Written by Betsy’s Bar None account team members, Grace Hashiguchi, Natalie Engler, Rachel Hanks, Jillian Niedermeyer and Sydney Padgett. 

In our rapidly changing digital world, the number and variety of media professionals continue to grow. For public relations professionals, this means navigating a seemingly infinite pool of reporters, journalists and media outlets. To facilitate this daunting task, CisionPoint – a public relations and earned media software owned by the parent company Cision – provides a comprehensive database of media professionals. With this database and its many tools for managing media lists and campaigns, marketing communications professionals can better identify and engage their audiences.

Introduction to CisionPoint

Perhaps the most effective element of the database is its breadth; whether it is a small vegan blog or the Washington Post, CisionPoint provides an expansive list of relevant media contacts. The CisionPoint database includes over 900,000 media members of 450,000 media outlets. This database empowers PR professionals to craft and distribute strategic content, enabling them to identify key influencers within their target audiences and ultimately land more impactful content for their clients. Given that this is a highly professional tool, students will find themselves with a head start in professional roles with an understanding of how to use it effectively.

It takes time to master this resource, but here is a quick overview for those who are just getting started. CisionPoint’s tools can be found in four primary categories:

  1. Connect: CisionPoint provides a number of ways to distribute content. These tools allow PR professionals to send releases over the wire and pitches via emails. This function also features various content marketing tools to help direct traffic to the blog or website.
  2. Monitor: To track media coverage, CisionPoint offers a tool that surveys media outlets for certain keywords. Setting up keyword alerts for clients and/or campaigns allows communications marketing professionals to monitor their clients’ online presence and how they’re being portrayed in the media.
  3. Analyze: CisionPoint also offers a number of reporting tools. These tools provide information and data on various campaigns and media hits to inform the development of new strategies.
  4. Plan: In order to craft comprehensive media lists for campaigns or clients, CisionPoint offers a comprehensive database that allows PR professionals to search for media outlets and members. This database often includes not only email addresses but phone numbers and an overview of each reporter’s specialties.

CisionPoint in Action

To spread the word about our client’s rebranding campaign, our AHPR team turned to the CisionPoint database to build a list of media outlets and contacts to pitch Betsy’s Bar None story to. Our goal was to identify the media outlets, journalists, and influencers who would be most likely to feature our story because it was relevant to their own readership, ultimately reaching the niche target audience of Betsy’s Bar None.

Our resident CisionPoint expert, Natalie, began her search under the Plan heading. She then selected a number of filters to narrow her search. Most importantly, she selected topics that were relevant to Betsy’s audience – veganism, vegetarianism, and nutrition.

The search delivered a long list of outlets. Natalie then began sorting through them, identifying the Unique Visitors per Month (UMV) number. This statistic provides a measure of how many people consistently visit the outlet and gives an idea of the scope of the site. Because Betsy’s Bar None is a smaller business, Natalie knew that we would be targeting outlets with lower UMVs. As she identified potential blogs, she saved all of the contact information provided by the database (including phone number, email, website and social media handles) and developed a working media list.

Then Natalie’s research went beyond the database. Although the database provides a great starting place for finding media platforms, it’s always best to look at the source directly as well.  If Natalie identified a potential outlet, she would go directly to the website (if it was online) and search for a relevant article to use for pitching and posted the link on her media list.

With this media list, we have the contact information of relevant health bloggers and nutrition magazines. As we continue our rebranding efforts with Betsy’s Bar None, we will utilize this list to build awareness about the campaign. Not only will we share Betsy’s exciting news to existing followers, but we will introduce relevant readerships to her product and story.

Clients of any size can benefit from targeted media list building. And the sooner aspiring PR professionals start taking advantage of this skill, the better!

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