Want Better PR? Build a Better List

This step-by-step guide shows you how. Pulling together an effective media list requires a lot more than gathering a list of names, numbers and email addresses. A strong list of aerospace and defense-focused reporters, editors, podcasters, and social media influencers is a powerful and organic document that, when given the right attention, can effectively boost your visibility and reach your targeted customers.

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It pays to research

Long gone are the days of buckshot news releases sent to every outlet and reporter known to man. Instead, you must take the time to research the right outlets and reporters. Start by compiling a list of publications, broadcasts, and influencers that reaches your target customers. Then expand to those outlets that cover your competition. A simple Google search for news on a competitor will provide a rich source of information. From there, dig deeper.

Tip: A reporter who writes about your competition is someone you want to reach with your news. Develop a database with the outlet, reporter's name, and contact information (including social media handles), and any background you can gather on his or her beat, including links to similar stories.

Develop relationships

Your list of 1,000 “cold” media professionals will not be nearly as effective as a personalized pitch to 10 people you know. The best way to do this is to invest time learning about a reporter's work.

Tip: Make individual pitches, referencing relevant past work if you can. This shows the journalist that you did your homework and understand his or her areas of interest. Given all the cold pitches a reporter receives in a day, yours will quickly rise to the top. Here’s something else – once your story appears, remember to say thank you. Even sending a note when you read something the reporter wrote that resonated with you goes a very long way in strengthening relationships. Reach out to them when you need something — and when you don’t.

Tip: Download our brand-new Personalized Media Profile template and use it as a foundation for your own media database.

Digital power

Some of the most powerful outlets in the world are online. And while we may like the look and feel of a glossy magazine, it’s important to remember that news websites have gained considerable traction and digital reach – so much so that many print publications are racing to catch up. Often these outlets have strong social media following, further pushing their stories, and your news, to ever-increasing audiences.

Tip: Make sure to research all digital outlets and add them to your media list.

Include social media

In a world increasingly dominated by social media, every industry has its list of social media influencers. These are the people with their finger on the pulse of the industry and the social media following that allows them to share what they know and to influence public opinion. Whether they're simply sharing the news they consider relevant, their own sourced stories, podcasts they've developed, or viral videos, these influencers have the potential to elevate your company and news.

Tip: Use a tool like Buzzsumo to identify key influencers to promote your content and to analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. And be sure to connect and follow key journalists on Twitter and social media.

Consider a database

Whether you're starting out, taking over a position with a dated list, or breaking into the aerospace industry, you may find subscribing to a media database service saves time. Yes, it will require an investment, but you’ll gain access to information about thousands of outlets and reporters around the world. The service's ability to perform targeted media searches, track news coverage, and even send out a release has the potential to increase the effectiveness of your media relations.

Tip: Before you commit to a service, verify (don’t take their word for it) that its aerospace and defense list is complete and accurate. In our experience, some services overpromise and under deliver in this regard. Also, if using a service, it's a good idea to pair it with your own network. And whatever you do, keep your list current.

Want to Improve Your PR Effectiveness? Here are the 3 Resources You Need Now!

  1. We know that building a good list isn’t easy, and establishing relationships takes time. While we can’t share our entire proprietary database, we have compiled a solid list of journalists and influencers and other information that will serve as a good foundation. It’s all-new and a BDN exclusive. Download our compiled list of top PR Influencers & Journalists.
  • We’ve just added something new to our aerospace and defense PR library. It’s the ultimate guide to planning your PR strategy, including step-by-step instructions that will help you through the process. Download this comprehensive PR e-book to use as a resource in your PR strategy planning process.
  1. There are hundreds of aerospace and defense publications to consider as you build or update your media list. Here’s a comprehensive directory.