Press Release Builder

Press Release Builder - Build A Media List

3 Steps To Creating A Powerful Media List

With new publications emerging and other titles closing, how do you keep up to date with all the top reporters and PR opportunities out there? Follow these simple steps to get your media list working for you.

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Identify The Fit Step 1: Identify The Fit

The more your target your press release to a specific reporter or publication, the more likely you will get called back for an interview. Identify which media outlets cover stories that are related to your press release. If your press release is about a new product for doctors, for example, you do not want to send the PR to a magazine with a readership of lawyers. Similarly, a local Toronto success story would not be of interest to a Michigan community newspaper.

Since new outlets are always opening up, existing ones are shutting down, and reporters are changing roles, a great way to stay on top of the changing landscape is to use Wikipedia. A good way to do it is to target by geography and look at: Toronto Media Outlets and Quincy, Illinois Media Outlets.

There are also a number of directories that will help you find the right fit including:

Identify the Contact Step 2: Identify The Contact

Once you have picked out a list of targeted media outlets you now have to identify who the appropriate contact person is. Most media outlets will have a general email address or phone number for you to contact with a new story idea. You should definitely add these to your list but remember that everyone is making contact through these general addresses. Your message will be caught up with all the other stories and mountains of spam that the media outlet is receiving on an hourly basis. There is a chance that your message will be given some attention, however, so add these general addresses to your list but do not bet on them delivering.

The best bet to get featured in the media is to contact the reporter / writer / editor who deals specifically with what your press release talks about. If your story covers what small business owners are doing to stay competitive, talk to the person who is responsible for small business - not the person who covers sports. If there is not anyone who discusses small business then you should consider looking at a different media outlet.

You can usually find out who the right person is through the company's website. They often list their emails on the website so you can contact them directly. If the email is not listed you can usually guess at it. Most companies will use the same email format so everyone will have the same structure. The more popular structures are:

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It is always better to have a confirmed address but if you have to guess, simply find someone at the company with an email to learn the structure and use your target's information to create the email address.

If you find that it is taking you too long to put together, there are also paid services like CCNMatthews that can help you build a media list. Make sure to do your homework though and talk to satisfied clients before paying a media list broker. Reporters frequently change roles and companies and paid lists are often out of date.

Alternate Way To Build Your List - Partner Step 2b: An Alternate Way To Build Your List - Partner

Another great way to build your media list is to partner with someone who already has one. You can leverage the work they invested into building their list and put it into immediate action for you. You have to think about what you could offer in return. How will your partner benefit from giving you their list?

One tactic you can use is to do a joint press release with a partner and offer to do the legwork of creating the press release, sending it out to the media, and following up. In return, to get the maximum amount of targeted exposure, ask for their list so you can combine it with yours and you both benefit from the success of the press release.

For more great ideas on how to build joint ventures, we have the Joint Ventures ebook available as a download for free from the website.

Leverage Technology Step 2c: Leverage Technology

There are a host of new free tools that are available online that can help you build your list- and more coming out every day! A popular one to try out is Google News. Here you can enter in keywords and you will get a list of related and up to date news articles. You can sort by relevance or by date and get access to an international list of publications that are writing about your topic.

Simply click on the story, identify who the reporter is and add them to your list. Write them a note to let them know that you have read their article and comment on what you thought of it. Offer yourself as an expert for future stories when they arise and send them your press releases.

Create A Database Step 3: Create A Database

Set up a database in Excel, Access, or whatever CRM program you use that can keep track of reporters and their changing contact information. Key fields that you want to include are name, the publication / station, contact email and phone number, what type of stories they cover, and how warm they are towards you (have they published you before?). Make sure to keep your list up to date as you hear back from reporters and add new ones to the list. You can use our free Media List Database Template created in Microsoft Excel:

Media List DatMedia List Database Template

Free Download: Microsoft Excel
Media List Database Template

Newsires & Online Directories Additional Tips: Newswires & Online Directories

There is another source to submit your press releases to: Newswires and online directories. Newswires are typically used by large companies to spread the word about their projects. They cost between $250 and $600 to put out a release and small business owners have had mixed results. The main newswires are:

  • BusinessWire - Business Wire is the leading source for full-text breaking news and press releases, multimedia and regulatory filings for companies and groups

  • Canada NewsWire - CNW Group is the nation's number one resource for time-critical news and information from more than 10,000 sources coast to coast.

  • PR Newswire - News and press release distribution services for small business marketing, corporate public relations and investor relations, government and organizations.

  • CCNMatthews - CCNMatthews. News Wire and Media Directory. Reach stock market, financial community and media. (Canada, United States and worldwide)

  • U.S. Newswire - National news release service providing immediate distribution of press releases and related materials to the media and online services.

In addition to the paid newswires there are free services that you can use to promote your press release. There are hundreds, if not thousands of websites that will offer to spread the word about your press release. The top 10 most popular are:

  • PRWeb - Press Release Distribution for small business. Press Release Marketing Service. Direct to Consumer Press Release Distribution.

  • PRLeap - PR Leap is the free press release distribution service that increases the search visibility of press releases.

  • - Comprehensive Directory of Businesses, Jobs, Products, Services, Press Releases, News, & Articles in all Industries.

  • PowerHomeBiz - Small business Home Business resources to help you start, manage and grow your home business.

  • - free press release distribution service, news release.

  • pressbox - Pressbox is the UK online press centre offering press release and copywriting services providing a professional resource for news / press releases

  • 24/7PressRelease - Press Release distribution. Submit your press release with

  • - Worldwide Open Public Relations - Publish Press Releases Free of Charge.

  • Express Press Release - is a free, simple, easy, express and very effective way to distribute over the web your company press releases .

  • ClickPress - ClickPress is a free press release distribution service.

Download Our Resource Guide Next: Email The Reporters