Media lists are databases containing the names and information about people and organizations that can help promote your business, product or service. They’re your Rolodex, Palm Pilot and address book. They’re the roster listing who is in your network.
When it comes to media lists, collect as many names as possible. The more names included on your media list, the greater your chances of getting your story told. It’s simple mathematics: if you send a press release to 200 equivalent media contacts, it’s more likely that your story will be picked up than if it just goes to 20 contacts. It’s the old theory of throwing lots of mud on the wall and hoping that some of it sticks… plus, you never know just where it will stick and which contact will be interested in your story.
Start compiling a media list by including the names of all contacts who might conceivably publicize, or help promote, your business, product or service. Don’t be overly selective. The most remote, seemingly unlikely, contacts in totally unrelated fields may fall in love with your story and move mountains to promote it. Or they may refer you to others who can help.
Your media list should contain the contact’s
Back up telephone numbers
Source information such as how you got his/her name, how and where you met and friends or associates in common.
Miscellaneous information such projects pitched, projects bought, dates you last spoke and the results.
It’s never too soon to start a media list. A media list is always a work in progress and is never a finished product. Your medial list is something you’ll always be adding to, updating and revising.
Begin creating a media list now, even though you may not even have the idea for a business. Jot down the names of members of the media and interesting people. Write down why they’re of interest and how they might help.
Form the habit of making notes and collecting names. Carry a small notebook or a PDA at all times and keep notebooks in your car, briefcase and purse. Always carry a pen… even if you’re out jogging.
List the names of whomever who might remotely help: writers, reporters, editors, radio and TV producers and publicists. Study the media to discover who’s covering your field and add them to your list.
Ask your friends, family and business associates for names to add to your list. Get introductions or permission to use their names when you call.
Call local newspapers and magazines; radio and TV stations and e-mail online publications for the names of editors, reporters and producers who cover areas that could help you.
Ask everyone you meet for their business cards.
Toss all your notebook entries and business cards into a bowl, a shoe box or a file drawer. Set aside a specific time each week (for example, every Monday at 9 AM) to organize, add new entries and revise your list. Insert comments on how you met, mutual friends or contacts and any other information that might break the ice when you contact them.
Update your media list on an ongoing basis. Every three months, at the least, review the entire list from top to bottom. In most media jobs, the pay stinks so the turn over is huge. Unless you keep your list current, you’ll end up wasting time and energy trying contacting people who have long gone.