Thursday, October 18, 2012

What You’re Not Taught in the Classroom: Media Lists

Most public relations students who have been lucky enough to have an internship would say that they learned more outside of the classroom than inside of the classroom. Experiences and lessons taught within an organization is priceless for a student as it provides a real look into the work world. Students enter an internship hoping that the constant tests and papers drilled into them by professors can provide them with some kind of guidance as to what they can expect. 

In my personal experience so far as a PR student, we have not gone over a handful of tasks asked of me in the professional world. I’m currently at an internship and was given the task of creating three media lists in one day. While working on the first one, I began to think about how to be strategic and productive in my creation, I wanted to do this with perfection. 

I can’t speak for all PR students but I personally never learned how to create a strong and effective media list. The media list is all-important; it is the basis for the coverage of your story. You need to reach the right people in the right positions. After combing through countless media outlets in CisionPoint I came up with a few solid tips for creating a media list. 

  • Keep your news topic in mind – while working at an agency, you can have an array of clients that influence news reports. Don’t go sending your health article to the sports reporter or the environment press release to the entertainment editor. Keep it relevant or it will go right into the trash. 
  • Identify the top three contacts at large outlets – in Philadelphia we have the Philadelphia Inquirer where there can be a number of contacts that are relevant to your story. Having a #2 and #3 at your fingertips if contact #1 doesn’t work out is helpful. 
  • Determine the geographic outreach – decide if your outreach should go to a particular city, state, region or national level. For example this will save the reporter on a national level the frustration of going through local town news. 
  • Check the titles of your contacts – Are you sending the news to an assistant? Your best bet is sending the news to a higher standing editor or manager who can distribute the news accordingly. 

These are just some tips, there are so many more out there! Let me know what you think works best when creating a media list. 

This guest blog post was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Katherine Carpenter

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