Small Business Marketing by Jillian Shaw Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations for the Small Business

Building Your Small Business Media List from Scratch

building a media contact list

Building a media list is the first step toward having a real, functional media relations effort.  This can be a daunting task for the small business owner who has no experience in public relations and no contacts with local news reporters or editors.  No worries, there are a few  simple – but time consuming – steps you can take to have your own media list for your small business.  You can find more of the why-should-I-do-this here, but here’s more of a meat and potatoes how-to:

  1. What newspapers, radio stations, television stations and other local publications are in your area?  Write them all down in an Excel spreadsheet or Word document.  Don’t worry about really big publications – focus on those  in your geographical area and the area your customers come from.
  2. Are there regional or national publications that target your niche market?  Maybe you’re a tattoo artist – what magazines and websites give you the most up-to-date news about tattoo artistry?  All of these should be on your list, too.
  3. Now comes the hard part – research.  Hopefully you’re already familiar with most, if not all, of the publications on your list.  If not, you need to scour that last six months worth of their publications.  Try to figure out which reporters write about your niche or about local businesses.  Learn what sections these articles are in.  Take copious notes within your list.
  4. Once you’ve got a good idea of who writes about what and where, study how these people write.  What style do they use? What types of angles are they likely to take? You can keep a file of old articles you think are particularly telling about the reporter, or you can add this information into your notes section.
  5. Now make a list of the individual reporters/writers at each publication that may be interested in your business for whatever reason.  This is your most basic media contact list.
  6. Maintain your list.  Keep your eyes open for new writers, and turnover at the publication.

There you have it.  A quick and dirty starter-kit for building your own small business media contact list.

Jillian's Currently Reading: Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
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