While it’s very important to perfect your messaging and media materials, it’s equally essential to ensure you’re sending client information to the right editors. Irrelevant pitches are a huge reason why PR gets a bad name in the publishing world. Ensure your outreach is helpful to your recipient by following these six best practices.
Keep a master list
While you should customize your media list spreadsheet for every campaign, it’s also a smart practice to keep one master media list of all your contacts. Depending on what program you’re using to manage your media list, you can create categories for different types of media. In Excel, for example, you can create columns for different information like short vs. long lead, regional vs. national and digital vs. print, or organize via location.
While it may seem time-consuming to compile all of this information for every contact you add to your media list, it will help you greatly in the future since you’ll be able to quickly sort and filter your media list to customize it for the current campaign.
Consult a traditional media database
If you have access, begin compiling your list using a traditional, subscription-based service like Cision or Meltwater. These databases are comprehensive, constantly updated and easily searchable – making it easy to quickly export a list of target journalists covering a particular location or beat.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, try PR Couture’s fashion & lifestyle media & blogger lists for a strong list foundation.
Supplement media lists with good, old-fashioned research
While a subscription media database is a great starting point, it’s not a one-stop shop.
Anytime you’re reading a publication or website and discover a story or section that seems like a good fit for a brand you represent, check the byline and/or masthead and add the appropriate editor to your media list. If an editor works for a large media conglomerate, it’s pretty easy to figure out the email formula for his or her publication. Many digital outlets include direct links to email the author of a story, so be sure to check author bios and the about section. Additionally, many freelance editors and writers have their own websites where they list their contact information. With a little digging, it’s easy to find new contacts for your media list.
Pitch Tip: Make a note of the story that you made you add this contact to your database and reference it when you’re sending a pitch.
Track competitor media coverage
There are many reasons why it’s beneficial to closely monitor competitor PR and marketing efforts. One major advantage is garnering new media contacts. While it might be frustrating to see your competitor secure a great media placement, the silver lining is discovering new media contact or outlet that could be useful for future campaigns. Make a note of the editor who worked on the story and look up that person’s contact information. Add them to your media list along with a note about their coverage of your competitor. You can reference this coverage in the future when you pitch this editor a similar story. For example, I saw the story you wrote about X fashion brand and I thought my client’s new launch/store/collaboration might be of interest for an upcoming story.
I saw the story you wrote about X fashion brand and I thought my client’s new launch/store/collaboration might be of interest for an upcoming story.
Anytime you’re reading a publication and you see a story or section that seems like a good fit for a brand you represent, check the byline and/or masthead and add the appropriate editor to your media list.
Update your media list regularly
The media landscape is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest editor shuffles. The Daily Media from Daily Front Row is published every Friday and announces job changes in the industry with a focus on fashion editorial moves. Cision also has a great blog that shares the latest media moves. Another way to stay on top of job changes is to connect with your editorial contacts on LinkedIn.
Add helpful notes to editor contacts
We’ve discussed adding in related, published content, but your media list should act as a treasure trove of editor information.
Once you start forming relationships with editors, you can update your media list with notes and tips that can range from an editor’s birthday to her Instagram account, to how he or she likes to be pitched (i.e. phone, email, in person), and any little quirks or preference you have learned (i.e. hates roses, loves rosé).
Following these steps to develop a stellar media list will help you secure better media results while ensuring you have all the information you need to build strong relationships with the media. By resisting the urge to mass pitch and instead, only reaching out when you have interesting, relevant and useful press information, you’ll continue to prove your value to media and clients alike.