How To: Building your own Media List

Working in an industry where a lot of attention is focused on the media, it makes sense to have different media lists that you refer to when trying to get your companies information out.  However, what if your company doesn’t have the resources to access a professional database? To build a contact list, try using these tips by Jennifer Nichols in her article, 9 Ways to build your media list–for free.

Identify the story

You have to have an understanding of who would be most interested in reading the story you are writing. Also, what publication would be most relevant to your story? For example, is it a local story, designed for a TV news broadcast or a business story, most likely to suit a business magazine? Identify the type of media you would be working with, then start building your list of outlets from there.

Sharpen your focus
Now that you know to whom you are writing, identify the individual(s) you want to contact. If you are writing about sports, then you want to contact someone that covers that beat. But you also want to be as specific as possible. Are you writing to a blogger, or a member of the local or national media?  If you start with smaller publications, it you may find that you reach more of your audience and obtain a more targeted reach. “Big name” publications are important for building credibility but can be hard to obtain a mention in if you aren’t yet connected. If you start small and work your way up, you may yield better results for yourself and what or who you are pitching.

Create your outlet list

When looking to start your outlet list, identify the market you will be working with most and find publications in your area. Then, start an Excel document as the place to keep your contact list. Use Google to search for the city and type of media outlet you want this story to run in. If you want it to run in an Atlanta newspaper, search for Atlanta newspapers and you will find many examples that are relevant to what you need; in addition to, you’ll need to know things like publication dates and readership.

Fill in the gaps

Research and look for reporters and outlets that should be on your radar. These are people who typically write the stories for your specific piece or a specific “beat.” Use an advanced search to make the parameters more specific to your needs.

Find your reporter

This is where you put all the research to better use. Check out the outlets in both print and online versions to find contact information for the reporters. When you add it to your Excel sheet make sure to put a tab for recent coverage or what beat is typically reported on.

Use social media

If you are having problems reaching a reporter through email, try branching out and use his or her social media platforms, like LinkedIn or Twitter.  However, make sure your pitch fits with what they cover and is well-written.


If you can’t find the reporter online, via LinkedIn or on the media’s website, pick up the phone and call the publication. This way you can find out the best method (phone, email, etc.) to reach the person you are looking for.


Media lists are always changing. Don’t forget to continue to check for new reporters or beats. Read industry news to be caught up with what is happening in your area. You can also subscribe to free media updates to help with this.

Set up alerts

Set up a Google Alert for your company, industry or competitors. You can add in the names of reporters you are following or outlets as well.

After following these tips you will gain the skills to create your own personal media list. As you can see, creating and maintaining media lists can be a very extensive and time-consuming process. If it is not core to your business, then consider the services of PRBrandBuilder (PRBB). PRBB provides public relations resources for organizations that are looking to increase their reach, but do not have the need or resources for a full-service PR firm. PRBrandBuilder connects clients’ directly with reporters; our customers are able to significantly increase their visibility. For more information check out all the services PRBB has to offer at

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