How To Start Your In-House Press List

From Scott A. Shuford, our Founder & CEO….

I didn’t know how to write a press release or who to send it to when I started the company that is now FrontGate in 2018, so here’s what I did.

I found a press release like the announcement I wanted to write and changed their info to my info. I reworded the release to fit our brand and voice.

I researched the 10-15 media outlets I wanted to target and read the content they reported on so I could determine who wrote the articles or news columns for my industry. I made a list of those writers, their editors, and publishers. I also called the publications to find out who reported on my topics. There’s no magic number in the 10-15, it’s just what fit my needs. You don’t need thousands of media contacts to start your list.

I reached out to 5 of the key outlets geographically close to me and offered to take the writers to a nice lunch, individually. I used that time to get to know their process and how they worked so I could learn about how PR worked. I didn’t pitch me or my company for coverage. I asked a few questions and let them talk.   I only wanted to understand their needs and interests, to get to know them personally.

Did it work? Absolutely.

I embraced my learning curve, and in return, I received a great foundation of understanding about PR. As those relationships developed over time, we received coverage at a much higher level than competitors who were bigger and had been at it longer.

I also figured out that while my new, little agency was probably not of much interest to the media community, my clients were of great interest, so we reversed the priority of our news from “FrontGate did this thing” to “Client #1 did this thing” and ended the release with “and by the way, FrontGate did that.” An example of the types of releases we did was the headline “O.C. Supertones Launch Digital Arena” and when you read the release, you saw the FrontGate “About” paragraph at the end.

I continued to add more media contacts and eventually added a list of our key current and past clients so they would receive our news releases as well. It kept the media informed and our clients connected with the highest-profile things we were doing.

FrontGate PRUsing that model, we attracted more coverage while highlighting our clients. So much so that we started getting PR Services requests from current clients and not-yet-clients. After a year or so of saying “Wow, thank you! We don’t actually provide PR services. You are just seeing our own PR,” I started FrontGate’s PR Division.

To learn more about how Christian PR can help your business or ministry, reach out to our team here!