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Back to Basics: Media Lists

Media Lists are the backbone of PR.  It’s all about contacts and if you don’t have the right editors, the ones interested in your particular product, service or industry, then you are literally flying blind.  There are four media list categories you should have at the ready.

One, magazines. Which magazines cover your industry?  If you’re a fashion designer, then fashion, lifestyle and generally all women’s magazines.  If you sell shoes, same thing.  If you sell database software, then computer magazines and most business publications.  You also need to include general interest and lifestyle magazines plus not to mention all of the newsweeklies.  There are literally hundreds of magazines but focus on those important to your market and product.

Two, Newspapers. You should have both local and national newspapers on your list. For example, The New York Times should always be on your list.  It is the Holy Grail of U.S. newspapers along with The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, etc.  While these are all “local” papers they are national in scope. You should also of course have USA Today, the number one newspaper in the country after The Wall Street Journal.  As far as WSJ, it is ripe with opportunities for editorial, everything from business stories to their expanded Weekend Journal.  Study it, read it and get reach out to editors of relevant columns.

Three, Trades.  Each industry has their own set of trade publications.  The fashion industry has WWD; the children’s industry has a slew of them including Earnshaws, Baby & Children’s Product News, Baby & Kids, among others.  So check out the trades in your particular industry and get to know the editors.  As I’ve said before, they are fairly approachable and easier to pitch.

Four, Broadcast.  A veritable bunch of producers and assignment editors and notoriously the hardest group to get on your side.  They are just super busy as TV time runs so much faster than any other medium.  So they have precious little time to hear your pitches and fish through tons of email.  But I’ve had plenty of TV coverage for clients so don’t give up hope.  Stick with the morning shows as the evening news is much more skewed to, well, real news.  Unless you have real news of course or something unusual that would be of great interest to that particularly broadcast area.  Then there are the national syndicated shows such as Oprah, Ellen, Rachael Ray, Tonight Show, Late Show with David Letterman and a host of others.  They should also be on your list.

As you see, developing a media list can be a bit daunting and it takes years to develop a great contact list and you have to be diligent and stay on top of changes.  However, there are tons of databases that you can subscribe to. While some are pricey, they are worth it in time saved.  However, pick the right ones that provide continuous updates. Or, you can order media lists that you can update yourself.  Right now I have an amazing array of lists culled from my exclusive, very extensive, media database.  For example, my Buzz TV List has contacts for all the nationally syndicated shows mentioned above, Oprah included.  If you are interested in purchasing any lists, get in touch.  There is also a Top 100 newspaper list (with USA Today, WSJ, NYT, etc.), Fashion, consumer, lifestyle and general interest magazine lists.

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