July 17, 2018

Crafting a Media List in the Digital Age

We constantly hear that the media landscape is changing—but what does that really mean for PR pros? It means print news is dwindling and being replaced by an ever-increasing amount of online content.

As the media landscape transforms, so do the ways we create media lists, which is why we have shared some tips around how to build a media list to enhance your outreach efforts in the digital age.
Target Audience

In a time when people obtain their information and news from countless different sources, knowing the target audience is crucial. Ask yourself the following: does your audience prefer to get their news online? From email newsletters? Podcasts? How old is your audience? What industry do they work in?

Understanding your target audience is very important, should be the first step to creating a media list in the digital age. Once you dive into your media list creation, think outside the list of traditional print media and consider all the ways news is delivered and consumed. Perhaps your client could interview on television, radio, or a podcast; or contribute content in trade publications specific to the client’s industry and/or topic. Don’t forget about special organizations and associations, because 99% percent of the time they have newsletters, blogs, and publications that welcome contributed content, news announcements, and story pitches. Once you understand your audience, you can easily understand what other media outlets to include in your media list, beyond traditional print media.

Tracking Reporters Via Twitter

Many of the media databases that PR pros and agencies use have trouble keeping up with reporters changing beats, moving to another publication, or dealing with merging of media companies. One helpful solution is Twitter. Including a reporter’s Twitter handle when building a media list is one way to stay updated on their career whereabouts and focus. 90% of reporters have their current publication and beat as part of their Twitter bio, and more than half of reporters provide their email in those bios. Whereas an online publication may take time to change their masthead, a reporter updates their bio as soon as they change roles or employers.

Social Influencers

Gone are the days when reporters would be the only people you’d pitch a story. Today we have social influencers who reach far beyond the traditional “fourth estate”, and most of these influencers can be found on common social networks such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

The best thing about social influencers is their ability to effectively impact their current and future followers with buying, supporting, and promoting a client’s product or service. MuseFind, an influencer marketing platform, claims 92% of millennials trust an influencer vs. an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement (source). It is equally important to establish a strong relationship with social influences as you would with other media contacts.

What’s in Your “Digital Media” Toolkit?

As a PR professional, we like to have quality tools that help with crafting media lists and monitoring social media platforms. You may already be familiar with some software that builds media databases (i.e. Cision, Meltwater, LexisNexis Newsdesk, etc.), but we’re certain there are others that may be new to you.

Below are a few tools we have become quite familiar with and wanted to share how to best use them—did we mention they are also affordable!

  • TrendKiteIn addition to having an international database of journalists, TrendKite will let you report and measure your media mentions and clip coverage using interactive and satisfying visuals. We enjoy using this tool because it allows us to do almost everything in one platform.
  • Sprout SocialThis social media management tool was created to monitor all social media platforms and allows you to publish, analyze and engage across all social profiles.
  • Simply Measured—Simple Measured provides all the tools needed for a seamless social monitoring and listening experience. The advantage for using Simply Measured is users can follow conversations around specific topics, keywords, phrases, brands, or industries, which will then help you create specific media content as well as add to your list of media contacts.
  • FollowerWonkThe benefits of using this tool allow you to easily find and connect with new influencers in your client’s niche. We have used this tool to engage with influencers and learn about new media markets for our list of media contacts.

Twitter can also be an effective resource to find journalists and influencers. Sometimes they even include their contact information in their Twitter description, which can be very handy. The best way we have found when using twitter for a media list is curating a list of journalists who write for the publications you are looking for.

We hope you use some, if not all, these tips when you build your media lists and improve your outreach efforts in a digital age.

By Merina Zeller & Alex Boonstra