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Matthew Fraser, Senior PR Account Executive

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Matthew Fraser

Senior PR Account Executive

After working hard to create an engaging piece of content for your brand, next you need to get your story in front of the right people. Key to achieving this is a media list of relevant publications that can promote your story.

But, out of the endless list of newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio and TV stations you could be speaking to, how do you build one that’s most relevant to your brand? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Define your target audience

Here’s an obvious sounding question for you: who do you want your story to be read by? The more detailed your answer is, the more relevant and ultimately more useful your media list will be. Some of the media lists we build for clients can include hundreds of different publications - but they would be useless if the target audience for the brand didn’t consume content from those sources.

Understanding the audience you are targeting helps identify the types of publications you should be contacting.

So when you start building your media list, start asking yourselves these types of questions: what age group is my target audience? Do I have a regional or national audience? Do I have a predominantly male or female audience? Is there a particular magazine or website they are likely to read?

The answers to these will help you to identify the types of publications you should be talking to and will ensure you don’t waste your time on others that aren’t useful for your brand.

Know the writer, not just the title

Your chances of achieving coverage, or getting useful feedback on a story, are stronger if you contact a relevant, named journalist. Knowing specific writers at publications that cover the types of content you want to promote is essential if you want your media list to be a useful tool.

This means looking at the bylines on articles, searching contact directories on websites if they have them, as well as searching sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Gorkana for the right person.

One of the main reasons for doing this is so you can get on the phone to speak about your content. Journalists' inboxes are flooded with press releases on a daily basis, so being able to stand out above the rest with a friendly call to highlight the key stats from your story will give you an advantage when trying to gain coverage.

See where your competitors are

If you have rival brands that have a prominent PR presence, it’s useful to make a note of the types of publications their name keeps popping up in and adding them to your own media list.

Placing your next story in the same title has the potential to get your brand in the faces of your competitors’ audience who, by being interested in a similar sector/product as your own, will be engaged with the types of content you want to publish.

Additionally, by finding the types of publications the competition gets coverage in, you will be able to identify writers and journalists who may have an interest in looking at your own content in the future.

A really easy way of being able to track other brands you are interested in is to set up Google Alerts. Simply type a brand’s name in the search bar and returned back to you will be a list of recently published content. Alert results can then be emailed straight to you either as soon as articles are published, once a day or once a week, dependent on your preference.

Adding your own brand into an alert is a really quick and easy way to keep a track of your own online PR activity, as well as pick up on any conversations about your brand that you may not be aware of.

Build your media list on social

Where you can, try and build up your media list on social media platforms as well. Building up a Twitter list of all of the writers you have on your media list is a really useful way of keeping on top of the content they’re currently covering and spotting any future opportunities.

A lot of writers use the #journorequest hashtag when they’re looking for help on stories, which may be the perfect way for you to introduce your brand to them.

Constantly update

The best media lists are never 'finished'. They are always changing to reflect the types of content you are looking to promote, any new publications, or writers that might be relevant to your brand.

The rapid pace of change, especially online, means that the next big publication is always just around the corner. It doesn’t matter how interesting your story is if you are not found in a place where people come to read it.