PR – Back to Basics
Your Press List
You are only as good as your press list. You can put together the most fantastic press release, but if the wrong people see it, it’s worthless.
Putting together a press list is something my clients struggle with because, well, it’s boring. But it has to be done, so my suggestion is to get on with it, or delegate it to an assistant, confident teenager or intern. Here are some suggestions which might make it easier.
1. Who is Your Target Market
Is it local? Who are you aiming at – brides? Venues?
2. Build A Library
This could be the local papers, national newspapers, local newsletters and magazines, radio stations, what’s on and listing websites.
Get copies of any that are printed.
If you’re stuck on titles, The Guardian Media Directory, available from the Guardian website, is a good investment at under £20.
3. Set Up Your List
This could be on a simple Excel sheet, or a newsletter service such as www.constantcontact.com. The advantage of the latter is that you can track clicks so that you know which releases get the most attention.
You may have more than one target name for each publication. In the case of a local newspaper you may have the News Editor, a family writer, women’s page editor and Features Editor. On a radio show you may be contacting the Assistant Producer, Forwarding Programming and Researcher.
4. Get To Know Your Publications
Good PR is not just a case of sending out press releases to everyone and hoping that one of them will stick. Looking at publications or listening to radio shows and coming up with ideas and angles that suit them is vital.
If you have a team you can assign particular publications to particular people.
Boosting Your Press List
These are requests for case studies or quotes from journalists. They sometimes post them in Internet forums or send out to networking groups.
I have a service at http://www.doyourownpr.com/products/divine_pub.asp where I gather media requests and email them to clients. One of the users of my service is Susan Heaton Wright of entertainment company http://www.nsn-productions.com who has been in Essentials, Prima, Leith FM, The Secretary, a number of trade hospitality publications and an over 60s publication in matter of months, simply by responding to requests.
Susan has been doing well, but she admits that it’s been a bit of a learning curve. “I started off only approaching smaller titles, but I’ve learnt that you have to just pick up the courage and go for it.”
What About Freelancers?
Freelancers are hard to find.
Some groups of journalists like Travel Journalists, or the Circle of Wine Writers, have their own association and you can buy a list of journalists or members.
If you see something written by a person you think is a freelancer, Google them. Freelance Journalists are business people and most of them have their own website, Facebook page or something similar.
Some publications do print a freelancer’s email address at the bottom of an article. Often it’s a generic firstname.lastname@example.org but it’s better than nothing.
I have another Divine Publicity Club member, Kate, who hardly ever responds to requests but has been using the requests to gather a list of freelance journalists that she now communicates with via tips and press releases. She admits that it would have been hard and time-consuming to come by her list any other way.
Paula Gardner of www.doyourownpr.com is a PR coach and trainer. Her Divine Publicity Club sends media requests into your inbox twice a week. It will also update you on new publications, blogs and websites you can add to your press lists. It costs £19.99 a month and – best of all – you get 15 mins of PR coaching with Paula once a month during regular PR clinics.