Working in public relations (PR) means that every single day, I’m in my media list. I’m definitely not the only PR person who does this, but to be honest I’m not sure where I picked it up. Probably from my sheer adoration of spreadsheets, and in particular, Google Sheets.
You’ve might have already figured out what a media list is, but here’s how I define it:
A media list is a spreadsheet with all of the names, outlets and contact info for reporters you are working with, or want to work with.
Over the years, keeping a list of relevant media contacts for each company I work at has helped me:
- Simply remember email addresses instead of digging for them every time
- Organize reporters by their beat so I can make sure I’m pitching them correctly
- Track the last time I was in touch with a reporter so I know if it’s been enough time to pitch again or if it’s too soon
- Track which reporters have written about us before so we know that they’re warm contacts when pitching
- Be able to do my job more quickly and easily because I can scan for which reporters write about a particular topic
I’ve heard of a few tools out there that might do something similar, in my case the good ol’ spreadsheet method has worked just fine for me for years.
SETTING UP A MEDIA LIST
Back when I worked at Fluidware (acquired by Survey Monkey) the spreadsheet I used was organized in tabs for local media, which was anyone in Ottawa, national/international media and finally online media. Since then, I’ve used different systems.
When I was at Getaround, we organized the spreadsheet by the city, so Portland, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago and it worked well for us then!
Now at Buffer, instead of having multiple tabs, I’ve just expanded my columns to add more descriptors.
I usually start with a really simple spreadsheet and then add more columns depending on what pops up. Here are all the columns I have in my media list at Buffer right now:
- Covered before?
- Last emailed
- Author Profile
- Category (This one is the category they might fit into on my end; like product, culture, company news, etc.)
BUILDING A MEDIA LIST
Time to start filling in all those columns you just set up. An easy place to start is with reporters who have already covered you, you likely have their emails and contact info and can immediately mark them down as warm contacts. Next up, start thinking about reporters that you’d like to cover you. Check out author profiles and Twitter profiles to gather a bit more info.
KEEPING IT UP TO DATE
I update my list at minimum a couple of times a week. Every time we have a new campaign or get a press mention, I’m adding someone new to the list. Another great place to look is when you come across an article that could have featured your company, or would be a similar story you see yourself pitching at some point – remember those reporters because maybe there’s a good fit down the line.
This is a super simple way that I keep organized, hope it’s a bit helpful to you and your PR efforts! If I can help clarify anything, let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
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