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How to Build a Public Relations Media List

While in an ideal world, the press comes to you, in practice, it tends to require exerted effort on your behalf as a public relations specialist. Sure, you might get lucky from time to time if your news announcement becomes viral, however, for the majority of publicity, you’re going to have to seek it out.

how to build a media list for public relations

In other words, instead of journalists, reporters, and publications arriving at your doorstep, you’re going to have to arrive at theirs (literally and figuratively speaking).

Like anything, having a streamlined process to help with execution is essential to your success, especially when it comes to garnering substantial attention via press and publicity.

As you can likely guess from the title of this chapter, it all begins with building a targeted media list!

With that said, in this chapter, we’ll uncover what’s required of building a targeted media list. Further, we’ll explore its importance and how you can begin to build one of your own. But first, how about a simple definition?

What is a Targeted Media List?

A targeted media list in the context of public relations as it pertains to the consumer electronics industry or otherwise, is a list of valued and relevant journalists, reporters, publications, influencers, bloggers, and any other notable media personnel you might deem important.

The targeted portion of the definition, as you can likely presume, implies both the location and industry of the contact. While it’s certainly appropriate to have broader contacts on your list, international or otherwise, it’s important to ensure that they are, at the very least, relevant to your business.

The primary intention of building a targeted media list is to have at your fingertips a relevant list of people who might be interested in covering your company’s news story.

Finally, as far as adding a contact to your targeted media list, it’s ultimately up to you how you’d like to organize it. With that said, you might want to consider inputting the following:

• Contact Name (ex. John Doe)

• Media Outlet of Belonging (ex. The NY Times)

• Role (ex. Blogger, Journalist, Reporter)

• Location (ex. Newark, New Jersey)

• Their Contact Info (i.e. Phone #, Email, etc.)

• Their Topics of Interest (ex. Consumer Electronics, Mobile Tech, etc.)

• Professional Social Media Links (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)

While we’ll go into more detail regarding how to build a targeted media list, these are the basics of inputting each contact’s information.

Building a Targeted Media List

Once you’ve identified your target market and where you hope to have your news content publicized, it’s now time to build your targeted media list by identifying key media contacts in your niche.

How do you do it?

Below is a summarized step-by-step guide on how to build a targeted media list as a PR professional, whether for a consumer electronics business or otherwise:

Define your Target Audience

To identify which media contacts are most relevant and which media outlets are most appropriate, you must first define your target audience and understand where they reside when consuming content.

By gaining this type of information, you’ll be better equipped with targeting the right media personnel, whether journalists, reporters, social media influencers, or otherwise.

Determine Which Information You’ll Include for Each Contact

Once you’ve defined your audience and determined the relevancy of media personnel to target, it’s now time to begin curating the physical (digital) list. It’s not as simple, however, as tossing a few names on a notepad and being done with it.

Instead, it’s important to create a streamlined and readable list comprising specific information that will help you find a specific contact with ease. What information might you choose to include? As mentioned earlier, name, media outlet, role, the topic of interest, location, social links, and contact info is a good place to start.

Decide Where You’ll Store the Media List

Okay, so you’ve begun to curate the list, but on what software in what location? Have you used a comprehensive excel spreadsheet or a basic word document? Have you saved it in a standard file or are you using sophisticated PR CRM software?

These are the types of questions that need to be asked when deciding where to store the media list for the greatest convenience and security. Whatever you decide to do, make sure the list is easily exportable, quickly accessed, and visually attractive for media pitches.

Research Relevant Contacts and Add Them to the List!

Now all that’s left to do is research relevant media contacts and begin adding them to the list! Whether manual, through platforms that aid in garnering a wider search result, or through a PR agency that boasts a comprehensive database of contacts, it’s ultimately your choice.

Update Your Media List Frequently

Okay, so you’ve done the necessary research, you’ve defined your target audience, and you’ve added the most relevant contacts to your targeted media list. Job finished, right?!


A targeted media list, if done correctly, requires frequent updates, if only just adding a new contact that’s been discovered.

Nevertheless, if you do all the things discussed throughout this chapter, you’ll be well on your way to building an effective and efficient targeted media list of your own; building it is easy… the hard part begins when the interaction with the contact begins!

Foster PR is a public relations agency based in Reno, Nevada

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