by Mason Kaho, Demand Media
When a company has information that it wishes to spread, it creates a focused and targeted media list. Beyond “guerilla marketing” and gimmicks, one of the best ways to get the word out is to go directly to members of the media, making a public-relations, or PR, pitch with a catchy press release. Assembling this list successfully requires knowing your media audience.
Find writers who write about your topic. A local school reporter in Idaho will not care about your new IT product for defense contractors. Research heavily the people who report and write about news in your industry — writers who understand their audiences and know if those audiences will care about your PR pitch.
Include social media. Many influential presences in social media do not have jobs in the world of “traditional media.” Some bloggers have readerships in the millions; other social media types have Twitter accounts that they use to direct their followers to particular websites and products. Pitching to social media is as important as building a list of traditional journalists.
Build relationships before you make the pitch. Your list of 1,000 “cold” media professionals will not be nearly as effective as a pitch to 10 people who know you very well. If you give people news that you know they will find useful, apprise them of information before it becomes public and grant them access to people within your organization for interviews, they will be more likely to help spread the word for you when you need them.
Determine the scope of your outreach. If you are sitting on a national story, build a list of major outlets with large circulations and target their top writers. If your news involves only regional interest, focus on staff at small but locally influential outlets.
Use a national database. Sign up for services at companies like Vocus and Meltwater, which have databases of tens of thousands of media people. Engaging the services of such companies costs money but using their very sophisticated software to build targeted lists and track media mentions can greatly increase your effectiveness of spreading the word about your product, service or breaking story.
About the Author
Mason Kaho has been writing for over 15 years, since he was an editor for his school newspaper and worked in his university’s office of communications. He has a master’s degree in public policy and has published many online items for science-based organizations.