Make a Connection Via Media Contact Lists

Message delivery is an essential part of any public relations or publicity program. After all, what is the point of crafting messages and drafting press releases if they do not reach the intended audience? To help ensure a message successfully connects with the intended audience, one must begin by developing a specifically tailored media contact list. This is not as daunting a task as many believe it to be, particularly when you first understand the purpose of your media list and the audience you want to reach.

Determine the Purpose of Your Media List.

The purpose of your media list will determine the type of media you use, as well as the writer, reporter, or editor you contact. The following examples will help give you an understanding of how these tie together. For announcements about special events, target calendar or events editors at local newspapers and regional magazines read by your target audience (age, gender, etc). Local bloggers are glad to post your information as it drives more traffic to their sites.  A feature story about a newsworthy event or person should be sent to features or lifestyle editors at newspapers and magazines and producers at radio and TV outlets. Your media lists should encompass:

  • General list of reporters, editors, columnists, and photo editors and who cover recreation, leisure, entertainment or travel in your region.
  • Regional and national bloggers, photographers, and researchers specific to your business or topic
  • General list of assignment desk editors at local television news stations
  • General list of producers or hosts of drive time (7-9 a.m. or 4-6 p.m.) radio programs

Finding Media Outlets and Reporters/Editors

With the Internet, there are an infinite number or resources available to help you put together a media list.  Here are some suggestions to help you get started, based on your comfort level and technology astuteness:

  • Search Engines. The Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo can be used to search for “newspapers in the Harrisburg, PA area.” In fact, some search engines allow you to browse newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television networks, and other news sources by subject, type, or region.
  • Another method, which is probably easiest, but also comes with a fee, is to utilize an online media service to develop a database for you. These services often can be searched by region, type and the information you desire (e-mail address, phone number, etc). You may also have the option to request a profile of the outlet. These media services can also be found by using a search engine and entering “media list development” or a related phrase. Two examples are: and

Ensure the Media Outlet Fits Your Target Market.

Research the media outlets to determine their audience demographic. This information can be obtained by going to their Web site. Generally, newspapers and magazines have a link to a page about advertising. On this page you should be able to find either a profile of the publication or a rate card that should provide key demographic data about the audience. Remember—you cannot be all things to all people—you must tailor your message to a specific market (defined by geographic location, age, income, marital status, etc).


Keep It Up-to-Date.

Once, again, it’s all about making a connection. In the fast-paced world we live in, change is inevitable and constant.  Media lists need to be updated regularly, at least once per year, to ensure the beat reporter is still the same and the contact information has not changed. Independent bloggers have become an invaluable outlet to communicate news, so do your homework and search online to identify those bloggers who are writing about your subject.