At the beginning of this month, in my industry article for Allée’s e-news, I wrote a piece called PR is more than a press release about the importance of relationship building when it comes to developing your public relations strategy. I’m a huge advocate of networking, connecting and fostering relationships with others in the community.
So, how do you figure out how to make those connections? When it comes to a public relations strategy, where do you go to build your initial media list and start those connections?
First, determine who you deem as part of the “media.” Is it a blogger? An anchor? An avid Twitter user with exceptional reach? Once you have your definition of media down, use the following to build your media list:
Twitter is a very search-friendly social media platform and many traditional media personalities hang out there. Use hashtags to search for information on a particular topic or search for a specific person by name. Caution: Don’t pitch reporters on Twitter. It’s a space used best for listening and learning. Follow your favorite media contacts on this space and learn what they write about, their likes, dislikes and future needs for stories.
They may not always be front-and-center, but most media websites list contact information (e.g. email addresses) for reporters and journalists. Take your time researching these sites not only for contacts but also to learn about what subjects are covered and ideas for follow-up articles. Take the time to read the articles posted and click on the by lines (author names) to find out specifics about the writer’s “beat”.
3. Good ol’ fashioned newspapers
It’s in your best interest to invest in a few subscriptions to the newspapers or magazines you’re thinking about pitching. Again, it’s all about research. Get to know the writers and topics. Check out the inside front cover or letter from the editor for specific information about guest writers, staff writers and you guessed it, contact information. Keep a file of articles you liked from a particular source so you can comment on them later or relate them to your own subject matter when pitching reporters.
4. Word of mouth
Ask around. Keep tabs on who is successfully mentioned in the media and pay attention to how that happened. If you don’t have a personal connection somewhere, find out who does. Use your social media networks to ask questions (and give kudos) when appropriate about who the right contacts might be. NOTE: This does not mean tweet your favorite reporter for the inside email address of the morning news producer. Use tact.
5. Key words and search
Set aside time (a month or two) and monitor key words you’ve defined as important to your cause or organization. Set up Google Alerts or use Social Mention to listen to conversations already happening online. Make notes as to who is talking about your topics and how that can be relevant to your campaign. Use search engines to search for key phrases related to your goals in order to find relevant articles or other media professionals writing/broadcasting about these topics.
And remember: Your list is for naught if you don’t determine your measurable outcomes and goals. Ultimately, you need to have a vision for why these connections are being made and what you’ll do with them (including being able to provide your own value to them).