Building a Press List

So, we’ve covered the dos and don’ts of press releases in our two previous posts. Now that you know how to write a press release, you’ve got to know who to send it to. You could scramble for a bunch of local media contacts in the days before your event or product launch. Or you could have all that information stored nice and neat in a spreadsheet and in the contacts on your email client.

Compiling your first list will require an investment of time and patience upfront, but will payoff when you’ve got to send your press release to multiple outlets quickly, and the right contacts are there at the click of a mouse.

Break out Excel; you’ve got a spreadsheet to make.

Who goes on your press list?

If you’re a small business and organization, I recommend you keep several types of lists. They include:

• Media

— Newspapers (local, regional and state)
— Blogs and aggregators
— Broadcast — TV and radio (Learn who your local TV affiliates are — those who carry network programs such as NBC, CBS, ABC, CW and FOX — and find out if they have a local newscast.)

• Trade publications

— Industry-specific regional, national or international trade magazines and newsletters

• Chambers and business organizations

— Local, state and regional chambers of commerce
— Local business development associations
— If applicable, other non-profits and anyone else who distributes community news, such as local access cable stations

What to include:

Your spreadsheet should include names, direct phone numbers and extensions as well as email addresses.

Many news outlets have a general email address for you to submit your news to. Others have an online form. These methods are often convenient for both your organization and the media outlet. But it also makes it easier your information to get lost in the daily deluge of information media outlets deal with.

There’s a workaround, but it’ll take some time and effort on your part: Getting specific.

If you’re a business, know who the business editors are at your local news outlets; if you’re a theater or gallery, know who the A&E editor is.

Also, get a list of reporters and their beats. Let’s say your TV station covers the communities of Bedrock, Springfield and South Park. If your business is based in Springfield, you’ll want to make sure your press release gets to the Springfield reporter directly from you, in addition to being sent to the business editor.

If you’re sending to business development associations or chambers of commerce, make sure you keep up-to-date with whoever is in charge of marketing.


Your contact list should be updated once a year. Call the paper, TV station, chamber, etc. directly and make sure your information is current. Fair warning — this project is often time consuming, but is great if you have an intern.

A couple of things to remember:

• When you write, write to capture as broad an audience as possible.

• Don’t ever assume that local media won’t want to run your press release. If you’re a local business, you’re part of the fabric of the community. Well-written press releases about local businesses are more welcome than not.

In other words: When in doubt, send it out.

Youtube’s and My Dad’s Birthday

Business Insider let me know this morning that it was Youtube’s 8th birthday. It also happens to be my dad’s birthday. No one had to tell me that, in part because it’s three days before mine and only a few days after my sister’s. (Yes, my mom made three separate birthday cakes and had three separate parties. She’s a trooper!)

My dad passed away five years ago in November. So he didn’t get to see Youtube in all it’s glory.. but he did get to see some of it.

My dad hated computers. He was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century by my mom and brother-in-law and implemented a computer inventory system finally at the hardware store my family owns. My mom did all his email for him at their shared email address. I can almost hear him say ‘Tell Nicole…’ as I read through some of my mom’s old emails.

What he did enjoy about computers was a specific part of the internet (I heard from my brother-in-law so if I’m wrong, Justin, let me know!) was his my MSNBC homepage.

Now these pages no longer exist but the idea was you logged in and in a dashboard format, it showed you articles you might like, videos, links to partner websites etc.

Lots of websites do this now. Really these were the precursor to the personalized news we have come to expect on social networks.

My dad liked checking it before and after lunch… because it changed during the day.

I smile when I think of this. I have 600 new unread articles in my RSS feed reader just from since 9 am this morning. My Facebook and Twitter feeds update every second.

My dad knew the internet at a simpler time. I did too when Breaking Even was first getting started.

So today, I appreciate that all this access to information is still novel, videos can still be funny, and wonder at how it all can refresh if I just wait a bit.

Fun Friday: Memes

If you’ve been on the internet for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced a meme. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on!

What is a meme? 

1) An element of a culture or behavior that may be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, esp. imitation.
2) An image, video, etc. that is passed electronically from one Internet user to another.

Basically it is when something is taken in reused in other ways.

What are some examples of memes I might be familiar with?

An example of a popular internet meme is ‘Grumpy Cat’. She (thanks to Sarah A. for the gender correction!) is an annoyed looking cat who says grumpy things:

You wouldn't see all these images at once, you'd probably see them one at a time... but this just gives you the idea that one image can be remixed for multiple meanings.

You wouldn’t see all these images at once, you’d probably see them one at a time… but this just gives you the idea that one image can be remixed for multiple meanings.

Some memes are like Grumpy Cat: the same image with different text written on top. Other ones  like this include ‘overly attached girlfriend’ and ‘success kid’. People come up with their own fun captions using similar fonts and become part of a larger creative effort.

Sometimes, instead of the same image being used, it’s similar text being used with different images. A good example of this is ‘Call Me Maybe’. (Note we did a marketing series related to this this summer:

The refrain 'Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me maybe.' is slightly changed and reworked with multiple images and ideas.

The refrain from the pop song ‘Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe.’ is slightly changed and reworked with multiple images and ideas.

As you can see, memes can be simple or complex. And once you are on the lookout, you’ll start noticing them everywhere.

No matter what, a meme is kind of like being a part of an internet joke, whether you make one of your own or share one that someone else created.

Are memes just limited to images?

No, people also have fun creating animated gifs and videos related to a meme. Here’s some videos that are inspired copies of Gangnam Style:

Gangnam Style inspired videos, which likely have similar crazy dance moves.

Gangnam Style inspired videos, which likely have similar crazy dance moves.

 I think I found a meme but I’m not sure. How can I find out?

Go to and type in a key word. For example, I typed in ‘baby’ and found Success Kid, since I forgot what that one was called.

Memes are a fun part of the internet. And now you know how to spot them!

Which one is your favorite?