Tighten and Amend Your Media List to Focus on Quality Coverage

“Quality or quantity” is a discussion that transcends numerous aspects of our lives. It’s no different when it comes to a media list. There are plenty of PR pros out there that will tout their email lists that have entries in the tens of thousands. But do you think they have relationships with tens of thousands of journalists and media professionals that will read their emails or take their phone calls? 

Maybe you’ve worked for a company who felt there was no need to spend intentional effort on PR because someone on the team found an option to buy a list of media contacts (or maybe you landed on this blog because you’re considering this very tactic yourself!). 

While there is a time and a place for distributing news over a newswire service, the truth is that in most scenarios, pay-to-play options will not yield great results. Today, we’re sharing our thoughts about some do’s and don’t’s of the media list.

Resist the Urge to Buy a Media List 

A quick web search for “purchase a media list” will provide you with countless options. But media lists you can purchase online are the PR version of stocks that are trading at a penny. You can spend money on one of these products, but there is almost no chance it’ll pay off in the long run. Email lists are plentiful, but most of them are outdated. Even if the email addresses are confirmed, there’s a good chance your message will end up in a spam folder, never to be seen.

Plain and simple: buying a list won’t help you reach your awareness goals. Plenty of outfits will take your money for a random email list, but they won’t guarantee results — and you likely won’t see any. 

Focus on a Smaller List vs. Mass Mailings

As we consider our “rolodex” of media contacts, we focus on keeping it smaller to better understand what each journalist covers, their expertise, and the best strategy for getting your product or service in front of them. 

Journalists are hungry to cover great products, services, and stories. They make a living by writing, speaking, and sharing — so they love ideas for quality stories. Because of that, we focus on helping to get the right stories in front of the right journalists that make sense for their audiences. 

Do you see the difference in this approach vs. blasting a mass email? We focus on building relationships with journalists (or at least learning about them and their coverage interests) and aim to become allies in their efforts, rather than constantly hitting their inbox with irrelevant requests. 

Update Lists Regularly

Media members frequently move around. Like many industries, the quickest way to move up in the media world is to move out of one outlet and on to new opportunities elsewhere — so don’t be surprised if a journalist on one local TV station is at another one a year later. Writers and editors also frequently move around with publications as they seek to further their careers.

Because of this, it’s critical to evaluate media lists regularly. This is a much simpler endeavor when you keep a list tight. When you do this regularly, you’ll know who to reach out to and where when something important pops up, rather than receiving endless “undeliverable email” alerts in a critical moment.

Take a People-First Approach

At the end of the day, we focus our efforts on relationships with people vs. meeting a quota for mentions. Sure, it takes time to get to know the journalists on our list, but from our perspective, that’s time well spent. Making yourself a better resource leads to better-quality coverage and longer-term success for everyone. 

CTA: If you need help connecting with the right media members who speak to your target audience, give us a shout