Crafting a useful media list takes creative skills as well as a logical thinking approach. When I create a new media list for a senior living community the first thing I do is check with the community’s staff members to see which publications are most popular in the area. Which magazines do you see around doctors’ offices? Which newspaper is the most respected and well-read? Which publications would you most like to see stories about your senior living community published in?
Once I establish a community’s priorities, I then take a look at Google Maps to get a sense of how many towns are around the city the community is located in. Some communities have a sparse amount of towns nearby. Other communities have a plethora of cities surrounding it. I usually only pull the names of cities that are within a 30 mile radius of the community.
After I have gathered a list of the surrounding cities I use research sites like Mondo Times and Meltwater Press to see which publications dominate those cities. Now I have a list of prevalent publications and surrounding publications. Lastly, I look for publications that are nearby and publish content relative to what the senior living community specializes in, as well as publications that are designed specifically for seniors. I may find a magazine exclusively published for boomers in the state where the community is located, or a healthcare publication that is published in the city where the community is located.
Finding an array of relevant publications to contact with story ideas is such an important part of creating your media list.
In a strategy planning meeting we will have discussed if the client wants to promote the business aspects – like partnerships with other healthcare venues, if they want to change their image – i.e. transition from being seen as a nursing home to being seen as a place where active seniors retire, or if they want to build a new reputation for themselves – like being a nonprofit community that gives back and helps others.
So if I was looking to promote the business aspects of a senior living community, I would pull up the list of contacts for newspapers, magazines, and television to see if any of them have contacts that specialize in business, like a business editor or health reporter. If I was looking to change an image, I would look for contacts that focus on features, community happenings, and profile pieces, like a features editor, or a lifestyle reporter.
I take down editors, reporters, anchors, producers, program directors, and news directors’ information. Usually, I don’t take down publishers contact information, unless they are the publisher of a small town paper. You have to remember that any one of these contacts may get your story. The more people on a media list, the more people the release can be sent to, the more opportunities arise for connections with people. I take down as many relevant contacts as I can when creating a media list.
Now that you recognize how I identify people, let’s delve into what information I pull. I pull simple tidbits like their full name, email address, telephone number, their position, and if available the types of news or stories that they cover. In addition to the information that I pull for contacts, I pull information about the publication itself, like deadlines from the media kit, date the publication is published, sections that appear in the publication – i.e. if they have a senior insert one month during the year, and I jot that down.
Once I create a media list I’m not done though. I’ll update it as I work from it. People shift roles, take new opportunities, and move on. Additionally, it is useful to keep track of who your best contacts are, so I double asterisk people that are favorable to work with.
Here is an example entry:
Harry Potter, Wizard at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Covers features, community events, sports, and culture
Deadline is every Tuesday by five, paper is published on Wednesday. They have a seniors lifestyles insert, a student notebook section. Harry is really nice, likes intergenerational stories about seniors and kids
Building and maintaining a media list is a very elaborate and creative task; it’s all in what you put into it.