If you're starting out with your own PR, you're going to need a good press list. But starting a media list can be a challenge for many sustainable business owners. Where to start? Who should you add to your list? And how can you find them? Here are a few tips to get you started.
I always recommend thinking quality over quantity. Some people think media relations is a numbers game. So, they add every journalist they can think of to their list. But, in my opinion, there's no point having a list with thousands of journalists. If you're going with the 'more the merrier' approach, the likelihood is your news won't be relevant to most people you've added to your press list. It's much better to focus on building relationships with a few key journalists. Spamming hundreds of people in the vague hope they might pick up your story usually doesn't work in your favour. As a writer, receiving press releases that are clearly irrelevant to my beat (marine conservation) is rather annoying and makes it more likely I'll ask your company to unsubscribe me from all future updates.
If you're not sure which magazines or publications to target, start by thinking about the types of titles you'd like to be featured in. For example, if you make sustainable baby toys, it's likely the parenting press will want to hear about you. If you run a responsible travel company, you'll want to speak to travel journalists. Or maybe you've founded an ethical clothing line and want to target consumer lifestyle and fashion magazines. From there, do a bit of research (Google is a great start!) to narrow down specific titles to approach.
Check out the competition
Have a look at some of your competitors or brands you admire who are relevant to your audience. Checking out where they've been picked up by the press can be a good way of finding suitable publicatinos or journalists that may be interested in your story.
Do your research
Once you've got the names of some publications, get familiar with them. Pop to the newsagent (or try Readly) and read through some copies. Getting to know them is the best way to find out whether they're suitable to pitch to, which opportunities are relevant adn which journalists look after those sections. And the best way to get to know them is to read them. It might sound obvious but you'd be amazed how many people overlook this element of their PR. It does take time but it's worth it.
While you're reading through, start making a note of relevant journalists and their contact details. Often, publications will have these in the editorial section or on their website. You can build this over time and there's no need to contact them all at once. Just do what feels manageable for you.
Keep it tidy
Once you've made a press list that's (unfortunately) not the end. Make sure you regularly check and update your lists so it doesn't become out of date. There's nothing worse than thinking you're ready to send out an urgent story and then realising all your targets have moved jobs and their email addresses are no longer valid! Making updates as you go along - for example when you get a bounce back - is better than having to start from scratch because your list is out of date. Lastly, but still importantly, make sure you keep your list somewhere secure and GDPR compliant.
How can Melissa help?
I hope these tips help you feel confident in starting to build your own press list. If you'd like support from an expert with 12+ years' experience, there are a few ways Melissa can help:
- Book a PR Power Hour to go through any specific questions you might have. This could be anything from guidance on fine-tuning your targets to developing a great, media-worthy story
- If you've perfected your press list, you might also want to prepare a press release to communicate your company's news. Check out Melissa's press release template for some help
- Or if you need more in-depth support, Melissa can develop a full PR strategy for you
Thanks for reading and good luck with your press list!