One of the first things I get my coaching clients to do is to set up a media list or press database. But the media is a fast moving world, and having a database is not a finite thing. You’ll need to spend some time keeping it updated on a regular basis. But there are some shortcuts that can help you keep your press list in tip top condition. Here are my top 8 tips for creating and maintaining your media list.
Creating And Maintaining Your Media List
It sounds basic but do set up a separate contact system for journalists – even if you’ve only got two names for your database at the moment.
If you’re really organised then you can divide this into warm contacts (journalists you’d be happy to call and chat to) and cold contacts – those you haven’t built a relationship with yet. You can then gauge your success as you watch names move from the cold to the warm list.
Keep in touch with your media list on a regular basis. That way if emails get bounced or you receive a reply saying “Bilbo Baggins no longer works with Hobbit Publications” you can update your list immediately.
If someone does move don’t cancel them off with one touch of the delete button. Give their old office a call and find out where they have moved to – chances are they’ve moved onto bigger and better things and you can keep in touch. Even if they’ve suddenly moved over to Pigeon Fanciers Weekly and you know they aren’t going to be able to do anything for you at the moment a nice “wish you well” email helps keep that door open for the future.
Ask your existing contacts if they can recommend any other journalists that might be good contacts (and that way you can sneakily drop in the referrers name to warm up your contact).
Pay particular attention if journalists contact you. If someone calls from The Express don’t assume that you’ll be able to get hold of them by calling the Express. Many writers are freelancers whose contact details are guarded fiercely. If you get hold of their contact info, treat it with the respect it deserves.
I’ve come across many clients who dealt with press in a former job but now dismiss their past contacts as being “old” or “not in the same area”. How do you know until you ask? That freelancer you used to speak to about racing cars might also write about parenting issues – or, more probably, might know someone else who does. Don’t just write off old contacts as dead ones.
There are paid for services like Gorkana and PR Max that will do it for you: great for large businesses or PR companies that make it their job to amass contacts, but on the expensive side if you’re doing your PR in-house. Consider a service such as my Expert Lists where press comes to you as a result of my highlighting your profile as an expert in your niche. That way you can build your own list of warm contacts with hardly any effort on your part.
Consistency and persistence is key with PR. And creating and maintaining your media list is a big part of that. Enjoy, and let me know how you are doing in the comments below.