“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” -Daniel J. Boorstin
Hey Readers, this past week I created a media database at my internship. Let me say this was not an easy task and took hours to do. My boss already had some media contacts for all of his press releases but I had the challenge of sorting them and expanding his list to create this database to help my overall project for the summer: help my boss increase his media presence.
At first I got frustrated trying to find all of the contact information for all radio and news outlets in Ireland, yes I mean all. It took hours of research to get the names of all media outlets then finding who to contact within that specific newspa
per or radio station itself. When working with the media, establishing some sort of relationship with reporters and editors is key. Your contact info should always be on the press release and your press release should make them want to give you a call to find out more information for their article. I’m not saying have a poorly done press release with no information on it, but the basic 5 W’s: who, what, when, where and why? It’s also helpful to tailor your press release to the different media outlets. My boss is a TD for one county, so why should any other county’s newspaper or radio station talk about what he’s doing? Because in some way, some how it’s relative. Like your resume and cover letter, tweak the press release to fit the news in other area’s like you would to different companies. You wouldn’t send the same version cover letter to a boutique fashion PR firm as you would to a fortune 500 company, you should make yourself fit to the company itself; not the other way around.
My advice when creating a media database: look at all sources and dissect which ones are credible and which ones aren’t. As a journalist you should know how to determine what a credible source is and isn’t. Then organize your findings using Word, Excel, InDesign, anything that helps you in creating this database. Lastly, once everything is organized (I created a table in word) break the outlets apart and group them into sectors. I chose local, national, and other counties. I also had a section that included all press contacts.
Now you are going to have some basic contact info, this is normal if you are using Google but don’t let that deter you. Call the newspaper or radio station saying you just sent in a press release and ask if they can have a quick look at it. Remember all press materials should be sent in a timely matter. In doing this you have the opportunity to network and create relationships within the media and if you have a friend at a newspaper, send it over to them directly with an email but don’t abuse this relationship either.
To clarify, there are a million ways to do things in journalism, especially PR. Certain things will always remain the same, like the inverted pyramid but it’s about tailoring that basic concept/idea/task to your or whoever you are working for’s goal. When it comes to figuring out how to put together a media databases, they are many ways to do it. When you get frustrated step away from the computer, have a cup of coffee and breathe. The media may induce headaches from time to time but you can’t live with or without it, that’s just the way things go.
I’ve got my favorite nude 4 inch heels on today to match my all black outfit and leopard print scarf. I’m thinking today will be a good day, but I always have high hopes, especially when I’m wearing my lucky heels.