Is Your Media List for Sale?

Hands writing grocery listNothing irks me quite like receiving SPAM touting the fact that the e-mail sender has media lists for sale. Now, I’m not talking about companies like CISION and Vocus, which are tried and true media databases. What I’m referring to are these “companies” that are selling already-formulated media lists. Let’s see, you can buy a family/parenting list – or, how about a technology list?

Let me just say this: You can buy a media list but the relationships aren’t for sale.

Supposedly, these media lists are for people that can’t afford a publicist. I understand a publicist can be pricey, but you are paying for more than their media lists. You are paying for their knowledge, guidance, relationships, creativity, strategic planning – things that a pre-made media list lacks. Just because you purchase a media list, doesn’t mean that you’ll magically get publicity from it.

Granted, I might be especially cranky since I have a newborn baby at home and sleep is nothing but a distant memory (more on that topic in another post) – but I hate seeing people getting ripped off.

If a large PR agency isn’t in the budget, what about hiring a freelancer? There are also boutique PR firms that might be more willing to work within your target price range. If you are just looking for help with social media, there are a ton of knowledgeable bloggers (just ask me for a list) out there that you can hire as consultants.

Now before you start hitting me with case studies of how business did their own PR and got on Oprah– I know that happens. I think that’s awesome, actually!  My point is that they should tread carefully. Be wary of purchasing a point-and-shoot media list. Don’t expect that it will be up-to-date, don’t expect the people on the list will actually cover what you are pitching, and don’t expect that it will land you on the cover of Rolling Stone.

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  • What irks me is when a client buys those lists and does their own PR…

  • Becki C.

    I remember a somewhat prominent music publicist putting her list, including personal email addresses and cell phone numbers of freelance writers, up for sale for something like $25. Indie bands jumped all over it, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help anyone, and it definitely angered the writers when they found out.

  • Well, Jess, this post reminds me that effective PR is derived from the acumen to write, post or share relevant content and diligent effort at relationship building, not from a list.