4 tips for keeping up with your media contacts
In a world of 24-hour news cycles and content overload, keep your media list functioning like it should with our top 4 tips on staying up to date with the media!
We live in a world where the media landscape is perpetually changing. The advent of social media and the rise of the 24-hour news cycle means that attention spans are short, media is ubiquitous and anyone with a Twitter account can announce themselves as a journalist. As the world transitions from print to online, the media enters a stage defined by its temporality. Complacency must be a thing of the past, journalists are often multidisciplinary and new media outlets are popping up quicker than Usain runs the 100m.
If a media strategy is only as good at the contacts it connects with, then it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. Don’t wait for campaigns, press releases or pitches to reach out with the media, keep your communication constant and your relationships strong. Fail to do this and you might find that all your contacts have moved onto new projects; your fashion writers are now covering sport, your editor friend has switched publications and your favourite freelancer has swapped feature articles for memes.
Not sure how to make sure you stay in the loop with your media contacts? We’ve got you covered with 4 sure-fire tips to keep your media relationships on point!
START WITH A GOOD BASE
The first and most crucial step to keeping up with your media contacts is to start with a good base. Having an address book on your email is simply not going to work with a fluid media landscape. Save yourself serious time and energy in the long run by constructing a comprehensive working doc of all your contacts. Along with names and contact details, be sure to include places of work, positions held, modus operandi and some sort of correspondence detailing. This will help you establish which contacts you’ve had success with and which seemingly don’t know you exist.
Once you have a good base to work from, you’ll be able to stage regular clean outs. If you’re getting ignored by particular contacts, consider pressing “delete” or investigating them a little more. Are their details correct and if so, are they really the best person to be contacted in a given situation? You may find that their interests are no longer aligned with yours, you’re sending them the wrong content or your way of approaching them is all wrong.
(If you’re not sure how to get started you can find detailed info on getting your media list going here.)
Remember the old days where you’d tune your childhood walkie-talkies to random channels to eavesdrop random conversations and feel like a true spy kid? Imagine if you could tune into a media channel, where you could stay up to date with the latest hirings, firings, promotions and demotions!!! Sadly, no such thing exists, and even if it did – there is simply too much media movement to report on.
The best way of keeping yourself in the loop is to stay social. Apart from high profile staff movements (think Lisa Wilkinson!), it’s pretty rare for publications to publish press releases about their writers and journalists and unless you have personal relationships with your contacts it’s unlikely you’ll hear anything from them either. Give yourself the best chance of staying up to date by giving your favourite reporters a follow on their social media accounts. As journalists often use social media to raise their own profile, you’ll be able see posts announcing job movements and freelance projects as well as their latest published works.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from online editors, it’s that they’re beyond over mass emails filling up their inbox with content that is completely irrelevant to their interests and writing profile. If you’ve sorted a top-notch media content, chances are you’ve kept notes on what journalists like to write about and thus know who to contact for each story. However, BE WARNED… the new media landscape means journalists and publications are constantly evolving. By the time your next campaign cycle rolls around, your contacts may be interested in something completely different, or there might be a new kid on the block who has the perfect audience for your story.
Because of this, it’s important to read whenever possible. If you’re following journos on Twitter, stay across their latest pieces. Keep track of what they like to write about and make sure to update your media list accordingly. Be sure to read the articles getting published by key media outlets and take note of the people who cover topics relevant to you. It’s also a good idea to set Google Alerts for specific industry keywords, this will give you notifications of relevant stories and you can add their makers into your media list.
DON’T BE A STRANGER
If you’re serious about keeping your media contacts in check, it’s important to keep the dialogue rolling and the communication channels open. Don’t wait for campaign cycles to get in touch, by this time your contact list might be well out of date. We’d recommend touching base with key contacts at least once a month. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a formal reach-out for a media release, pitch or event invitation, but can be as simple as a “retweet” or Facebook comment. Why not shoot them an email to let them know you loved their latest article, or ask if they have any upcoming stories you can help them out with? These are great ways of building relationships and ensuring your contact details are spot on!
Now you know how to keep yourself firmly in the media loop, why not strengthen those ties by forming the perfect relationship with that editor by staying in-the-know with what the media like to write about!
Images: Lack of Color, Marianne Taylor, Beatriz Pérez Moya & Paul Fuentes.