You are only as good as your media list.
Repeat after me.
You are only as good as your media list
I know that sounds absolutely absurd, but it’s true.
I’ll never forget my first lesson in media list management as a bright-eyed intern back in the day. I worked for a super notable beauty brand that sent out hundreds (not exaggerating) PR packages a day…and I was the one behind all of those packages.
It was actually kind of awesome. I took really good care of the PR closet (where extra stock of every single shade/product in the entire beauty line was kept for PR requests) and made sure everything was super neat and orderly.
Whenever a PR request from a media outlet would come in, I’d check the handy little media list saved on the server and package up either a bag to be sent via Messenger Service (for the magazines and bloggers that lived within Manhattan) or shipped out via FedEx.
My boss would forward me any media moves to keep the media list totally up-to-date. If a blogger or magazine moved offices, they’d email all of their PR contacts and let them know of the address change to ensure that they never missed any new product launches.
Anyway, like I was saying…I’ll never forget the one time I missed an email from my boss that had an address update within it. I didn’t update the media list, and towards the end of the semester I sent a time-sensitive package to the old address.
Needless to say…
Never made THAT mistake again.
I think what’s important to remember here depending on what type of PR you’re doing for yourself or your business or if you’re a PR person for a larger company…Your media list should primarily reflect the media that you actually target for press.
So, if you’re a consumer packaged goods brand (like a granola bar brand or something) your media list should include anyone who writes or creates food-related content. Primarily. Then, you should have one list/tab/whatever with any OTHER contacts who sometimes cover food but are primarily say…lifestyle.
Those people sometimes come through with occasional press hits, but they’re going to get annoyed if you pitch them every single time you launch a new food product and that really isn’t their main jam.
Be respectful, people.
Here are some other tips of the trade for the ultimate media list, broken up based on what your need might be.
For Small- Biz Owners Doing their Own PR:
*There are some resources out there that PR people use to take the legwork out of building media lists, identifying influencers, etc. But I’m going to assume you don’t have the budget for them, and outline how to go about this the long way.*
- Identify a list of media outlets that you think has a readership/reach/audience of people that will want to purchase your product. Let’s assume you’re a clothing company for this example.
- Go to a mag stand and open up to the masthead, and find the editor that writes the “accessories” or “fashion” columns/ articles. Write their names down
- Go to Google, and STALK out their contact information. Check their LinkedIn, IG profiles, whatever. Can’t find it? DM them from your company’s social handles
- Rinse and repeat for websites and YouTubers and IG influencers
- For magazines and websites, addresses can usually be found by digging through the Internet
- For YouTubers and IG influencers, slide into their DMs or email them and ask for their address because you LOVE their feed and would love to gift them XYZ product. More on how to do this right here.
- Organize all of this information into a spreadsheet (I love Google Sheets because it auto-saves) Common tabs include “Print”, “YouTube Influencers”, “Websites”, “Instagrammers”, “Broadcast”, etc.
For “Full Time” PR People:
- Get yourself a subscription to CisionPoint and their database. Their addresses are 6/10 times correct but at least it’s a starting point for finding emails to reach out to that is SLIGHTLY less manual than stalking the Internet
- Break your media list into sublists based on niche. For example, instead of a tab for ALL print media, break the list into “Tier 1” people (like the department Director) and “Tier 2” (like the Editorial Assistants)
- Add in a “Notes” column on each page so you can add in details like when someone’s birthday is, when their engagement is, when they had a baby….etc.
- If you’re in the Beauty world, sign up for Jaime Maser’s Media Intel blast for to-the-minute update on media moves. If you don’t know who Jaime Maser is, get with the program because she is the ULTIMATE PR Girl Boss.
- If you’re in the Beauty/ Fashion/ Lifestyle realm then DEFINITELY sign up for the weekly blast that The Daily Front Row sends out. Every Friday, they detail key media moves that are relevant in those industries…an awesome way to keep up with news in a super to-the-point format.
Those are the basics, folks but obviously hit me if you have any questions! In the meantime, do yourself a huge favor and make sure you keep that bad boy up-to-date. It’ll be a HUGE resource for you as you’re building your brand or your name in the PR industry!