Spring is officially here and for PR pros, the change in season probably means getting reorganized and giving your client programs a refresh. Along with tracking toward your goals and metrics, making sure your media lists are up to date is a fundamental step to set you and your client programs up for success.
While updating a media list may not be a task that sparks joy, being armed with a comprehensive contact list will ultimately make your job more seamless and efficient – especially when pitching time-sensitive client news.
Here are three helpful tips to KonMari your media lists:
Check recent coverage
An effective first step in updating your media list is referencing your contact’s recent coverage page. Whether an on-staff reporter or a freelancer, it’s important to take note of story cadence. If the reporter is a regular contributor but has not written in over a month, it’s fair to assume that he or she is no longer writing for the publication. For freelancers, to get a sense of what publications they’re actively writing for, be sure to check out their recent coverage pages (oftentimes found on their personal websites). As you go through, instead of deleting contacts completely, make a “notes” section in your list and update their information accordingly. For example, if you know a reporter is taking a break from writing to work on a book but will be resuming assignments in the coming months, that’s a perfect anecdote to add to your notes section – it’s always important to keep a paper trail of the reporters you’ve reached out to for future reference! Take things one step further by updating your media list with alternative contacts in an ongoing effort to keep your list up-to-date.
Cross reference using social media
Social media is the unsung hero when it comes to refreshing your media list. Twitter is a popular channel for writers to share personal interests as well as professional insights like what publications they write for and what beats they cover. For many reporters, Twitter serves as a personal portfolio where they can share recent editorial. This is particularly helpful when working with freelance writers who contribute to several different publications. In addition to cross-referencing your contacts for publication affiliation, Twitter offers the option to include where its users are geographically located, which is an asset for localized pitching efforts, press mailers, etc. Twitter also serves as a resource for hard-to-find email addresses, as many writers will include their work or personal emails in their bios. Or, if you’re still unable to find a contact’s email address, slide into their DM’s with a friendly message to see if they’re interested in connecting.
Informal check-ins with friendlies
The most important part of being a successful PR person is making long-lasting relationships with your media contacts. The best way to do so is to check in on an ongoing basis, even when you don’t have relevant news to pitch. Keeping the lines of communication open will give your contacts an opportunity to tell you what they’re working on while ensuring that your clients are top of mind for any relevant pieces. In return, you can always count on their feedback on pitch angles to share with your client. It’s best to keep these notes short, informal and throwing them a kudo on a recent article never hurts!