How to Relieve the PRESSure from Creating Press Lists
Recently, a colleague of mine pointed out a blog post on the benefits young PR professionals gain when creating the right press list. These perks include practice for creating a strategy, up-to-date industry media knowledge, time management skills and Excel experience.
I completely agree with these advantages and have personally found that creating press lists is a great way to stay current with a client’s industry as well as prepare for future higher-level projects. That being said, creating a new press list still can seem a bit overwhelming for most young PR professionals, myself included.
I was asked to create an IPv6 press list for one of LPP’s security clients. I knew who has covered IPv6 from among the core security journalists and bloggers with whom I regularly work, but I didn’t know the full universe of IPv6 influencers. So instead of letting things get complex, I used some helpful tips I’ve learned along the way from my peers on how to break down the creation of a press list so it’s not so daunting.
By the end of the two-day project, I knew the writing style, recent articles and hot buttons of the people on the list I had compiled, which is so important in establishing and building media relationships.
Below are the strategies I use when creating media lists and have found to be the most successful:
Break it down
Ask the person who requested the list for keywords or phrases to search for. This will be helpful when building a list for a new client or for a broad project.
Take advantage of those basic computer skills courses you took in college. Excel is your friend and don’t be afraid to use different font sizes, styles and colors to group the information you’re compiling. Your team will appreciate it if you separate publication types (eg. business, trade, vertical, etc.) into different Excel sheets to keep the list organized.
Know your audience
Who are you targeting? Are you going to be pitching business press? Bloggers? Analysts? Receiving this information from your manager from the start will help you save time and weed out unwanted media contacts.
Keep it simple
Don’t be afraid to start with a Google search. One of the fastest and most effective ways I’ve found the right media contacts is to run a Google News and Blog search with the keywords my manager gave me and on my client’s name, dating back about one month. Now, not only do you know who’s written on the topic and/or client in the past month, but you can see how frequently they write and who the major influencers are.
Use your available resources
Why waste time to recreate the wheel? Most of the time, I find that there’s a press list already in existence on the same or similar topic to the one that was assigned to me. Using an existing list is always a great starting point.
Supplement with tools
Since Cision is limited to searching specific terms, it may not be the best place to start your research. However, it’s a great tool to find contact information and cross reference to ensure we have a solid list.
Manage your time
Press lists can take a long time to create so it’s important to make sure you allocate enough time to get the job done. You should always ask your manager for a deadline so you won’t be caught off guard when they ask for the list.
By using these tips and techniques, we were able to generate great coverage for our client, and establish and build on new relationships with the sphere of media covering IPv6.
Using this strategy will help simplify and relieve the pressure that can come from being asked to create a press list. Press lists are the foundation of a PR campaign’s media strategy. Without them, proactive outreach, announcements and other external communications would be more difficult.
I’ll even go one step further. Press lists are also one of the many foundation pieces for a young PR professional who’s learning how media outreach works. I’m sure there’s a bunch of other tricks out there that I’ve left out.
I’m interested in hearing about what do you find to be helpful when creating a press list.