Eight Quick Suggestions for Compiling a Media List
Contact Info Makes a Difference
1. Use a dedicated public relations directory.
I recommend Bacon’s because it offers the most comprehensive information in easy-to-use formats. Bacon’s includes three different reference books on magazines, newspapers and web sites (or e-zines).
2. Determine the focus of your media list.
Choose the industries corresponding to your target markets as well as your client’s (or your own) internal field.
3. Determine the size and composition of your media list.
Media lists generally include from 40-to-50 publications including industry trade magazines, daily newspapers, e-zines and weekly publications such as business journals. You should record the publication’s name, circulation, and an editorial contact with his/her direct phone number and unique email address. It may be useful to list the physical address of the publication as well for pitching purposes (e.g., time zone, local news angles).
Publications with a circulation between 30K to 60K are the best for achievable and productive placements.
4. Use Bacon’s index in the magazine directory.
The index in the back of Bacon’s magazine directory lists the publications in alphabetical order, and you can choose a magazine starting with a keyword to find the appropriate section in the body of the directory. For example, to find the section with interior design, you could look up a publication title starting with the word “homes.”
However, be sure to check a magazine’s readership profile before adding it to your media list because errors can occur due to double meanings. For example, a magazine with “security” in its title could be devoted to burglar alarms or the Internet.
5. Find newspapers by frequency of publication and location.
Bacon’s newspaper directory lists daily and weekly publications in separate sections. Then, within each section, there are separate chapters organized by state. Each state, in turn, includes an alphabetical list according to town or city.
Failure to find a particular publication often results from looking in the daily section instead of the weekly one, or vice versa.
6. Find dedicated e-zines.
Avoid repeating web sites from publications already listed in your magazine or newspaper sections. Look for e-zines devoted solely to the Internet.
7. Use the circulation and job title to determine the best editorial contact.
Select the editor-in-chief for smaller publications (up to 60K) so your pitching requires only one approval. For larger publications, it may be impossible to reach the editor-in-chief without navigating a mine field of secretaries and voicemail, so choose a managing editor or a beat reporter instead.
8. Finalize the media list in an Excel file with the type of publication and target markets in separate sections.
Daily newspapers, trade magazines, e-zines and weekly publications, such as business journals, should be listed separately. Furthermore, if you are researching more than one target market, your media list should be divided accordingly.
Once completed, a media list serves as a valuable promotional tool for years to come. In addition to pitching news releases and bylined articles, the list can help select publications for advertising or simply provide interesting sources for professional learning.