Target your media outreach!

When I read articles and blog posts that talk about the importance of targeting your media outreach, I often find myself wondering about PR people that don’t identify which news outlets, which journalists and which bloggers they hope to connect with. What’s the point in sending a news release out to a bunch of people that at best are just going to put it in the trash and at worst, are going to ignore your emails in the future?

When I was at Maclean’s, I saw a great deal of “junk” come in from PR people. In fact, I once had a tire (yes, a full sized, real tire) delivered to me from a company that wanted me to cover their new winter tire sale. First of all, I was an entertainment reporter and not only was this not newsworthy, it had nothing to do with what I covered. Additionally, Maclean’s would never cover this kind of story and finally, what good was this tire to anyone? In my opinion, it was a waste of time, effort and it was not environmentally friendly. I wonder how many tires they delivered that day…

Our AHA blog is listed in Cision as an editorial product. (Cision is the largest and best media database out there – and the database that AHA subscribes to.) While that’s a nice little accolade to have, the downside to being listed in Cision is that we get all kinds of media pitches and news releases from people who have no idea that we are a PR firm, who don’t read this blog and who are clearly just spamming everyone on some database they have built.

We take our role as media relations specialists seriously. I never want to send something to a journalist or a blogger that is useless. And it really bothers me that people are sending out irrelevant news releases to the media. No wonder journalists and bloggers are cranky with PR people. When I see the useless stuff that comes to us, it makes me cranky. On top of that, I would bet that some of these same people are saying to their boss or client: “We have a database of 10,000 journalists and bloggers that we will share this news with.” That number means nothing if the news isn’t a) newsworthy and b) relevant to that journalist or blogger. It’s better to have three people on your database that might be interested in your story than 5,000 who see you as a spammer.

This isn’t rocket science; it’s common sense. Think about the media you are reaching out to and why this news will be relevant to them and their readers or audience. Take some time and do it right. You will generate more coverage and you will stop giving good PR people who actually put some thought into media relations a bad name!

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