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Are We Confusing Press Release Distribution Lists with Media Pitch Lists?

This video is part of the #PRprochat video series, where we explore one question from the most recent #PRprochat Twitter chat, and dive into more detail. This week’s video is about whether we are mistakenly using press release distribution lists for pitching… Here we go!


Hey, it’s Carrie Morgan at Rock the Status Quo and we’re tackling one question today from this month’s Twitter chat. The hashtag for that is #PRProChat. It’s first Thursdays of every month at 3 o’clock Eastern Standard Time and I really hope you join us, because we have some absolutely incredible guests and of course, yours truly is on it, too. So we’d love to see you there and chat with you.

So, this week’s question is ‘Are we confusing press release distribution lists with pitching lists?’

And I think we are, absolutely. I think PR pros, especially if they have less experience, they’re an intern, they’re a newbie, whatever, tend to build one media list and use it for everything, and frankly that does not work anymore. I don’t know if it ever did, it’s something that before public relations was quite as sophisticated as it is today it was something easy to do, but really today, our journalists deserve us doing them the right way, following the best practices, and that isn’t building one massive list and shotgunning every press release, every pitch out to that massive list.

That’s terrible, that’s bad for your reputation.

So, really building a list for a press release is one thing and I urge you to do it on a customized level where you’re building it before that press release goes out, for that specific press release, rather than just building one massive client media list. But it’s very tailored to the topic of that press release. When you’re pitching, I don’t even use a media list because it’s a customized, one-on-one pitching process. Sometimes I’ll look at that list and go through it and say ‘Okay, this story idea I have is X, Y, Z so let’s look for reporters and journalists on that list that might fit what I’d like to pitch’ and it’s a starting point, but it’s not something where I’m copying email addresses and sending a pitch out to.

Even if you’re not in PR as a profession, you’re maybe an entrepreneur that’s pitching for your own small business, or you’re a marketing communications professional with PR as a small slice of your job and you don’t have a lot of training in just the area of pitching – invest time learning best practices. If you’re pitching, don’t use your media list, or use it as a starting point – but identify one topic that you want to pitch, one reporter and one publication so you know that publication fits the topic and is relevant to their audience and that the specific reporter. You want to be sure that specific reporter at that specific publication covers that specific topic – all three things must line up.

I do think we are confusing the use of pitch lists with media distribution lists used to mass-blast a press release. So I hope that clarifies a little bit. We’ll cover another topic next week. Again, this is the weekly video series for #PRProChat, our Twitter chat that’s on first Thursdays at 3 PM Eastern time every month. Hope you can join us! 


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