Yesterday I walked you through the current state of play in the media landscape and the blog covered a couple of key insights and tips about how to build and nurture relationships with your new besties.
Today we’re drawing out the targets section of your media strategy. We’re finding out WHO you’re going to pitch your story to.
Finding your media targets and becoming BFFs
So how did you go with your homework? Did you have any luck chatting with your ideal customer? Who is your ideal customer?
There may be several, write down some descriptions of them and what they’re into – hobbies, interest, kids, job position title, income. This will help you frame up how you speak to media but also it will help you vet whether you’re speaking to the right outlets. You can marry your ideal customer persona with the media kit of the outlets you speak with. We’ll talk about media kits a little later.
So, what are they reading, listening to or watching? (Consider: print, online, podcasts, TV, events or collaborations)
Did this help you refine a short list of targets? If you’re still stuck and need a little more direction, don’t sweat it, this blog has you completely covered.
Now, before you say ‘I wanna be on the cover of Vogue,’ there is one piece of advice that I have for PR and that is to leave your ego at the door (and wear a bullet proof vest). I’ll come back to the latter, but truly being realistic about the outlets that you target is really important. Not everyone is going to make national headline news on their first pitch — perhaps not ever — but certainly not if you don’t have a newsworthy story.
(Don’t worry bae, I totes think you’re worthy of a Vogue cover… but bby steps!)
It’s important to research and find the niche areas where your customers go to seek their education and news. We want to find them where they hang out.
You might learn that your customers actually consume a lot of trade press that’s quite specific to your mutual niche. What I’ve seen time and time again in PR is that smaller, niche outlets often carry much more weight than bigger mastheads when it comes to conversions. So, little outlets can often be where you hit the results because the coverage is displayed in front of decision makers or people that are truly invested in the topic.
If your ideal customer is a senior executive, then appearing on The Morning Show may not be quite as effective as appearing in a smaller digital outlet like Dynamic Business. Meanwhile, if you primarily need to speak to parents of young kids, it might be really valuable for you to be seen in Mama Disrupt or Kidspot where parents are seeking tips or advice on wrangling their baby humans.
WHERE TO RESEARCH MEDIA TARGETS
It sounds reallllly basic but when it comes to finding a short list of targets, I always recommend going to a newsagent, or petrol station, or the magazine section of your supermarket! You can even jump onto Magshop.com.au to get your head around what magazines are even out there. It’s also a good idea to visit your local library to find back issues of magazines, or jump onto ISSUU.
For podcasts, jump onto iTunes and key word search your product category to find who’s talking about things related to you and your sweet ‘thing’. Make sure you LISTEN to the podcast before you pitch. And don’t just listen to one episode, listen to several, heck even listen to the same episode a couple of times so you really get to know who you’re pitching to.
For blogs and YouTube channels it can be useful to Google search ‘Top blogs on xyz’, or ‘How-to videos' on YouTube about your chosen topic. On YouTube you can then scroll through the recommended videos that pop up. I always recommend digging into ‘Top 10 reviews…’ of blogs in your field. It’s then your job to trawl through the content to determine if these outlets are a good fit for your brand.
LinkedIn is the most powerful platform when it comes to finding people related to a particular job title. If you’re not sure of which outlets exist in your niche, start keyword searching for topics related to business. Type in ‘journalist/writer/freelancer’ and ‘health’ or ‘business news’ and see what people appear in the results. These could be your new besties. If you’re aiming for TV you will want to search for ‘program name + producer’.
Google news – Thanks to Google News we can now see (some!) of the major publishers who produce content digitally. This is super helpful when it comes to finding new outlets, those that you’ve never heard of before. Go to Google and hit the ‘News’ section to toggle over to news results. This may produce a lot of international outlets so you might want to refine your key words to include Australia if you’re looking for local media outlets.
A good bit a sleuthing on social media – Twitter and Instagram are amazing. Play the long game. Build the relationship over time, don’t ask for marriage on the first date. I always recommend doing your research and then sending a LinkedIn request with a super concise but observant message in the request. Or send a little love note via the ‘contact us’ form on their freelance website with a request to get their postal address to send a little product + gift.
Remember the telephone I know, I know, that phone!? But yes, for major news desks and some smaller outlets you can call the reception or main switch and ask for the contact number for key journalists. Try to avoid any generic email addresses like news@ because we’re trying to find individuals who you’re going to build a lasting relationship with.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR MEDIA SHORTLIST
As you are researching your outlets you want to narrow the field down to 5 primary targets. And you then need to find out which journalists you’re targeting. In the beginning of your campaign you may way to aim first for smaller outlets on digital as you learn how to pitch your business and determine the best angles or stories that align with your objectives. We call this chasing after the low hanging fruit first.
As you build your list, you want to compile details that include: outlet, journalist name, and contact details – social media as a last resort. Then you want to start pulling out the headlines and themes that they have recently covered. For each journalist you want to have read, listened to, or watched 3-5 of their recent articles (but more if you can). This will give you insight into the sorts of conversations and articles that they typically produce, and this arms you against appearing in coverage that misrepresents your brand or that doesn’t align with your message.
My primary targets are:
Journalist area of interest/recent articles
Angle(s) I’m going to pitch to this journalist
Once you have refined a short list I would recommend searching online for the media kits that each outlet you’ve selected has published. A media kit is a document that the advertising team use to secure ad sales. It documents that main themes that the magazine regularly covers and a whole bunch of useful information about their readership and circulation – that means they’re telling you who picks up the magazine each month, what age they are, and what topics they find most useful. They often include a monthly calendar that tells you what themes are covered each month.
You can easily find the media kits by googling the magazine or outlet name and ‘media kit.†’ I regularly download the media kits that are released as they’re updated each year. These can be used as a sanity check that you’re speaking to the right audiences in the outlets.
After today you should feel confident that you know exactly where to find your media targets if you don’t already have a short list. Make sure you note down the headlines of the articles that you liked and the journalists who wrote them or produced the programs.
Research your ideal media targets
Get to know their agenda, what topics they commonly cover
Find five journalists or reporters who you want to build a connection with
Create a database of these five individuals and ensure you grasp the essence of what they typically cover
Begin thinking about what your potential angles are for each journalist