A media strategy is your plan of action. Even with a strong story to tell, without a compelling strategy you’re effectively floundering around armed with just a scattergun and no idea of who you’re pointing it at.
A good strategy creates direction and will focus activities in the areas most likely to yield results. And a key element of this will be a comprehensive media list.
REASONS YOU NEED A MEDIA STRATEGY
It’s vital to know who your audience is – and who your client’s target market is. Make sure that you’re speaking to the right people by spending time researching relevant publications and websites.
Don’t just go by the title either – these can be deceptive. You might think that Cranes Today is the ideal publication for a client who produces platforms and lifting accessories – until you find out it’s actually dedicated to long-necked birds not unlike herons.
An effective media list is likely to contain more than just printed publications. Journalists, freelancers, television and radio producers, bloggers and influencers may all be among your target audience, depending on client needs and goals.
Then you need to consider how you will approach each contact on your list; you need to ‘sell’ your idea and convey the value of them covering it.
Once you have found your ideal media, dig deeper to discover who is the person most likely to be interested in a release. The motoring editor of a national daily paper is unlikely to be interested in a story about a children’s centre; equally, a sustainability expert will be less than thrilled to receive a press release about a gas-guzzling new car model.
When assembling a media list, think laterally as well as literally. A client selling food will want to appear in relevant trade and consumer publications, but they may also have an environmentally friendly aspect to the business.
Understand the editorial calendar – most magazines will be monthly but may have websites that are updated daily. It is worth finding out when deadlines fall as not only will this enable you to make the latest edition, it will help you to avoid the busiest, most stressful times when following up a press release.
Update your list regularly to ensure that the right person will receive it. Try to avoid sending the same story to several people at the same outlet, or to a general ‘info@’ email address.
Once you have your media list, keep it organised. An excel document will allow you to create as many columns or separate sheets as you need.