Throughout the media relations campaign, Dittoe PR secured a total of 80 pieces of coverage in a number of media outlets including, The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Business Journal, NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis Monthly, St. Louis Business Journal, WTHR-TV, WRTV-TV, WXIN-TV, WISH-TV, AdWeek, and more. The coverage resulted in a total of 16,303,341 media impressions and an overall ad rate value equivalent of $224,433.18.

Social media also played a big role in the spread of the event. Not only was information about the event dispersed through a number of social media outlets in both the time leading up to the event, as well as the weekend of, but the hashtag #IndyPopCon became a trending topic on Twitter that weekend as well.

Indy PopCon occurs annually, and will back for its fourth year in 2017 from July 7 through 9. We hope to see you there!

How to get media coverage for your next company event

Event planning is not for the faint of heart. But the added responsibility of inviting the media and securing press coverage for an event is enough to make even the most seasoned event planner’s stress level go off the charts.

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We’re here for you. And we’re sharing some of our secrets to success.

At any given moment, our agency is working tirelessly on behalf of our clients to invite journalists and online influencers to grand openings, launch parties, philanthropic donations and other company events that need to receive maximum exposure in the media and online. We’ve even donned superhero capes for the sake of pulling off a great event.

In other words, to say we know what works (and what doesn’t) to get the media to attend and cover your company event would be an understatement. Here are some words of wisdom from Dittoe PR Vice President and Partner Megan Custodio that will help you look like a hero the next time you need to drum up media coverage for your big day.

Do your homework before blindly sending invitations to the media. Identify which media outlets are most important to target, and then conduct research on their websites to see who’s recently covered a similar event. For example, if you’re opening a new restaurant, you can search for the names of restaurants that have recently opened in your area and see who reported on the news of their grand opening or VIP party. Once you’ve extended an invitation and they accept, though, your work doesn’t stop there.

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After they arrive at the event, greet them as soon as you can and offer to facilitate any interviews they may need, answer their questions, take them on a tour if the event necessitates it and thank them for coming.”

Targeted outreach and being an on-site resource are just two of the many keys to generating maximum media exposure for company events. From selecting the best time of the day and week to hold an event to choosing the right language to use in your media invitations, there are several other variables to consider when devising your media relations strategies and tactics for your next celebration.

Have a big event on the horizon for your company and want to make your life a lot easier? Ask us how we can make your next event a success. Here’s how we’ve recently helped Broken Beaker Distillery, Indiana Grown and TCC, the nation’s largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer, get major media attention for their recent initiatives.