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How to build a relevant media list

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Your campaign is complete and ready to go, it’s time to start outreach but who do you share it with so the links and coverage come rolling in?

If you’re new to selling into the media, here are three key things I’ve learnt to help make sure your story lands!

1: Identify who you’re targeting

The first and most important step is understanding your target audience so that you can identify who you should be contacting.

This should really be done at the start of your campaign, and better still, it should form part of your strategy. Work out who your campaign is aimed at, what you want them to think, how you want them to feel, and what you want them to do.

When it comes to contacting the media, a blanket approach won’t work, so avoid simply contacting everyone and praying something sticks. Instead, take the time to identify where your target audience get their news so that you’re confident your campaign will be covered in those places.

2: Find the right journalists

Once you know what publications you need to target, the next step is making sure you get in front of the right journalists.

To avoid your pitch ending up in the deleted folder, do your research to see who has written about similar topics and themes in the past – it’s a great way to understand what stories they’re likely to cover and whether your campaign is relevant to them or not.

This year the landscape has changed slightly due to the coronavirus pandemic, so there’s a couple of things to bear in mind when researching journalists. You may find that some journalists may have been put on furlough and there could have been redundancies within the organisation. This means that journalists may be stretched more than ever before, as they could be covering more than one beat or patch.

If you have access to a media database, make sure to double check the journalist still works there, and still do your research. It’s worth taking the time to do because it could offer some great insight into what topics they regularly write about – which could help you decide whether you’re targeting the right person or not.

3: Keep things up to date

Although it can be time consuming, don’t forget to keep your media lists up to date! The reality is the ‘perfect’ media list can soon become out of date as journalists often change roles, whether that’s an internal move or a move to a completely different place.

Always keep your eyes peeled when you’re monitoring the daily news, use this as an opportunity to add new journalists you spot writing about topics that are important to your target audience.

Pitching to the media is a great way to build relationships with journalists. To make sure your name and email address get recognised for the right reasons, always do your research to create a relevant media list which is specific to your target audience and you’re likely to see coverage for your campaign.

Good luck!

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