3 Tips to Building a Media List that Won’t Spam Journalists

no spamWe hear it all the time: journalists are inundated with blind pitches from public relations professionals every day.

On the other hand, PR professionals may say they don’t have enough time to build targeted media lists. Especially for junior PR practitioners, we need to find a balance between being efficient and dedicating time to finding targeted contacts.

This may be common PR knowledge, but it’s always good to evaluate how you build your media lists to make sure you have a successful pitch. Here are three tips to consider as you tackle your next media list building project.

1. Fully vet journalists

Don’t be the PR pro that David Segal of the Haggler despises, by sending “PR spam” to reporters and thoughtlessly add them from a database. Before you add a journalist or blogger, take a few extra minutes and search for their previous content to see if they cover your topic. Trust me – it’s worth it. Peter Himler, principal of Flatiron Communications LLC, states that it has much “to do with the blind trust many PR practitioners put in the media database and distribution companies.” It’s up to each individual to take the time to fully vet reporters to ensure we’re not wasting each other’s time.

2. Research an outlet’s website

Go to the website of the media outlet and search for recent articles by journalists who have covered the topic of your pitch. Often times you’ll find reporters who aren’t in the media database that you can add to your list.

3. Go social

Research the journalist’s previous social media posts. For instance, Cision’s Social Influencer Search or GroupHigh help make the process easy, but still requires some of your time up front to evaluate their social media content and potential opportunities to pitch them. Simply type a specific search term or hashtag into Cision’s Social Influencer Search feature.  You can also do this for free by searching HARO or Twitter, to name a few.

Ultimately, building a thought-out media list helps save the client money, avoid embarrassment to yourself for being known as the PR person who sends mass pitches to inappropriate contacts, and allows you to catch a journalist’s very short attention span.

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