If you conduct publicity and media relations, you probably have a decent media list, including editors for Good Housekeeping, Today Show producers and local and national industry beat reporters. But beyond the obvious must-haves for any CPG media database, expanding your list to reach untraditional contacts can have a major impact on your brand. This is of course if you pitch media contacts the right story, but that’s a different post all together.
Below are our top four secret tips for building a bigger, better media list to help secure more media coverage.
1. Find Freelancers. Freelance reporters often devote a major portion of their work to one particular industry category. As a result, they have developed strong relationships with particular magazines. It will take a bit of extra time up front, but devote the effort to build a targeted list of freelancers covering your industry and make sure they receive any relevant news and announcements from your company. Then, when they are assigned a story, they will know exactly where to turn for information.
2. Scour the web for syndicated writers/columnists. Again, a little bit of research can go a long way. Start by adding syndicated writers covering your industry beat through services like Scripps Howard and the Associated Press. Then, look for independent syndicated writers by reviewing sections in leading newspapers (i.e. check out the Home section to find a syndicated design writer). Finally, target relevant beat reporters at newspapers that are part of large publishing groups like McClatchy. If you place a story in one of the company’s papers, it can likely appear in sister publications.
Land one quality hit with a syndicated writer, and watch the coverage roll in from around the country.
3. Identify industry experts. Major national consumer media often rely on “industry experts” to acts as guests or interview subjects providing the latest tips and trends on a certain topic. Add these experts to your list and make sure your product is on their radar. If there is a natural correlation with future editorial interview opportunities, you may get a mention without ever having to speak to a producer or editor.
Additionally, well-known magazine editors often appear as lifestyle experts on non-competitive media outlets (i.e. TV talk shows). If you are targeting a certain show, make sure their editorial expert is on your list too.
4. Pinpoint production companies. This strategy works particularly well for consumer products, design and home improvement projects. Cable networks like Style, HGTV and DIY air shows produced by third-party production companies. If your product has a direct tie in to one of your favorite feature shows, track down a contact at the production company that produces the show. Call them directly and ask if they will consider products for placement on the show.