JoTo DIY: How to build your media list

We recently received a letter in our mailbag from Mr. VIP:

Dear Karla Jo,

What is the best way to determine what publications to send your press releases?  There are so many. Also is an online publication any less valuable than print?


You’re right, Mr. VIP – there are thousands and thousands of publications, blogs, newsletters, etc. out there that you can send your press releases to.

In fact, we subscribe to a proprietary database just for PR agencies (that can afford to pay the hefty fee) where we have access to millions of editors, journalists, reporters, bloggers, producers, etc. etc. etc.  That database is updated in real-time – meaning the contacts are followed and updated anytime they move, change jobs or positions…and in the media world, this happens a lot.  This how we build our contacts and foster the relationships that we have with the media for our clients.

BUT, the answer to your question is that first you need to look at who you really want to read your article – who is the end user/reader?  Hint: it’s not the media – it’s who they publish for.  Once you figure that out, then you need to figure out what kind of publications those people would read or subscribe to.  Once you have narrowed that down, you can search on your own on Google for publications like that, go to their websites and look for the editors or senior writers’ email addresses and send your press release (following the guidelines I published in the last JoTo MoJo) with a timely and appropriate pitch (which is NOT “write about me because I am great”).

That’s the hard way, but it’s a very targeted approach.  If your press release is newsworthy for your local media where you live/have your company, send it to them as well.  I recommend a PR firm to represent you because you really don’t want to piss the media off with a bad pitch – they are a fickle breed and there are certain rules you need to play by.

As far as today’s media world – a publication, a blog, an online website all compete for content, which can be very beneficial for you.  Online publications can be just as valid and valuable as a print pub – plus, online you have more chances to get back-links to your website and drive traffic to it…amongst other benefits.

PR is very powerful – a little can go a long way.

Good luck! 

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