PAII WEBINAR: How to Create Your Own Media List

This Wednesday (April 5th) at 2 pm eastern time we’ll be hosting a LIVE webinar on PAII on how to build a media list for your specific bed and breakfast. It’s the second of a three-part series on how innkeepers can manage their own public relations. I’d love for you to join us – the workshop is free for PAII members. Here’s a link to login at 2 pm et:

And here’s the schedule for the remainder of the 3-part series (come for one, two, or all three):

  • Apr 5: Now you’re ready to build your media list. We’ll talk about the different types of outlets, how to locate the right venue for your particular news item, how to identify the right reporter, how to track down emails and phones, and how to get organized for your press pitch. Log in here:
  • May 10: With your ducks in a row we’re ready to talk about how to approach the media — email, phone, and social media techniques — to get you noticed and not inadvertently block your way.

If you missed the first part of the series (how to write a press release for your B&B) last month, you can catch it here for free (if you're a PAII member):

And here are three tips (a sneak peek!) on how to build your own media list. We'll be going over this with LIVE examples and more on Wednesday:

Create three lists.

  • Make a wish list of media where you’d like your B&B to appear, include local newspapers, regional magazines, national publications, websites – big and small, radio shows, TV stations or news shows, podcasts, blogs, social media pages, etc.
  • Create a separate list of the media outlets you know (and/or think) that your guests like to read.
  • Create one more list with key words that describe the types of guests you’d most like to focus on attracting to your B&B. For example, if you’re about a hour from a major city or airport, write down that city, e.g. Boston. If you want to attract people in their early 20s, scribble down Millennials. If you are in a prime bird watching area, you might want to jot down Audubon.

Fluff up each list.
For your media wish list and for the list of publications that your guests tend to read, go through the different outlets and read the articles that you would have liked to have been featured in (most libraries carry several back issues of magazines, etc.). Create an organized list on paper (an Excel spreadsheet is even better) with the reporter’s name, email, phone, Twitter handle, Facebook page, Pinterest, etc. Your goal is to gather as much information on the people you think might be interested in your property as possible. The idea is, you’ll be able to “listen” to the reporter by following his or her conversations/postings online and when appropriate, connecting via some of these platforms.

Separately, you’ll want to use your list of key words as a jumping off point. If you wrote down Boston, start by identifying the types of places a Boston resident would peruse when planning a trip. If you want to attrach people flying into Logan Airport, what publications do you think those people might be reading? What airline publications might they be flipping through? What local guide might they use to come up with fun things to do? Is there a visitors' bureau where you could check out local media? Also, are you set up to host events or business gatherings? Then what publications might the decision makers at the business you’d most like at your B&B be likely to read?

How about Millennials? What are they reading and what’s the language like? You’ll want to later approach a reporter writing for this group in a tone that matches their coverage – so makes notes of these things as you move along.

And, if you wrote down Audubon, is there a local bird watching association? Do they host meetings or go on outings? Are they part of a larger organization that might enjoy a trip with an overnight stay at a B&B? Can you follow them on Facebook to see what types of news they’re most interested in sharing or is it a private group? Use your key word list as a starting point for research then get creative and add, and add, until you can use your research to start fluffing things up like we did with the previous two lists above.

Dig for details.
The easiest way to get a reporter's contact info is the media outlet's website but not all of them make this information public, and even fewer will give this out over the phone. If a magazine or newspaper website doesn’t list emails for its staff, you’ll have to do your best to ascertain the information on your own. Start by looking at the site’s URL and creating an email with the person’s first and last name – enter that into Google, does anything come up? If not, try typing email (substitute for the URL), do you find someone else’s email, which might indicate a formula that the media outlet might use to create emails? Try that. If no, perhaps the writer or reporter is a freelancer and not on staff. Does he or she have her own website? Perhaps there’s a contact email there. Is that person part of a large group of writers, like SATW (the Society of American Travel Writers)? Some groups list contact details online. Try to come up with other avenues to reach what you're looking for.

Click here to download a free sample media tracking sheet.