With all the digital noise—Twitter, Facebook, Google+, niche-specific
online communities, and many more—it can be difficult for a digital PR
professional doing outreach for a client to know where to start.
It’s good practice to create a highly targeted list that suits the
content you are trying to pitch. It’s also good practice to find the
best contact information and the preferred method of contact for each
If you have a media database, you can start there, but how do you
organize your database information efficiently? Do you have all the right
information? Is there a better way to filter or sort results? How do you find information outside your database?
Here are some tips on constructing your perfect media list:
Starting your search and organizing your info
You can start with a basic search via Cision or any other database you
have access to. It’s important to find a contact email and not just a
general outlet email from the website. You’re not as likely to get a
response from email@example.com as from an actual editor or writer
for the site.
Are you looking for coverage in a certain geographic area? If so, enter
the designated area. For your niche, you may be able to put in a general
search term, or you may need to select from a drop-down or check box—if
so, select what makes the most sense for the type of article or media
you are trying to get covered.
Filtering and sorting
You’re likely to return thousands of results. Filters and sorters are
your best friends. Use any and all available filters to narrow down your
search: media type, topics or a text search for very particular
keywords. For example, maybe you’re looking for health websites, but you
specifically want one that focuses on yoga. Search for yoga
instead of health
to winnow your results.
Need an even narrower focus? An important factor of PR is getting
coverage on a site that has a good amount of traffic. Either in your
database or an exported Excel spreadsheet, sort traffic or ranking data
you have from top to bottom. Ignore sites that don’t garner the search
volumes that you need.
Remove any columns you don’t need and be sure to include this information in your lists:
1. Traffic or ranking data
Finding information for people outside your database
2. A contact name
3. A contact email (repeat: not just an outlet email)
4. Outlet name
5. Outlet URL
If you’re stumped on finding the right email address or contact person,
there are ways to find the right information outside of a database.
Check the targeted website manually to see if you can find a contact
name and accompanying email address. Do they have a Twitter account?
It is not uncommon for organizations to give you the email address of
the person you’re trying to contact if you reach out to them and ask for
it. Don’t forget to explain why
you need to reach this person. If you have a name but no email address, you can also try a basic Google search.
Using Google Alerts, Twialerts, and RSS for other opportunities
Just as you can search for contact information outside a database, you
can search for new media opportunities as well. You can search in Google
with certain keywords or in Google News to see who is writing about
what—this will make your pitch a lot more relevant if you make the
connection with what you’re trying to get coverage for by reactive pitching in your outreach email
If you’d like to automate the process and get Google Alerts and
Twialerts dumped right into an RSS feed, you can learn how to do that in
To sum up: Create a highly targeted list based on outlet topic and any
specific keywords. Be sure to include essential information in your
list: contact name, contact email, outlet name, URL, and any traffic or
ranking data you can find. You can also add to your list along the way
by conducting searches and creating alerts.
If you’re interested in being taken thoroughly through these steps, sign up for a webinar I’m co-hosting in February
[RELATED: Prove the ROI of your digital efforts after hearing these top-rated case studies in March.]
Do you have any media list compilation tips? Share in the comments below.
Cassie Gray is a media outreach specialist at content promotion and marketing firm DigitalRelevance. A version of this article originally appeared on the company’s blog.