Managing A DIY Media Targets List
One of the key reasons many small business owners hire public relations firms and agencies is to take advantage of their media lists – and their pre-existing relationships with influencers and members of the media.
Public relations professionals and firms typically have spent years building and refining their internal media lists, and they also have access to enterprise solutions such as the databases available through the industry’s leading software solution, Cision. Hiring a firm does solve the media list problem that many fashion business owners face, but investing limited funds into retainers of $5K or more each month often does not make sense.
So here’s the good news: if you’re a operating with a small team or on a startup budget, it’s entirely possible to DIY your own media targets list and, by keeping it ultra-focused, get more mileage out of your small list than you would blasting hundreds of names who may not be interested in your brand.
Regular Maintenance Is Key to a Good DIY Media List
And then there’s always the flip side: you won’t get anywhere unless you create a system to regularly capture new leads for media targets and also keep your list up-to-date with all the relevant information you’ll need to do solid outreach.
If you already have a system for capturing new media leads and keeping their contact information current, great. Use that. But if you don’t, we outline steps below. As you try this method, you can adapt and refine it so that it fits your press strategy and jives with the amount of time you have each week to devote to press outreach.
Four Steps to Managing Your Media Targets List
Step 1: Set up Google Alerts to make capturing media leads automatic and more efficient. We outline how in Using Google Alerts for Effective DIY PR.
Step 2: Set aside time each day or each week to add targets to your media list. Whether you treat this as a daily media task or a weekly media task will depend on how much time you and your team have to grow your list, how urgent growing your list is and whether you’re starting with an existing list or building one from scratch. You can add media targets to your list ad hoc, as you come across them, or you can use Google Alerts to help. For an overview on starting a media list and capturing leads for your own DIY PR efforts, now’s a good time to stop and watch the video How to Build Your Media List. Starting and maintaining your list can be as simple as setting up a Google Sheet and adding links to articles, blog posts, videos and podcasts that are authored by people who regularly cover subjects relevant to you and your business.
Step 3: Set aside time to fill out information on your targets list. If you prefer to capture simple lead information such as a link to a story or a person’s name and publication and also fill out everything you’ll need for effective research at the same time, then go for it. But for many busy business owners, the pressure to gather lots of information about a media target often stops them in their tracks. Why? It’s time-consuming and, yes, a little tedious. Splitting the process into two tasks (finding leads vs. filling in those leads’ contact information) can help you manage the process and stick with it. Try scheduling time to do this on a weekly or monthly basis and going through each lead and adding fields for their name, publication, email contact information (see the video for tips on capturing that) and social media handles. Include a field in your spreadsheet for notes so you can keep track of things like the fact that the person writes for multiple publications or will appear at an upcoming event in your area.
Step 4: Every quarter, schedule time to quickly click through your media list and check that the person is still writing for the same publications. The quickest way to do this is usually by visiting his or her social media.