Life is a pitch. Literally. All day you are pitching yourself. To your clients, to your employers to your date. You are putting yourself in the best light to make a good impression and get results. You make sure your style is impeccable and your Instagram is poppin. You do all of that to ensure that people recognize your brand and associate it with something positive and respected.
PR is the exact same idea. Publicists pitch their clients to editors in respective industries so that when they see their client’s name it is an instant positive reaction. Outreach is key when it comes to securing placements for your clients. It can be frustrating because of course you know how amazing your client and/or their product is, but no one else does. But don’t worry, I got you with SEVEN of the best ways to build a media list that gets press hits for your clients.
1.Keep A Master List
Of course you are going to pitch targeted outlets based on the client but its always good to have a master list that includes all of your contacts. Make a list in Excel that includes the outlet, the name of the contact, their title, email, phone number, social media handles and a link from one of their most recent stories.
2. Do Your Research
Being a publicist is about being a detective and finding the information you need to make your pitch a success. Anytime you are reading a website and come across a story that you think would be a good fit for your client, find out who writes it and add them to your list. Make sure to include the link to the story in a column on your list so you can refer to it during your pitch. (writers love to feel like you read their work)
3. Get A Leg Up On The Competition
If you are having trouble getting your pitches to land, pay attention to what the competition is doing. If there are brands that are similar to your clients’, pay attention to the coverage they receive. Add the stories and writers to your list under a tab for CMR (competitive market research). This helps when you send the pitch and you can add in that you saw their piece on X and you think your client would be of interest for an upcoming story.
4. Use A Traditional Media Database
If you are able to afford it, use a traditional, subscription- based service like Cision or Meltwater to compile your list. These services take a lot of the leg work out of searching for contact information and are good for more general lists (if you want to pull a list of sports writers in a certain region you can do that easily on Cision or Meltwater). These services don’t always have the most updated information so make sure that you are doubling checking before you send out your pitch
5. Update Your Media List Often
All of this research is pointless if you aren’t updating your list frequently. The worst thing is to get a bounce back email or have the editor black list you because you are pitching them about beauty when they now write about fashion. Keep up with them on social media and connect on Linkedin if you place stories with them often
6. Personalize Everything
Once you start building relationships with editors, update your list with more personal notes and tips. Those notes can range from birthdays, to how they like to be pitched (i.e. phone, email, social media) and anything you may have learned about major moments in their life (weddings, promotions, movements)
7. Stay Organized
There are so many media contacts and outlets so its easy to get lost in the shuffle. It helps to have separate lists broken down into type of outlet (broadcast, podcast, online, print) regional vs national and short vs long lead.
Pitching is a publicists’ bread and butter, so make sure that you work to make your job as easy as possible by having great lists.