Targeting the Right Media for Your Business
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To get coverage for your product, service or company, you need to reach reporters and gain their interest. This chapter will help you learn to effectively communicate with reporters, both on the phone and in writing. We also discuss how to take advantage of the variety of editorial opportunities and communication methods available.
Targeting the Media
Now that you’ve developed your message and created press materials, you need to select the media contacts to direct your message to. This chapter will help you target the media effectively so you can save time and money – and get results.
Know Your Reporters
Nothing gives the public relations industry (PR people and the companies they represent) a worse name than those lazy individuals who call reporters and ask, “What do you write about?” or “What does your magazine cover?” Reporters’ biggest gripes are the PR people who don’t understand what the publication stands for, who reads it, or what interests those readers. Reporters respond to these types of people by curtly telling them to read their publications.
Know your reporters. Know what they cover. Know their publication’s audience and how their publication positions itself. You must know which publications write about your products, and what slant they take, if you are going to be effective. This chapter concentrates on finding reporters who are interested in your products.
Find the Right Targets
You can create a target media list by reading the magazines that cover your products. Every magazine has a masthead that lists the editorial staff, addresses and phone numbers. Widely distributed newsletters and other publications usually provide a similar listing. These listings will not detail what reporters cover. They may list a category the reporter or editor focuses on (e.g. home repair or real estate), or it may indicate that they work out of a bureau. To find reporters who cover your field or area, read publications and look for bylines, or call the publication and ask the news editor or managing editor for the person who covers your field or area.
To obtain more detailed information than is printed on the masthead, you can conduct research in a number of media directories. As with any printed data, the information can be outdated by the time the directory is published. Don’t be surprised to find that some reporters have switched to a new beat, or have left the publication.
Media Distribution Services
This organization maintains a computerized database of virtually every technical, business and consumer publication in the country. They provide complete mailing services, including printing, labeling, and mailing your press release. You select categories of publications (i.e. woodworking, chemicals) and they’ll send your materials. Prices depend upon the number of items (e.g. press release, photograph) sent plus postage. (307 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018, 212-279-4800)
Note: The prices listed in the manual are the quoted prices as of press time. Both Bacon’s and Media Distribution Services list publications in most industries, and some industries have similar directories of their own. If you can’t find one or more for your industry, check with trade associations.