Media lists: What are those?
In my three months as a PR intern, I have been fortunate enough to work on a number of different tasks, one of the most important being compiling media lists. When I started in January, I had no idea what a media list was at all! Now I have the confidence to compile one on my own.
I have found that media target lists are one of the most valuable components in a PR strategy. When set up correctly, they are easy to use and very helpful when immediate releases need to be sent out.
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So, what are media lists exactly?
They are lists that are individually compiled for specific clients and projects. Every media list should include the following:
- The name of publication
- The name and contact details of the editors
- The name and contact details of specific journalists that report on the specific beat that is relevant to the client or project.
- The website URL’s
- Sometimes even the relevant opportunities for clients in a publication are included.
It’s all good and well to have a media list compiled, however it needs to be updated regularly as I have found that details change constantly. Journalists change beats or publications, publications close and editors move around all the time. Recently, I had a situation where I emailed a media release to a publication and the email bounced back. I then had to verify the correct details, which prolonged the process and I spent unnecessary time on something that should already have been done.
Below is an example of what a media list can look like, however the format can differ:
When compiling your media list, you should keep your client and their objectives in mind. I’ve have learnt that choosing the right publications is essential, as it’s no good pitching articles or sending news to publications that don’t suit the client or their target audience.
I have found that the best way to get hold of media for details, is to contact them telephonically, even if you have a media list that you subscribe to. It’s important to verify these details before adding them to a media list for a client.
Even though the process can be time consuming, I feel that it’s worth the effort. That’s why I’d recommend to any PR intern to gain experience in compiling media target and contact lists, as working on a well-structured and up-to-date media list will only be to their benefit.
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