Content is only good if there are people to enjoy it, and share it. Before you write a pitch and begin outreach, you must be certain to have a rock-solid media list.
If you have access to databases like Cision or Meltwater things will be a little easier to organize, but that will only get you half of the way there. If you don’t have access to a database, that’s ok, too, because the majority of the following six steps will still apply.
How to Create a Rock-Solid Media List:
Step 1: What Are You Pitching?
Review what you want to say then whittle it down 10-20 seconds.
Whether it’s an interview with an executive, a new product announcement, or a piece of killer content, you need to have a very clear and simple understanding of what you’re offering. You can’t build a targeted outreach list without knowing what your outreach will look like.
Step 2: What’s the Key Angle?
Think about the different journalists who will want to share your pitch with their readers—this is the “angle.” There may be one obvious audience, but think of all of the different audiences you may want to reach and create different lists for each topic.
Adjust and adapt to be sure you can obtain relevant results. People who write about the “technology industry” don’t review “consumer electronics,” and “health care” writers don’t necessarily cover “health and medicine.”
Step 3: What’s the Timing?
Is your pitch only relevant immediately, or will it still apply four to six months from now? Lead time will help you determine which types of outlets you should include. Again, it’s a good idea to make separate lists for each vertical, as well as both short lead and long lead outlets so that your pitch will be appropriate for everyone based on what they write about, and when.
Step 4: Explore the Outlets and the Contacts
If you’re using a database, start with a more general outlet search, and then supplement with a contact search to finish out the list. Remember, you are building your list, so you can’t do one search and consider it done.
For both, search for the specific topics and keywords related to the vertical for that specific list. An outlet search will give you results without contact names—go to each outlet and look for the most appropriate contact within each. The contact search, also by topic and/or keyword, should give you results for more mass awareness publications, and not just industry or niche publications.
Step 5: Understand the Different Roles and Titles
You’ll see a lot of different contact titles during your search. The roles and responsibilities attached with each title can vary significantly across outlets, making it difficult to choose which ones you should include.
When faced with multiple people at one publication, select only one or two for your list. If everyone covers the same topic, pick the titles that are the most relevant—usually one senior level or above and one editorial assistant or staff writer.
Step 6: Identify Who’s Missing
Google is still a great way to find contacts and vet your list. As extensive as media databases are, they will never include every single person you may want to reach. Search for the topics and keywords you’ve been using, and include some relevant long tail keywords as well, to see who is already writing about the same, or similar, topics.
You’ll find people that may not be listed in your database at all, or are possibly listed with off-topic outlets or as covering different topics.
People freelance and contribute all over the web, so be sure to check out what they actually write about rather than trusting completely in the database results for a more relevant list.
Before you start outreach, you should have well-organized and highly targeted lists, divided by short and long lead opportunities. Each list should represent a pitch angle or audience you’re trying to reach, and then all you have to do is wow them with your incredible offering—good luck pitching!