How do you get the word out about you and your services without spending a lot of money? Public Relations. PR consists of having an important message to share and getting members of the media excited about it so they want to include you. However, the first thing you need to do is compile of a list of media contacts. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Creating a Media File
A well-organized, up-to-date list of your media contacts is vital. The best way is to build a database, or contact file, on your computer.
Your database file should include the name of the publication, the editor or writer to whom you should direct your press information, and stats about the publication, such as deadlines, format for submissions, etc. For broadcast media, you will need to know the name of the program manager or of a particular show’s host.
Utilizing Your Key Contacts
To compile your contact file, don’t be afraid of approaching members of your target client market to find out which publications they read. Inquire about the names of the trade newsletters or publications they read. Ask them for old copies you can borrow so you can become familiar with the publication’s editorial style. If they are unable to lend you old copies, you can write the publication and ask to purchase back issues, or visit a local university library which may house specialized magazines. Included in the magazine will be vital information, such as phone numbers, addresses, writers, and editors’ names.
Additional Resources 1) Gather up local publications you are familiar with, including newspapers, newsletters and some smaller magazines that target your ideal market.
2) Contact local and regional associations and organizations your target audience belongs to and ask which publications are most widely read by their members. Many times they produce a publication for members and are eager to work with contributors.
3) Visit your public library. It will carry one or more media reference books. These books will contain current names and addresses of newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and the names and, usually, phone numbers of their editors.
4) An often forgotten, yet readily available, resource is the “Yellow Pages.” You will find media sources listed under such headings as, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio Stations & Broadcast Companies and Television Stations & Broadcast Companies. Call each of them and ask for the name of the appropriate editor, or in the case of broadcast media, the show’s producer. Also ask them to send you their demographic sheet.
5) If you are not familiar with the internet for obtaining media contacts, you should be. Literally thousands of associations, publications and newsletters are listed and easily accessible. All you need to know are a few words describing your market, i.e. “Physicians Associations, Western,” and you’ll be surprised at the amount of queues you’ll pull up.
6) You may be better off purchasing a mailing list if all of the aforementioned sounds like too much work. The biggest problem with mailing lists is some may be outdated. Media contacts seem to change frequently. So, when purchasing a list, ask if it’s guaranteed to be up-to-date, and how often they “clean” the list. You can find mailing list brokers in the classified section of most industry trade magazines, at the library or on the internet.
Be Selective to Be Effective
As you can see, the resources available for supplying you with the names and other vital information for media contacts is limited only to the time you have available to search them out. You might find this to be the “wall” between you and a successful PR campaign. Keep in mind that your media list does not have to be extensive to be effective. It is better to court a few suitable publications – those servicing your target market, than a bunch of publications that reach only a few members of your selected audience.