Coach Communication: Building an Effective Media List
More and more journalists are looking to Life and Career Coaches for expert advice on topics including work-life balance, mindfulness, leadership and the job search. Offering journalists expertise on subjects they cover can help you build your business through positive exposure and demonstrated credibility.
The first step to establishing yourself as a source for the media is to introduce yourself to the right journalists. By doing a little bit of research and building a contact list of relevant media, you will be well on your way to building successful relationships.
Know Your Audience
This may seem counterintuitive, but members of the media are not your audience. They are a conduit to your audience. Your real audience is made up of your current and potential client base, and potentially others. When assessing how to communicate to them through the press, remember that quality outweighs quantity in media relations.
Asking yourself a few key questions can help you identify the right media to reach your ultimate audience.
- What kind of coaching service do I want to communicate about?
- What industry am I targeting?
- What geographic location am I focusing on?
- What types of publications do my target clients read? (This can be lifestyle, trade, business, etc.)
- What medium do I feel would be the best way to communicate my services and expertise? (This can include print, online, podcasts, blogs, etc.)
- What demographic elements am I targeting? (This can include gender, age, C-level executives, etc.)
- What kind of information do I want to share? Are client case studies something I want to provide?
Do Your Research
Once you have answered these questions, you have direction to start your research. The first thing you can do is conduct an online search for publications that are consistent with your targeting. You can then narrow your search based on the industry, type of media and their target audience.
Consider the information you want to share and start your search for the first five targeted media you’ve identified. Browse the different sections listed on the outlet’s webpage and review the kinds of articles covered. For example, does the lifestyle publication’s online version have a section on professional development or work-life balance? Maintain a list of the media outlets that seem relevant to your audiences and organize your information for easy reference.
Develop Your Contacts
Once you’ve identified the media outlets you want to target, you will need to find the right journalists to reach out to. This part can be challenging, since some publications don’t list their editorial contacts online. However, keyword searches can often reveal which journalists are covering subject matter relevant to you. You can also make calls to a media outlet’s main desk to inquire about the best person to contact. Additionally, many publications and news outlets have a list of staff members on their Twitter pages.
It is helpful to keep in mind that there are many different reporters for each media outlet, and they are usually assigned different focus areas (called beats). For example, if you’re looking to talk about coaching for businesses, the title you should be looking for is “business reporter.”
Once you’ve identified the right contact, add it to your list, including the name of the outlet, the reporter’s first and last name, focus area, email, phone number, location and website. Be sure to title your media list for easy reference. If you’re targeting different types of media, it’s also helpful to separate the various groups into sections separated by headers, or by creating separate tabs in your spreadsheet.
If you want to continue reaching out to media, it’s important to keep your media list updated. Treat it as a living document and review it every few months to ensure all your contact information is up to date and the media outlets are still active. Identify top media and sign up for newsletters to stay alert for changes in activity, content or staff. Reporters are always on the go, so keeping your list up to date will help you manage new contacts, rather than having to start from scratch if you leave it untouched.
The better your media list, the higher your success rate for coaching exposure. Journalists are consistently looking for expert sources to serve their stories and provide great insight to their audiences. You won’t always be successful in reaching your contacts, but when you are, you’ll have a chance to increase your credibility through exposure and build your client base.