Always ASAP – Media List Building 101
Tips for crafting a pitch-perfect media list
It’s Friday at 2:00pm. The weekend is mere hours away and the bar cart is even closer. And then it hits your inbox: your client has a surprise announcement coming up and needs a media list ASAP. With such a short amount of time, how do you make sure you’re delivering the best possible list? For me, the process is threefold – checkpoints and questions to ask myself before, during and after creating a media list.
Before you start, ask:
- What is the announcement or pitch covering? Mobile? Security? Energy?
- Keeping the industry in mind, what kind of publications would be most likely to cover this – newspapers? Trade publications? Consumer blogs?
- What kind of reporters would be most responsive to this news? News reporters? Columnists? Bloggers? Editors?
- How can I make this information easy to understand and digest? What is the best format? What information is essential to include? Think about what pieces of information will be most helpful to your team when pitching.
Now that you have the basics covered, it’s time to start building the list. Some things to remember:
- Sometimes it can be hard to find someone who would be interested in covering your beat, especially if your brand or client is in a very niche field. Look for competitor or similar industry coverage to find a contact that might be interested.
- Sometimes a contact’s title can throw you off. Include a column for recent or relevant coverage with a link to an article so your team and client know exactly why you chose this person. It’s also a great resource for whoever will be reaching out to reference in their pitch.
- While Cision is a fantastic resource, isn’t always the best place to find current information. After finding a contact in Cision, check the publication’s website to be doubly sure they are still there and actively writing.
Once your media list is in good shape, give it another once over and consider the following:
- Is all of my formatting and spelling/grammar correct and consistent throughout? It may be silly, but formatting mistakes are easy to overlook and will make your media list look sloppy. Make sure you have consistent font, color, bolding, alignment and even phone number formatting (e.g. (555) 867-5309 versus 555.867.5309).
- Have I provided enough information so that my team members know why I picked these contacts without asking me? If not, how can I go back and add more context as to why I chose them? This is where adding in recent or relevant coverage comes in really handy. Even adding some commentary around what the reporter has shared on Twitter recently can help add more context for your team and client.
- Am I constantly updating the list with new information and contact details? If the list is a master list, it’s important to keep it current – a notes section in your list is a great way to do this. Resources like Gorkana Alerts and Cision Navigator are great references for people on the move and new contact information.
The key to a solid media list is being organized, efficient and detailed. Do you have any tips to add to this list?