In my last post, I talked about how to create a public relations campaign on a shoestring budget. For this post, I’d like to provide insight on how to create a media list for free. I am a Publicist and when I first started my company, The NetworkFAM, I knew that I would need excellent media contacts in order to land press coverage for my clients. Since I didn’t have the budget for PR software, I had to create my media list for free and from scratch. Now, I’m teaching you to do the same.
Step 1: Create an Excel Spreadsheet
I recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet that will house your media list first. This way, you already have a place to put a media outlet’s contact info once you obtain it. The Excel sheet should have columns for each piece of information you need to collect, including (but not limited to): Outlet Name, Outlet Type, Reach, Website, Blog Writer/Editor, Email, Phone Number, Mailing Address, Phone Number, and Mailing Address.
Step 2: Research
Visit the websites and blogs of media outlets you’d like to work with to learn more about them. Then, identify specific writers, editors, and bloggers you’d like to pitch to. This is also when you should determine an outlet’s reach. Most blogs and media outlets have media kits, so either request one to find out their stats or see if it’s listed on their website. You can also assess an outlet’s reach on your own by seeing how many Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc. that they have. It’s important to know an outlet’s reach because that determines if you pitch to them and what you can offer them.
Step 3: Obtaining the coveted “Contact Info”
Obtaining contact information from independent bloggers and media outlets will actually be fairly easy. If you visit the “Contact us” page on a smaller media outlet’s website, each section’s writers and editors names, titles, and emails are listed so you can simply collect what you need from there. Bloggers are always looking to collaborate so their contact info is almost always listed in their contact page and every blogger who’s serious has a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram so you’ll definitely be able to find them.
As far as major media outlets like the NYTimes, Wall St. Journal, and Washington Post, you are going to have seriously “stalk” those editors and writers if you even want five minutes of their time. To stalk these editors, find them on social media! I cannot emphasize how much social media helped me with building relationships with editors and writers that I thought would never give me the time of day.
Follow editors and writers on Twitter and connect with them on LinkedIn. Please note that I did not include Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Twitter is a great pitching tool because editors, writers, and bloggers tweet their latest stories, interests, likes, and dislikes. In essence, by following them on Twitter you get crucial and necessary knowledge you’ll need to know when pitching. Also, don’t just “follow” these editors and bloggers, Retweet them, respond, and strike up conversation. Engaging them helps them learn who you are and what you do. Once you feel comfortable with the editor or blogger, then you should ask them if they’d like to exchange info via DM to connect more. Hopefully, they’ll then grant you that firstname.lastname@example.org email you’ve been coveting.
As far as LinkedIn, find editors and bloggers on the site by searching their name. Once you find them, invite them to connect (Tip: writing a customized invite means the person is more likely to accept), and then once they accept you, send them a message. The fantastic thing about LinkedIn is that you can send messages to anyone you’re connected to. When you send your connect a message, ask for their contact info and also let them know you’d like to collaborate and give a couple details for what the collaboration will entail.
In this list, I did not include Facebook because Facebook is strictly for family and friends. Don’t friend editors and bloggers on Facebook because you as the CEO of a start-up don’t need the media to see your Facebook rants or worse see your embarrassing high school photos. Instagram is good to know what types of photos the editor or blogger is interested in so you can follow their account but just don’t use this platform as a way to reach out to them and build a relationship. Pinterest is for sharing wedding/fashion/food inspiration not building connections and it’s as simple as that.
In conclusion, I hope that this post has given you the tools you need to create an awesome media list for free. With that said, I bid you adieu, happy media stalking!
LoudPen is a Blogger, Publicist, Social Media Strategist, Stylist, and Co-Owner of the multicultural talent agency, The NetworkFAM. Visit www.thenetworkfam.com to learn more about The NetworkFAM. Pen also maintains two blogs: de la Pen (www.allpeneverything.com) and The Blogging PR Girl (thebloggingprgirl.tumblr.com). Follow @LoudPen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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