7 Fundamental steps to build an effective list of press representatives

As reported by Mailchimp – one of the most famous marketing platforms used throughout the world – the average open rate of e-mails is around 21,33%. 

You might be wondering: how is this number relevant to our topic? 

Believe it or not, the average open rate of the e-mails you will start sending to your list of press representatives will constitute one of the main indicators of how good you were at building that list

Again, as mentioned in our previous article 5 reasons why designers should consider Digital PR, when carrying out Digital PR activities you should always pick quality over quantity

Keeping this rule in mind, and following the steps we are about to disclose in this article, the e-mails you will send – consisting in press releases and, more in general, information about you and your products – to your media list might end up having a much higher open rate, resulting in great media coverage for your brand. 

Success is just around the corner, sit tight, and read carefully!

As a matter of fact, having an effective media list constitutes an important step in gaining excellent press results.

Press Representatives - media list
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If you are having trouble picturing a media list, don’t panic: a media list is just a file (for example Excel) where you record the most relevant contact information of the media professionals who might be interested in your brand. This includes at least: name, surname, blog name, or online magazine the person write for, e-mail.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, huh?!? 

However, don’t get it wrong: in order for you to create THE perfect media list, you will first need to focus on building relationships with bloggers and influencers

Now, if you are not a sociopath who has led a solitary existence until yesterday this should not be that hard as it requires the same qualities of empathy, proactively, and pleasantness necessary to build relationships with anyone.

What follows is just a list of steps we highly suggest you to follow in order to make sure you are not wasting your time in building a useless media list.

1 – Know your potential customers

Wait… what? 
Just like everything else you are doing to promote your brand, you should always keep in mind who your final target is: your potential customers. 

If you really want your Digital PR campaign to bring great results and be useful to your brand, you should start with a question: who do I want my story to be read by?

Reflecting on your “buyer persona” will prove to be extremely relevant, after all, it is just a matter of being focus on the objective: do not see this as a waste of time (here lies error #1).

Press Representatives - analyze your sales
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So, think about details like the country of origin: if you have been selling 60% of your products to people from Sweden and only 10% to Australians, you might want to start looking at popular Swedish magazines. And again, if you produce products with a strong male character maybe you should not waste time contacting bloggers mainly read by women. 

Analyze your sales data and make use of your critical sense: there are hundreds of ways your potential customers might come across your brand online. 

2 – Look at your competitors

If you are a bit lost on where to start, a good starting point could be googling your competitors or brands and designers you really admire.

Press Representatives - google competitors
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This way, you will gain an idea of the most authoritative online magazines and the types of articles they have recently published about similar brands. 

However, reviewing the coverage your competitors were able to gain is just a starting point or something you do if you want to keep a list you already have up-to-date. Sorry, you’re not done yet! 

3 – Define your target writers

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. 

To be clear: this is probably going to be the most time-consuming step. Don’t say we didn’t tell you!

As a matter of fact, it is not “only” about defining which bloggers or journalists might be interested in writing about you and your brand. At the same time, make sure you don’t forget to find the right fit with the writers you would find interesting and useful sharing your story with. Always have the objective clear!

Press Representatives - get to know bloggers
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First of all, you should really take the time to read their articles, not just going through titles: getting to know exactly which topics they are interested in will help you slimming down your media list to the core as well as giving you a lot of insights that will become useful when you will have to contact them for the first time. 

It could be wise to add some columns to your media list so that you can save links to their last 2 or 3 more relevant articles and make a note of their interests and writing styles. You will thank us later!

Also, if you really want your Digital PR campaigns to be successful you should be creative in finding new angles you had not considered at first to present your brand. When going through the online magazines you have found to be relevant, look for inspirations as well. 

4 – Collect e-mail addresses  

This is something most people forget to tell you: e-mail addresses don’t grow on trees!
Once you have found a writer you really think it would be relevant to contact, having his or her e-mail address is not always so immediate, and a media list without e-mail addresses is just useless (duh!).

Press Representatives - reach out to writers
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Sometimes, bigger online magazines have a general editorial staff e-mail address you could contact in order to ask for a specific journalist. 

Otherwise, social media might come to hand: LinkedIn is probably the best one to use in this case! Ask them to connect and get his or her e-mail address. 

5 – Build a relationship

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the quality of a media list is not just measured in terms of relevant contacts you were able to add to this list. Building a relationship with the writers you were able to identify is key to a successful Digital PR campaign as it will increase the chances they will want to publish (beautiful) articles about your brand. 

As for all relationships, it is important not to burn it straight away. Try not to dive straight at what you want from them, but to nurture a relationship so that you gradually build up engagement over time.

Press Representatives - build relationships with bloogers
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At this point, if you have followed our previous tips it should not be that difficult to find a way to start a conversation with bloggers and journalists. However, here is a list of 3 tips: 

  1. Mention one of their last articles or posts 
    Prove you know who you are writing to, this way they will be sure you are contacting them for a reason and you will raise their interest. 
  1. E-mail them with compliments 
    Hey, we are all humans after all. A good dose of compliments never hurts. It goes without saying, you should compliment them for their articles or you could say the writing style of their blog is particularly inspiring for you. 
  1. Share relevant content 
    Based on their latest articles or the main topic discussed in their blog, you could contact them mentioning something you think could be relevant for them.

6 – Unload the bomb

Once you have established a conversation with them, you should start giving them more information about your brand and your story

At this point, the chances they will actually read the press kit you are sharing are higher because you were able to create a connection and to generate some genuine interest. 

The first articles should now start to appear online… but this doesn’t mean you are done. 

7 – Repeat

Did you really think you were done? 

Wrong! You are never done. 

A media list needs maintenance and you should never stop looking for new press representatives or making sure your e-mail addresses are actually up-to-date.

Press Representatives - media list need maintenance
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Maintaining your media list is just as important as building it from scratch. 

Also, never stop nurturing relationships with journalists and bloggers. It might surprise you how you could benefit from it. 

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