Thursday, April 15, 2010

How Good is Your Media List?

How did you compile your media list? Do you know who's on it and why they're on it? Is everyone on your list likely to be interested in your news or in a position to give you publicity? While we often want to share our news with as many media outlets as possible, we also want to share it with the right people. When we extend our reach too far, we waste time and money and dilute our publicity efforts.

Case in point: A UPS package I received this week. The box was sent to "Frances Cerra Whittelsey, Small Busi Freelancer" at my address (sorry, Frances). I'm a freelance writer who writes frequently on small business topics, but I'm not Frances. The box included an invitation to a mail order clothing retailer's fall/winter collection preview in New York City and a small gift from the catalog. (Thank you, Retailer I Will Not Embarrass By Naming, for the luggage tag.)

I got the impression from the 3x5 card with 4-point type that small business writers are invited to the event with the expectation that they will write about how businesses can order custom garments embroidered with the company logo from this new collection. It's a stretch, but I appreciate the logic.

But why would they invite a freelance writer who lives seven hours by car from Manhattan to a press event there? Because, as I learned during the many years I lived in the Midwest, lots of people outside New York State don't realize there's this whole big state north of New York City. It makes me wonder: Do publicists who live outside California invite everyone with a California ZIP code to a press event in Los Angeles or San Francisco, in spite of the size of that state? If you're doing an event in Dallas, do you invite journalists from Houston?

In any case, publicists, please note: N.Y. does not equal New York City. Reduce your UPS budget by checking a map or ask your media list provider to do it for you. Remember: It's not always about the quantity of your list -- it's about the quality, too.

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