The Importance of Targeting and the Role of Media Lists
Are you looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of your pitches to media in order to earn more impactful coverage? Thoughtful targeting is key to earning great media coverage. This is where media lists play an important role. Creating an effective media list starts with defining your target audience, and from there identifying the publications and influencers who already have their ear.
It’s critical to be selective in which editors and reporters to approach. This requires some strategic thinking and research. Who is repeatedly writing about the topics that align with your own industry? What have they covered recently? What can you learn from their Twitter bio? What are they tweeting about? Is there alignment between your brand and the profile of the publication they write for? Here are some steps to help you be successful:
Step 1: Audience Analysis
Who are they? Where are they located? What are their interests? What type of media do they consume? What publications do they read? Once your audience has properly been profiled, you can start researching meaningful publications.
Step 2: Publication Research
What topics do they tend to cover? Are they consistent with the type of coverage you’re looking for? What’s the size of the audience they reach? How frequently do they publish? The relevance of your pitch is a function of its timing, not just the story idea itself. Here it can be helpful to check their publishing calendar. Armed with this research, it’s time to decide who to pitch.
Step 3: Identifying the Right Person to Pitch
A blanket pitch to a broad set of journalists is easily sniffed out as spam. Editors and journalists can get up to hundreds of pitches per day. The key here is to identify the right person at a publication to pitch. Pitching multiple people at the same publication reveals the lack of exclusivity, which immediately diminishes its value. Meltwater can help save you time here by using keyword searches to identify individuals who write about topics relevant to your pitch. Further refinement is possible through a range of filters (geography, media type, role, reach, etc.). Alternatively, most publications have lists of staff writers with contact information and journalist profiles listed.
Step 4: Get Organized
Each media list should be developed for a particular purpose. Your organization principle could be anything, as long is it makes sense to you and your team. Examples could be audience type,, market segment, media type or relationship type (you’ll likely communicate differently with someone you know well vs someone you don’t). Well-organized lists will help with your targeting efforts and save you time finding the right list when it is time to pitch. On average, our customers have 12 media lists, and things can quickly get messy as the count grows, which leads us to management of media lists.
Step 5: Stay Relevant
Ongoing management of your lists is key to success. First, the focus of your pitches will likely change over time, which should be reflected in your targeting. Second, reporters tend to change jobs frequently. Over the last few years, this has escalated significantly as a result of cost-cutting at many publications. At Meltwater, we help you keep track of job changes. We update tens of thousands of media contacts in our database every month.
Some argue that getting media coverage is an “art”. It’s really about preparation and diligent execution to create mutual value. This requires being thoughtful and intentional about who you ultimately want to reach (your target audience), identifying who already has their ear (influencers), and crafting a story idea (pitch) that’s personalized and relevant to that journalist, editor, blogger or producer.