The first part of building a media list is strategic - determine
whom you are targeting with your message. Often your desired target
audiences are diverse so this should be clearly defined before beginning
to build your media list.
This requires some research on your part. Mainstream news media
such as daily newspapers and network television will often get to
many of your target audiences. But don't overlook the many vertical,
very targeted media outlets such as magazines, cable TV shows and
E-mail newsletters that can reach your target audience(s) more directly.
Ensure your media messages are in multimedia format suitable for
television, radio, print and on-line media outlets so your message
gets to your target audiences in a variety of ways. The old advertising
adage that you must hit a target audience with a message up to seven
times before it is fully "received" definitely still applies
in our information- saturated world.
The next step is getting in touch with a variety of suppliers out
there who sell media lists in hard copy or electronic form and can
customize them to your needs. Product offerings include one-time
list purchases, hard copy media listings booklets and subscribing
to web-based list services that are constantly updated. These are
not inexpensive, but invaluable to a successful media relations
It's always a good idea to purchase lists from a number of different
sources, especially if you're starting out in a new client relationship
in a new media niche. To ensure your media list is as complete as
possible, plan on calling and confirming information at key media
My tactical philosophy is to get the news out in a variety of ways.
I recommend combining direct E-mail dissemination from your own
service provider (with your name on the E-mail) with the use of
paid wire services and snail mail services available from various
suppliers to the PR industry. Aim to hit the target media in at
least three ways, via direct E-mail, via paid news wire and via
snail mail (print media kits or CD-ROM's). This way you will definitely
ensure the targeted news media have seen your message. When purchasing
media lists, make sure they contain phone and fax numbers, E-mail
(the best are those that go directly to the journalist and not to
general in-boxes) and snail mail addresses.
Finally, you should update the list constantly. Utilize E-mail
bounce backs as a warning you have wrong information. Keep up with
the list services, and never underestimate the power of an old-fashioned
phone call to the media outlet's reception desk.
Mark LaVigne, APR, is Past President of the Canadian Public
Relations Society (Toronto). He runs a media relations and media
coaching firm based in Aurora, Ontario where he can be reached at
(905) 841-2017 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Names & Numbers
and Mailing Lists