How to build targeted media lists

Communications, Content, Creativity, MediaHQ, MediaHQ.com, News, PR
March 25, 2019
by Anna Henderson

Are you sending out your press releases to the same list of hundreds of contacts that you’ve kept for years? Are you getting a huge bounce rate every time you send out a press release? Chances are the majority of those contacts are no longer working in the same job, are completely irrelevant to your release and depending on how long you’ve had the list, some might be dead.

But how do you build lists that are targeted towards your press release? There are over 6,500 individuals working in the Irish media. It can be hard to know how to categorise your lists in a way that ensures you get the best results.

Here are four tips that will help you build targeted media lists: 

Figure out who your target audience is

Before you even think about who needs to be on your list, what you first need to figure out is who your target audience is.

What’s the best way of reaching your audience? Is it blogs, websites, TV programmes, newspapers or magazines? For instance, if your target audience is new parents then you need to target your media pitches to parenting magazines, websites and parenting blogs.

By determining how your target audience consumes information, you can target specific media outlets to increase the chances of your media release or story angle being published and seen by your audience.

Write a short brief about your media list

Unless you know what you want to achieve, there’s no point creating a list. Ask yourself the following questions:

What is your press release about?

What do you want your media list to achieve?

Who are you trying to reach?

What impact is your story going to have?

Would your story work best across print, broadcast or both?

When you have an answer to these questions you can start building your lists.

Research, research, research

Now that you know what you want to achieve with your press release, conducting research is essential to help determine what media outlet and journalist to target when sending your email pitch.

The more targeted your releases are, the more it increases the chances your email will not only be read but also acted on. If your press release is about a specific topic like technology or education, research the specific journalists who write about the topic rather than just sending to a general newsdesk.

The other factor to take note of is the frequency that the media publications publish new content. If you’re targeting an online news publication it will publish daily, a magazine may only be monthly.

Understanding the editorial calendar and the deadlines of the media you’re targeting will give your story the best chance of landing.

Get into the practice of live lists

No press release you send out is going to be the exact same as the one you sent previously. Each story will have different angles and story hooks and different press releases will appeal to various journalists. If you’re using the same list over and over again the chances are your media coverage isn’t going to change much either.

With each press release you send your lists should be altered slightly. Live lists also give you the opportunity to forge much better relationships with your key contacts as you will gain the reputation of someone who sends high quality, tailored and relevant pitches.