PR 101: Media Lists…what are they? Do I need them? I have to do what?!?!?!

Happy Tuesday fellow PR newbies!!! I am off the rest of the week in honor of 4th of July, that glorious holiday that honors the first day that fireworks became legally available in the United States (or something like that) anyway, today I am going to be talking all about media lists, I work with media lists a lot at my job: creating them, “qualifying” them, going through them, staring blankly at them…I mean editing them.

So, a media list is a list (saw that coming, didn’t you?) of media outlets, with key news gatherers and gate keepers and influencers; they can include editors, reporters, bloggers, celebrities (sometimes), media personalities, etc. Basically anyone who can get YOUR message across.

They generally have the following information:
-Outlet name
-Contact name
-Contact info (e-mail, phone, etc.)
-Outlet topic (this can be general or detailed, but it’s basically whatever the outlet covers, i.e. sports, music, love…probably won’t run across love too much)
-Notes (I live for the notes section, it can include biography of the reporter, whether or not you should call them, when’s the last time you spoke, whatever)

Media lists are the bread and butter of the PR industry (IMHO) because:

  1. Are the starting point for media outreach, which is a major component of what PR is about
  2. Are a great place to keep track of your outreach efforts, I like to keep notes in mine and
  3. They help you stay organized! Seriously, I am pitching stuff like crazy and sometimes it gets all confused and the list keeps it all together…

So you’re probably saying, “how do I get one of these media lists you won’t shut up about?” Well, if you work for an agency or a company, they probably have PR software such as Cision Point that makes it easy for you to pull up contact info and make a neat little list. But subscription prices start in the hundreds and creep up to the thousands very quickly, I am not going to go over how to build your own media list because I am going to assume you are interning or working for an agency or a company with either (A) some subscription or (B) media lists in place already and procedures for getting info. Just in case, you know I’ve got you covered with some web links to that stuff, check it out! Hope you enjoyed this week’s “PR 101”


Useful web resources:
14 Free Resources for Building a Media List
Hand Building Media Lists, Media Relations 101 Part I
The 4 Secrets to Building the Perfect Media List
Building a Good Media ListSocial Media List Building: Why To Start & How To Do ItHow to Build a Strong Media List to Maximize Your Coverage
5 ways building a media list will make you smarter than your boss
Top 10 Tips for Building a Media List


8 responses to “PR 101: Media Lists…what are they? Do I need them? I have to do what?!?!?!

  1. A PR agency is only as good as its lists! For my internship this summer, I have been building so many lists, I have phone numbers and e-mails coming out of my ears. It is not a fun part of the job, but very necessary!

  2. Seriously agree! I’ve been building one of these at my internship & another good column to add is “other opportunities” i.e. if you can apply for awards, sponsor conferences, host webinars, submit white papers etc. That is usually applicable if the client is in a specific industry or you are researching magazines. Great post!

  3. girl keep posting! I put your blog link on my “Good Reads” page so everyone can see this!

  4. Hi Jess, I liked the media list break down, but would suggest changing the 123s to “they are…” for easier reading.

    Cision is a great resource, but honestly, I think that it’s key benefit is that it catalogs bloggers, as well as print and broadcast media (which is information that you generally can’t find with a google search!)

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