How to Build a Strong Media Contacts List

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If you were on the short end of the stick when it came to getting media attention in 2012, perhaps it’s because you didn’t have the right connections.  Here are some tips on how to build the kind of media list that will get your press release noticed or a return phone call:

First things first, you need to select the kind of media that best suits what you are trying to promote.  Decide whether television, magazines, blogs, radio, or a combination would work best for your subject matter.

Once you’ve selected the media outlets, do your research and find out who is the best point of contact.  Sending an email addressed “To whom it may concern” could end up in anybody’s hands, including the college intern, so you want to make sure you have a correct name, email and phone number.   Most news operations have a “contact us” section on their website.

Don’t ignore the local journalists.  If you happen to be out somewhere and see a news crew, take a moment to introduce yourself.  Give them your business card and let them know what you do and if they ever need you for a story they’re working on, you can make yourself available.  Even if there is no reporter on the scene, give your information to a photographer and be sure to get his/her name and contact information so you can follow up with a nice thank you card for them taking the time out of their busy day to chat with you.

Build a relationship with a writer/editor/reporter before pitching them. With the emergence of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, you can reach out and touch practically anybody.  Even if they don’t follow you back on Twitter, you can still engage in conversation because something you say or share may pique their interest. Get to know the journalist beyond their news world.  Maybe you share common interests–something you can chat about. But whatever you do, don’t be a STALKER.

Follow the journalist:  What I mean by this is keep up with what your favorite journalist(s)/writer(s) are doing.  Read (watch) their work and if they move to a different media outlet, congratulate them and wish them well.  But, once again, this does not involve STALKING.

Make yourself available as an expert.  Journalists are always looking for experts in a variety of fields.  Find out what the “hot media topics” are and if you have credible working knowledge of the subject, let your local media contacts know.

When you’ve established contact, make sure you work on developing a rapport, but don’t be pushy.  Once the journalist sees you as someone he/she can like and trust, you’ll be on your way to having an awesome media contacts list and an opportunity to shine in the media spotlight.

 

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2 thoughts on “How to Build a Strong Media Contacts List

    1. Pam,
      As someone who is the “Queen of PR” I know you know the importance of good media relationships. I hope to make it to the SistaSense Power Circle event. It would be great to finally meet in person. Just bouncing back from my mother’s death over the Christmas holiday and trying to forge ahead.

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