Every day the Paws PR team works with pet product companies and animal protection groups on PR campaigns. We often work one-on-one with communications teams in-house to teach them how to launch effective media campaigns. At the core of every media campaign is a solid media list. Here are our top tips for creating and maintaining a media list for your company or nonprofit organization:
One person should be in charge of updating the media list: This role includes daily news monitoring of all pertinent media and news organizations covering stories relevant to your company or organization. The staff member tasked with media relations at the organization should be familiar with all key outlets that compose the organization’s core media and stay up-to-date on staff changes, lead-times and formats.
TIP: If you are developing a local TV or radio or daily/weekly media list, it is important to call the assignment desk at the news organization, and ask for the best email to send a press release to.
Newsrooms will generally use one main email for press releases. This email is available to all reporters and editors on the organization’s computer system. For example, most TV stations will have press releases sent to a main email such as: desk@NBC4.com All of the producers for all shows (local morning, afternoon and evening) access this email and if they see a press release they are interested in, they will follow up.
If you are pitching a major news website most will list the best email to send a press release to and/or offer a contact form.
Monitor the news media on a regular basis: It is important to be familiar with the issues key media are covering.
Reporters at mainstream media do not often stay on the same beat for long periods of time. For example, a reporter who wrote about business in Julne 2019 may no longer be the appropriate person to pitch six months later. This is why it is imperative to double check contacts before sending a pitch and update media lists every quarter.
It is important to be a consumer of the media and take the time to know the audiences of the outlets you are pitching so you can seek out creative ways to craft and place story pitches about the organization. For example, the VegNews.com website features breaking news stories from the animal protection world, offering an opportunity for an animal shelter to submit press releases with stories of national significance. NBC Nightly News features stories of individual Americans and nonprofits making a difference in their communities via their regular series, “Making A Difference.”
Reporters and editors appreciate when publicists take the time to research and become familiar with their media outlet and/or beat. One of the biggest pet peeves reporters have is when they receive press releases that are not appropriate to their beat. Many publicists will blast a press release out via an unchecked media list and hope for the best. Simply “throwing spaghetti against the wall” is an ineffective tactic and can damage the organization’s reputation. Effective media relations are the result of developing stories that reporters are interested in sharing with their audience.
Log all reactive calls and track coverage of the organization: Any incoming calls to the organization for comment or background information should be logged and tracked. When possible, ask reporters if they are interested in receiving future press releases.
TIP: An increasing number of reporters now utilize Twitter accounts to look for story ideas and communicate with publicists. Some reporters prefer to receive breaking news or story pitches via Twitter. Your media list should indicate a reporter’s preference for receiving press releases.
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