Target and influence the media by ScoreSMB

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									    Target and Influence the Appropriate Media
    By Nancy Sells, vice president, PR Newswire

    The most important aspect of a PR program is knowing the target audience and where they go
    to get information that drives their business decisions. Is it the trade publications that cover
    their industry? Is it the business reporter at their local daily newspaper? Or is it where your
    competitors are advertising? Talk to customers and industry experts to find answers to these
    questions. The reporters who write for these publications are the ones you want to target.

    A second factor is today’s media environment. The 24-hour news cycle brought about by the
    Internet and cable television has created news holes that need to be continuously supplied.
    Yet, despite this need for news, many outlets around the country and the world are operating
    with fewer reporters than they did five years ago. The resulting pressure to churn out more
    content with less staff can open doors to opportunities for coverage—because of a need to fill
    these ‘holes’ with interesting, newsworthy information—that might not have otherwise been
    available.

    In a report published jointly by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, and the
    Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Committee of Concerned Journalists, called,
    "Bottom-Line Pressures Now Hurting Coverage, Say Journalists" (Published May 23, 2004) 62
    percent of online journalists surveyed said the size of their newsroom staff had decreased
    compared with three years earlier; 48 percent of national print journalists and 54 percent of
    local print journalists concur.

    With knowledge of where your audience goes for their information and an understanding of
    the current media environment, you can now begin to build an effective media list. Consider
    these tips to get started.

    Tip 1: Build A Media List
    After determining what sources your target audiences use, it’s time to build a list of these and
    related media outlets. For each outlet, determine what reporters cover news related to your
    company, client or issues. There are many ways to do this: some more time- and cost-
    effective than others. Whatever method you choose, review several back issues of the
    publication to learn what each reporter covers and what interests them and their audience.

     Subscribe to the publications read by your target audience. Consider publications in
      your own backyard, as well as others around the country. Review the masthead or beat
      sheet of each to build a master list of reporters that cover your industry or news similar to
      your own. Some publications provide beat reporter lists upon request. Routinely check the
      mastheads for any changes in beat or reporters’ assignments.

     Utilize search engines to find online editions. By plugging appropriate keywords into
      major search engines, links to appropriate industry publications will appear. Visit each site
      to find the masthead or beat sheet and determine the correct reporter for your news—this
      can usually be found in the About Us or Contact Us section of most online publications.
      Make sure to routinely return to these sites to keep your list up-to-date.
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     Follow media-focused newsletters or publications. There are quite a few newsletters
      that cover the media industry, reporting on staff changes at magazines, daily newspapers,
      wire services, trade publications and broadcast outlets. Subscribing to these newsletters
      may make it easier to stay on top of media movements.
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      Use a media database. Media databases are the most cost-effective means of building up-
      to-date media lists. Whether it is necessary to cast a wider net or keep the news more
      targeted, a media database allows one to research easily the appropriate media at outlets
      around the world. With several database services in the marketplace, choose one that
      includes the following elements:
           Online access from anywhere
           Worldwide contacts
           Geographic, subject, beat, title, pitching tips, search capabilities
           Large research team who regularly update the contacts
           Journalists’ communication preferences (so you can communicate with them in the
               manner they prefer)
           Distribution and delivery mechanisms

    Tip 2: Get to Know the Journalists
    With a solid media list in hand, there are a few more steps to consider before embarking on an
    outreach program. First and foremost, review the reporters on the list to become familiar with
    their writing. Contacting a journalist without prior knowledge of his/her beat, writing style or
    interests is a recipe for failure. Conversely, familiarity with a reporter’s past work gives you
    the ability to tie an organization’s story to the reporter’s areas of interest and can significantly
    enhance your chances for getting coverage.

    Tip 3: Determine Delivery Options
    If the list being used was created from a media database, that system can probably be used to
    distribute your news release directly to the individual media contacts (if the functionality is
    available) or as a contact list for individual pitches (all contact information and reporter
    preferences can be found within the database). There are many different ways to distribute a
    news release, including:
           Via the wire
           Via a media database
           Via the wire and a media database
           Via the wire, a media database and individual correspondence

    Whichever you choose, distribution is something to consider after you’ve assessed your
    experts and defined the messages they will deliver.

    Tip 4: Consider Timing
    If the news release is not urgent, avoid the time around the open and close of the stock
    market. Public companies often issue news releases at either time of day, resulting in a flood
    of announcements that could overshadow your news. Additionally, there are four times in the
    year when public companies report earnings, and reporters, especially business reporters,
    tend to focus on earnings ahead of other events. These quarterly periods are: January 15
    through Feb 15, April 15 through May 15, July 15 through August 15 and October 15 through
    November 15.

    Creating a targeted media list, knowing which reporter to contact, and when to conduct
    outreach are important first steps in the process of generating good media coverage.

    The following article is an excerpt from PR Newswire’s White Paper “Using Media Intelligence
    Tools to Drive Communications Success,” by Nancy Sells, vice president, PR Newswire. To
    receive a full copy of the white paper which covers media targeting, expert development and
    monitoring/measurement, please email rachel.meranus@prnewswire.com with the subject line
    “PR Newswire’s White Paper.”

								
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