If you’re looking to build your business’ visibility, credibility and authority with your audience, media relations is often a great place to start. Getting it right can be tricky – and it all starts with a great media list that’s used well.

But how do you go about creating and using media lists effectively?

What is a media list?

Firstly, let’s start with a definition. A media list (or media contact list, press list, etc) is essentially a document with a list of media outlets alongside relevant contact details for each. Media lists are useful to focus your media approaches, helping you to secure coverage for your business in relevant, authoritative outlets that reach your target audience.

If your business targets multiple industries or audiences, you may have individual media lists for each, as the outlets you want to target may vary.

Having a media list before beginning a media approach is crucial, as it helps to ensure you get the right outlet and the right contact for the best results.

Creating the perfect media list

Most media lists start by researching outlets in a media database, such as Response Source, for example. However, if you don’t have access to these, you can still create a list using Google search facilities and media outlet websites.

When you’re assessing whether or not to add a media outlet to your media list, there are two main factors to consider:

  1. Relevance
  • Do they reach your target audience?
  • What content are they looking for? Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and open a conversation around this.
  • Have they covered similar businesses (eg your competitors) in the past? What was the engagement on these pieces?
  • Can you offer content that’s relevant and interesting to the outlet’s audience?
  1. Authority
  • What is their Moz (Domain Authority) ranking? See why authoritative media matters here.
  • How engaged is the audience? Check comments, social engagement, etc.
  • What kind of content has been produced in the past? Is it credible?
  • Are their articles shared/discussed on social channels?

If you decide a media outlet is both relevant and suitably authoritative, add it to the list! Be sure to add multiple contacts to the list, in case the first isn’t available.

Using a media list to secure quality editorial coverage

Once you’ve finished your media list, sort it in terms of priorities. Consider which media outlets you want to approach first – here are some things to consider:

  • Authority – a great place to start when organising your media list is by looking at domain authority rankings (from a source such as Moz).
  • Audience – some outlets may have a more niche audience, which could be perfectly suited to your audience. Often, although it might be smaller, a more focused audience can produce better results for your content.
  • Reach to a degree. Don’t make this the primary focus, but you can use ‘reach’ as an indicator for how many people are subscribed to the outlet. Remember though, this is often reported by the outlet to secure advertising spend…

If you’re approaching the most relevant media first – ie the media you most want to secure coverage in – you can offer exclusive content to them. This is often far more attractive to editors, as they feel confident the content is tailored to them and won’t be published elsewhere.

Making the approach…

When making the approach always start by doing your research:

  • Know who you need to speak to
  • Know the kinds of content they’re interested in and what they’ve published before
  • Know – and be confident in – your own content angle. You need to ‘sell’ it.

Once you’ve made the initial approach (ideally over the phone), follow up with an email. It can take time to get confirmations, so be patient and subtly persistent with it. The coverage opportunities will come.

Taking the plunge to ‘sell in’ your content ideas to the media can be daunting – but it can be incredibly powerful in building your brand authority, credibility and trust.

If you’re wanting to secure authoritative editorial coverage to boost your business’ visibility, credibility and authority, book your free communications review with Kinetic today:

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