DIY PR tips: 5 tips on building your media contacts list

So the new year is in full swing and your ready to share your new products, services and intitiatives with the media. So how do you go about it. Well to get in touch with the media to place and pitch your story ideas you need a way of contacting journalists. PR agencies and professionals pay thousands of pounds a month to access databases that contain thousands of contact details of journalists across the UK and internationally as it is a key part of service delivery.

Entrepreneurs and SMEs

For entrepreneurs and small business owners who are on a tight budget there is a way around this, and that is to create your own media lists.  Just like in your day to day business you have dealing with suppliers and customers/clients, you need to have a way of keeping note of their contact details, job title etc. You need to do the same for the media you speak and contact.

If you haven’t yet had any contact with journalists or bloggers, here’s are some tips:

  1. Research media that cover your area of work
  2. Look for stories that feature your competitors and add them to your list
  3. Include local and national newspapers that cover your area of work
  4. Don’t forget bloggers – create a separate list for bloggers
  5. Also remember broadcast – so digital radio stations and popular podcasts in your area of work

Use spreadsheets

You should start to collate and build your list in something like an Excel Spreadsheet or similar so you can keep track when you do make contact. You may find that the x reporter is interested in your story but works on the Sunday edition so has suggested you contact another reporter than covers similar stories during the week. This is the start of your list building. It’s common to find one person covers more than one magazine or topic or day of the week. You just need to make note of this on your list and keep a note of when you spoke with them, about what campaign and what the outcome is.

Don’t give up – Keep going

Once you start you can keep building the list, you may find out about a new publication or have been doing more research and found a ton more. As you find them keep adding them on. It’s that simple.

Eventually you’ll be able to group them into categories, broadcast media, print, online and soon enough you’ll have your own database of media contacts. If you’re in a niche market the number of publications maybe small, but that’s fine, work within your means so you don’t overwhelm yourself.

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5 Tips for getting your business media coverage

So, you want to read about your business in the news, great, I don’t blame you. Media coverage can be a great boost for your business, and can help to build credibility, awareness and conversion rates. Therefore it’s understandable that business owners see the benefit of media coverage.

But how do you go about getting some media coverage for your business, there’s hundreds of thousands of businesses all looking to get their names out to the public and there are thousands of media outlets looking for news, but just the thought of that can feel overwhelming. You might have PR on your to do list and it has turned into a task that you are constantly putting off. Or maybe you’ve tried to secure some coverage for yourself and not had much luck. Well here are five tips for you.

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  1. Is it newsworthy?

I’m a straight shooter, so I’ll get straight to the point, before you spend lots of time on trying to do a big PR push, firstly let’s look at what it is you want to tell the media about. Asking yourself if your story is news worthy is the first point of call. What may interest you might not interest a journalist and their readers.

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  1. Research

Spend some time going through your local newspaper or the relevant publications in your industry to see what kind of stories they cover and see if you can create something similar for your business. Research media outlets that cover your industry and your competitors.

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  1. List building

Following on from your research start to build a mini media list for yourself of those outlets that cover your area. You can always introduce yourself to local media so they know they can come to you on particular stories.

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  1. Think of the readers

Most of the time when clients come to me they are relying on my expertise to highlight relevant media. However, I have come across a few that have their media wish list of titles that they want to be featured in. This can be fine if it fits, however on a couple of occasions the outlets have been a total mismatch for the business. Make sure you are pitching to the right audience and at the right level.

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  1. Don’t be salesy

We don’t like the cheesy sales reps so don’t turn into one yourself, if you have a story idea pitch it to the journalist, be honest and helpful – don’t overdo it and don’t pester. If you send them an email, you can chase up, but don’t turn into a stalker.

 

Have any tips you can think of? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to check out this video on how to get media coverage.

All publicity is good…right?

I’ve had this conversation on many occasions, is all publicity good publicity? I watched a show recently and a group of women were talking about the fact that one of them had been in the media and she wasn’t concerned about the fact that the publicity wasn’t favourable or positive it was entirely negative but to her all that mattered was that her name is out there.  That is something I hear often, people think as long as they’re being spoken about is all that matters.

Well as a professional in the business that has had to manage crisis communications on behalf of clients I don’t agree with this statement at all. Think about it, I’ve said it before if you’re a restaurant owner and you get a huge amount of negative media attention for food poisoning and rodent infestation how do you think that would impact your sales? I think it’s fair to say that your restaurant might look like a ghost town depending on the severity of the coverage.

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Think of recent issues that have hit the media, an example is clothing brand H&M, one of their poster campaigns depicted a young black boy wearing a hoodie that featured the phrase ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’. Somehow this was approved which says to me that the company need more diverse employees at the decision making levels and certainly in the marketing department. They were dragged through social media and the media for there lack of judgement. The scandal affected bottom line sales as well as loosing trust from consumers.

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Another example is Roseanne Barr star of popular US sitcom ‘Rosanne‘ who came under fire for some disparaging and racist remarks about a former advisor to president Obama’s advisor she made that resulted in her shown being pulled and her being fired.

These are loads of examples to illustrate how bad publicity has hurt brands. I believe there is such a thing as bad publicity and while most do recover from the crisis if handled openly and transparently the bad publicity they’ve received has done some serious reputation damage for at least the short term….. and maybe longer.

Now you’ve heard from me, but what do you think? Do you believe that all publicity is good publicity?  Feel free to leave a comment!