Here’s How Media Pitching Can Help Create A Better Contact List
When a small business owner embarks on the adventure of creating their own public relations campaigns with press releases and media pitches, one of the first steps they have to take on is creating a contact list.
Why is a contact list important?
This contact list is important because it documents the key media contacts who may be interested in stories about your business, your services or products, and your area of expertise. These media contacts who you will cultivate over time may include reporters, journalists, bloggers, editors, producers, freelance writers, and other professionals across all forms of media – online, blogs, radio, and television.
Once you create your list, what are your next steps to make the list better?
Once you’ve done your research and found key contacts (not just info@ or editor@ email addresses) for the publications you would like to have write stories about you, it’s important to work on these relationships and keep an eye on these contacts as they continue to write about other stories.
Just because you’ve already culled your list doesn’t mean you should blanket propose stories to the entire list each time you have an idea. Make sure that you’ve narrowed your list even further, based on what your story idea is about, who your target audience is, who their target audience is, and what they’ve written about in the past. Not every “hook” for a story will work for each story outlet.
Get organized! While conducting your research and capturing new contacts, it’s important to keep them organized in a discernible fashion.
Your system could be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet, but it’s important to keep the columns “clean” so your information is readily at your fingertips. The more organized you are from the outset equates to finding the information easily when you really need it.
Keep updating your list.
Media contacts tend to move about to other news outlets, other areas of expertise, and even other careers. Make sure you’re keeping up on where your contacts are and who has replaced them. If a news site stops covering news stories like the ones you pitch, feel free to remove them from your list.
Build your relationships.
While it’s important to include something personal in your unique proposals that you send out, it can be helpful to start building relationships with your key media personnel before you start pitching to them. Even sending through some feedback (positive, of course!) about a story they wrote that you read can leave an impression on them and may prompt a little back and forth. The more work you put into your list as you build it and make it better, the easier it will be to use your list when you have a story to pitch.
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