If you do your own publicity, or you’re a publicist who has a small number of clients, you probably don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on those massive media directories that are as big as phone books.
- You’re paying for thousands of listings. Yet you’ll use a small fraction of them. So why pay for what you don’t need?
- Many of those listings are out of date by the time they get to you. Pervasive layoffs in the newspaper industry, and frequent staff turnover at TV and radio stations, mean the revolving door is always in motion.
- Media relations is all about building relationships. You can’t build relationships with thousands of journalists and broadcasters.
- With a big database of journalists at your fingertips, you’ll be tempted to send email blasts to many of them even though you know darn well that they despise them. (Repeat after me: “I will not send email blasts to journalists.”)
- Many of the big databases don’t include golden nuggets of information that you can find yourself online. That’s because many of the companies that sell media lists collect their information by asking journalists to fill out questionnaires. When I worked in a newsroom, I hated answering those questionnaires because they were a time suck. And it seemed like they all arrived in the mail within a few weeks of each other. I completed them as quickly as possible. Other journalists do, too.
By spending some time online researching a half dozen key reporters, editors or talk show hosts, you can gather details that you’ll never find in those big databases.
For example, in about 10 minutes, I discovered a treasure trove of personal information about Deborah Kotz, former health reporter for U.S. News & World Report who now writes a consumer health blog for the Boston Globe. By spending time at her blog, I learned that Kotz had thought about her risk of staying on birth control pills until she reaches menopause, and lamented the dearth of research on the long-term use of contraceptives by women. You will NEVER find juicy details like that in the big media directories.
So how about creating your own?
Join me at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Feb. 16, when I present the webinar “How to Create Your Own Database of Valuable Media Contacts.” Register here.
If you’re trying to generate publicity for yourself, or you’re a publicist, you’ll learn about the types of information to include in your database, shortcuts that will help find the best contacts quickly, and the most important details to include in each entry.
I’m offering a huge bonus for everyone who registers: a package of eight templates, the same ones I use, so you don’t have to start from scratch. These will be PDFs and you’ll have to recreate them depending on what program you’re using to build your database. More about that on Thursday.