Every PR business should have a good media list of outlets to pitch. Otherwise, you either have to pay the big bucks for a paid list or you’re scrambling in the dark. You can stay organized by creating a personal media list database so that you’re always ready to pitch for your clients! As a profitable PR pro, you NEED an up-to-date media list of outlets to pitch for your clients. But maybe you don’t know exactly how to create a media list.
I’m here to help get you started.
A media list is a compilation of reporters, journalists, freelancers, producers, and their publications, TV shows, podcasts, etc.
Your list also includes their contact information. All of this data is organized for the purpose of pitching your story ideas, sharing media alerts, sharing news about your company or your client’s businesses, product launches, or brand launches.
You can create this database and keep a record of ideal outlets to pitch for your clients and keep track of who you've pitched and what angles you've pitched to them. Keeping track keeps you from doubling up and repeating yourself and it will help you know when to follow up.
We recommend creating a media tracker. We have great recommendations for what to put in your spreadsheet and how to keep track of everything in The Pitch Lab, including a sample template!
We show you how to put personal information in there and then start to create really robust pitches that are going to land and turn you into a pitching powerhouse.
It’s a simple process and when you focus down on a niche, it’s even simpler. You will be able to come up with tailored pitches for each of your media contacts.
When people are starting out with their PR business, they struggle with thinking that they have to pay $7,000 a year for Cision or other databases with media contacts.
But those databases have so many features and benefits that you’ll probably never use. You’re also paying for media contacts that you’ll never be pitching.
There’s a better way to create a media list.
Whether you’re learning how to do PR or you’re looking to grow and scale an agency, the first thing I recommend is to niche down your client base so that you have a highly targeted niche.
You can actually have 2 or 3 niches. We have 3, which are: (1) baby and kids, (2) beauty and cosmetics, and (3) health and wellness.
When you have specific niches, you’re able to also niche down with who your media targets are going to be. When niching down, you can go deep and create great relationships with certain key media contacts.
You don't have to know everyone. You just have to start to build a database and a media contacts list of the gatekeepers that will make an impact on the types of clients you're going to work with.
It’s a lot easier than trying to pitch everywhere. That can become too overwhelming. You don’t need to be connected to every single outlet or journalist at every outlet.
The reason I always say to niche down is because you can’t be all things to all people. When you try to serve everyone you end up serving nobody. Nobody is going to say you’re the “go-to” person in their niche.
If you're serving everybody, nobody's ever going to think of you for anything.
And you may think that you're limiting your opportunities to earn revenue, but you're not. I promise you when you niche down, you can charge a premium price and you'll attract better clients.
You can start to make deeper relationships by serving up relevant pitches and good content that's valuable and supporting the type of content they write for. You can use those relationships to support multiple clients.
It's a lot less overwhelming to niche down and has key relationships with key media that you can turn to time and time again. And that's who you want to build into your media contacts database.
You need to focus on creating some key relationships. As you're building out your media list, you are going to include four basic things. They are:
The number one way to reach out is through email. But you can also reach out using their phone number and social media channels.
Before you pitch, start to connect with them and their content.
It's important to pick up the publication that you want to pitch and look at the different sections and the different types of content that they're covering. You can start to see who's writing those different features and start to see some patterns emerge of who you should reach out to. Once you know that, you can put those people on your list.
You can keep your contacts and build your database in Google Sheets. In The Pitch Lab program, we share a template that you can also put into your own Google Sheets.
What I love about Google Sheets is that you can share the document with your team and everyone can contribute to it and help keep the information up to date.
Even if you have access to our Media Contact Database, you still need to create your own lists as well. Once you start your list, you can then start building relationships with the people on your list.
You need to check the publications on your list frequently because journalists sometimes move between outlets. Double-check your information to make sure it’s accurate before sending a pitch.
Even if you’re starting with a new niche, start to look at the gatekeepers of the key publications you want to break into. Introduce yourself. You don’t even need to have a pitch ready. Start with a general message.
Here’s an example of what you could say:
I want to introduce myself because I'm a huge fan of your writing. I recently listened to your latest podcast and I can totally relate to your point about XYZ. I've actually applied that in my own business, (or you can say), that's had an impact on me.
I wanted to let you know that I represent clients that, from time to time, I’d love to send your way with some story ideas.
Are you open to receiving pitches or Is email the best way to send you pitches?
All you have to do is be personable and make an introduction.
Then the next time you contact them you can send a pitch. They’ll remember your name from the introductory email you sent and they’ll be more inclined to reply to you.
The top strategies for how to create a media list is to niche down, focus on creating relationships, create a media list where you’re tracking everything and keeping it all in one place.
If you are interested in joining The Pitch Lab, we’d love to have you and help you create your media list. In our community, everyone is contributing their active, engaged best contacts that you can use when you join.