About the Author

Who is Robyn
Robyn Braley is committed to helping Rotarians grow their clubs to become better equipped to help people who need help. He has led two club teams that were awarded RI PR Awards and served as the District 5360 PR Chair. He has been a Rotarian since 1999.

Rotary Speaker
Robyn draws from his experience as a Rotarian and as a Communications Professional to share ways to more effectively tell the Rotary story to your community. He starts by asking the questions, "Is your club ready to grow, and why does it matter?" The ultimate focus is on attracting new members.

He is available to speak at District Conferences and Rotary leadership training institutes. Content also applies to other not-for-profit organizations.

Free Content for #Rotary and NFP Use
Please use any posts for Rotary District or club Newsletters. Include the profile at the bottom of each article, Robyn's headshot and a link to this blogsite. Let him know and he'll promote it to his social media followers.

Contact him at robyn@unimarkcreative.com

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Tips for Building a Quality Media List for Your Service Club

Just a few of the stories we've placed
Written by Robyn T. Braley

There are different names for it. Pitching the story. Selling the story. Placing the story or getting media coverage!

Whatever you call it, your goal is to generate media coverage for your cause, event, notable speaker or any other story related to the work of serving your community.

Broaden Your Base
Examine your story from every perspective. O.K.! From every angle. You may discover a number of potential sidebar stories within the bigger story.

Why is this important? The process of creating your contact list will make you aware of a wider range of story potential. 

Your goal is to generate as much coverage as possible. Widening the pool will widen the coverage.

Ya gotta' have a strong hook! A Grabber!

Who Do You Include on Your List?

Good question. The short answer? Any media outlet or journalist who might tell your story.

o   Television – All news, local news and talk shows
o   Radio – Talk radio, all news, and hourly newscasts on various radio formats
o   Podcasts – Online radio broadcasters and topical series
o   Daily newspapers
o   Magazines – news, trade, lifestyle
o   Blogs – regularly published
o   Weekly newspapers and newsletters
o   Online newspapers – like Huffington Post

Putting it all Together

Developing a contact list takes time, effort and creative thinking. Ask the question, “Is this story relevant to the audience of the media you intend to pitch it to?” 

Be intentional as you read, listen or watch the news. Note the type of stories being covered and by whom.

Also note any political or social leanings. One media may be more open to your pitch if they have run similar stories in the past. Or, they may say they’ve already covered the topic. 
As you compile your list, use a program like Excel to organize email addresses, social media contact info, telephone numbers, job titles and snail mail addresses. Set it up so you can run mailing labels, group email addresses and have easy access to direct phone numbers for pitching and followup.

Media Directories

Search for media directories in your public library. If you have a library card, you will have access to online information. Due to connected data  banks, you may have access to contact information in cities across the country.

Some directories list all active media. Others may be narrowed to a particular type. 

A brief description is provided of media formats and audience size along with the names of editors, reporters, columnists, producers, and other editorial staff.

Some areas have a coordinating not-for-profit organization that acts as a facilitator by providing various services and supports to other agencies. They often compile an annual media directory that is available for a small fee.

Just so You Know

Media directories  can be purchased. They are a valuable tool for public relations agencies, communication firms and multi-national companies who place stories nationally and internationally. 

They have large staffs who place stories and track them every day. For most not-for-profits, buying a directory may be overkill.

On the downside, media directories can quickly become out-of-date due to changing media landscapes and personnel changes.

If your project merits the investment, hire a local media relations specialist to manage your campaign.

Media Websites

Most major media list their key contacts on their website. You can cut and paste email addresses, telephone numbers and social media information into your spread sheet.

Be Media Savvy

One of the best places to find contact information is in newspapers, magazines or blogs themselves. Note the stories, sections and the reporter who wrote stories about topics similar to yours. At the end of each story, you will find contact information.

Many  libraries have reading rooms with newpapers and magazines from around the world. You can expand your contact list throughout the region, the nation and perhaps the world.

Listen to TV, radio or relevant podcasts. Record the names of the hosts. Contact information is usually included at the end of each broadcast.


LinkedIn profile is a must have social media platform for professionals. Following protocols, you can quickly connect with highly segmented communities.

Most media are on LinkedIn and can be contacted through the system. At a minimum, you can learn about their interests and experience from their profile. 

As a communications specialist, I am connected to a large number of media professionals through my account.  

Other Social Media

Journalists are pitched stories everyday Twitter or Facebook.

Google Search

I have found direct business and media contact information using google. Type in the name, the media they are with, and contact information. Press enter and see what's there.

Cold Calling

What? Cold calling? Is that still around? 

Yes, Matilda. When all else fails, cold-call local media and ask for the assignment editor (TV), the city desk (newspaper), news director (radio) the editor (magazines, weekly newspapers), the publisher (blogsites) or the producer (talk radio, TV talk shows). Ask for contact information.

Leading Questions; What do You Think?

What experiences have you had generating media coverage for your service club or not-for-profit organization? I’d like to hear your opinions and ideas. Please comment below. I'll respond!

Robyn Braley is a marketing specialist, keynote speaker and writer. He is also a Rotarian who is passionate about Building the Rotary Brand. He has led two teams that received the Rotary International PR Award. He has also served as the PR Chair for District 5360. Robyn has placed hundreds of traditional and new media stories about Rotary and other organizations. 

Contact Robyn

Email: robyn@robyntbraley.com   Connect on LinkedIn Follow on Twitter: @rtbraley_rotary 

Relevant Posts in this Series - Read in Reverse Order - More to Come

Media is All About Stories and Rotary Has Them

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