The SPR Blog

Clear Messages in a Cluttered World


Media List Building for PR Pros

Every public relations professional knows that a useful and reliable media list is like gold in our industry and that a great relationship with a media contact is priceless. However, sometimes top journalists’ email addresses are more closely guarded than the President of the United States.

So if you’re starting from scratch when building a media list for your latest client pitch, where should you begin? Here are several tips I’ve picked up in my media relations experience:

  1. Do NOT build a massive list all at once. This is one of the biggest PR fouls you can make in media relations. Going through a massive database, selecting the city and the type of publication and deciding that that’s your entire list is a massive mistake. Instead, use these tools as a starting point or for cross-referencing. Get some ideas, gather the names of some relevant publications and journalists and from there, do some deeper research into what you’ve found. For Atlanta-based folks, I’d highly recommend Leff’s Atlanta Media. It has never led me astray.
  2. Read the news regularly. Simply reading the news and keeping up-to-date on the industries your clients are in will help you figure out who you should be pitching. It will also help you notice trends, which could inspire the idea behind a great pitch.
  3. Use Google News. It sounds too simple to be effective, but I’ve found that doing some simple searches of news articles that discuss topics related to my pitch has resulted in some wonderful media contacts. Through Google News, you’re able to set the location and the time span, which helps weed out journalists that are outside of your area or that are no longer covering a specific beat.
  4. Update media lists frequently. Journalists are switching beats and publications constantly. Chances are, if you built a list even just six months ago, some of your contacts are already out of date. Make it a point to do a quick update of your lists every few months to make sure you’re contacting the right people.
  5. Each publication’s website should be your main source of information. Typically, news sites will provide staff email addresses and phone numbers. This is the most accurate way to get contact info because it is updated regularly. It’s also the easiest way to see what the journalist has been writing about recently. If they’ve made a switch from real estate to government, it’s probably not a good idea to pitch them on your client’s latest development. That make it obvious you haven’t done your research.
  6. Make sure you’re contacting the right people. Typically, the editor-in-chief of a magazine or anchor of a top news station will not even open PR pitches (if you’re even able to find their email addresses in the first place) because they’re simply too busy and there are plenty of other people to handle that type of thing. Instead, contact the journalist who is talking about your topic frequently because chances are, they’ll find the information much more interesting (if you’ve put together a solid pitch).

The art of building a media list takes a while to master. The first time I ever “built” a media list, it had over 500 contacts that were all pulled from a huge database. Needless to say, that list was scrapped pretty quickly.



What Atlanta United is Getting Right

Since March, I’ve officially been a very proud Atlanta United FC fan. In April 2014, when the Eastern conference of Major League Soccer announced Atlanta was getting a team, I knew it was going to be a great asset to Atlanta. I blindly bought the affordable season tickets in December 2016 without ever having sat through an entire soccer game or ever having attended an MLS game. The experience has not disappointed.

In addition to the fandom and explosive game days, Atlanta United communications strategies are one of the reasons I’m such a big fan. PR firms and communication professionals should take note of how the team treats its shareholders, how Atlanta United listens to its audience, its social media platforms and its community engagement.



June’s Don’t Miss Atlanta Events

June 2017’s event roundup includes a live podcast taping, a breakfast celebrating women in technology and a deep dive into the growth Midtown and downtown.

Atlanta Tech Village

The entrepreneurial podcast On the Grind will host a live show at Buckhead’s Atlanta Tech Village on Tuesday June 13. Host Chirag T. Panel will sit down with former President and COO of Chick-Fil-A Jimmy Collins to discuss coming from humble beginnings, beginning to work as a delivery boy at age 12, to running one of Georgia’s most beloved institutions. Email [email protected] for more details.



Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

Raise your hand if you are in charge of social media management for a client. Now, keep your hand up if you have ever sat in front of your computer struggling to create engaging content to post.

If you’re struggling to create meaningful content to post on your client’s social media accounts, stuck in a content rut or looking to fill in a few gaps on your social media or content marketing calendar, try  (more…)


3 Tips for Securing Speaking Engagements for Your Client

Recently, I discussed why you should be placing your clients in trade publications due to increased exposure, secured Thought Leadership and a high Total Media Value. Another way to secure these benefits is through speaking engagements – another part of our recommended PR portfolio. For many of our clients, I spend hours every month searching for and applying to speaking engagements. These speaking engagements mostly entail conferences, but also include civic clubs, business associations, local panels and a variety of other local opportunities.

How do I keep up with the seemingly near endless opportunities for each of my clients and secure the best placements possible for them? Here are three tips to help you on your path to securing speaking engagements for your clients.


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