Toolkit Tuesday: How to Build a Media List with CisionPoint Software

Learn how to research, build and pitch a media list using one of the most comprehensive PR software platforms available.

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Updated July 2018

If you work in the PR field, you’re probably already familiar with Cision and you may have already upgraded to its new platform (released in early 2018). It’s perhaps the most popular research and contact management software for PR pros on the market, and for good reason. Cision offers a very comprehensive database of media contacts, along with an incredibly robust set of tools for managing media lists and campaigns.

Cision has varying subscription levels for the software, of course offering more features and tools for higher-tier subscriptions. They can also design a custom package based on your needs. Cision does not publish pricing information online, so it’s best to contact them for a quote.

What Does Cision Have to Offer?

Here’s a brief overview of Cision’s suite of tools, which can be grouped into four categories:

  1. Influencers – This is where you can research outlets, search for media members to pitch and build media lists for your campaign or client.
  2. Campaigns – Provides various ways to distribute your pitch or content. You can send a release over the wire, pitch via email and schedule email campaigns. There are also content marketing tools to help drive traffic to your blog or website. The new Cision platform also aggregates HARO (Help A Reporter Out) requests and editorial calendars, which we love!
  3. News – An optional service that offers media intelligence to help you analyze and track what people are saying across social, print, broadcast and online sources in order to build a well-rounded outreach strategy.  
  4. Insights – These are the reporting tools, providing information and data on campaigns and media hits executed directly through the Cision platform.

Today, we’re just focusing on the Influencers section, which includes Cision’s full media database and everything you will need to start building media lists.

How to Build a Media List in Cision

When a brand or company has a piece of news to share with the public, the first job of the PR department or agency is to build a list of media outlets and contacts to pitch the story to. The first step in this process is to identify the media outlets, reporters, journalists, etc. who are:

  1. Most likely to reach your target audience
  2. Most likely to feature your story because it’s relevant to the topics they cover and their readership

Cision’s massive database includes more than 900,000 media members representing 450,000 outlets including print, online and broadcast media ranging from regional to international. It offers several ways to build a list so you can create one that is highly targeted and specific to your campaign.

When you go to the search page, you have two options:

  • Search Media Contacts – individual reporters, journalists, editors and other media members
  • Search Media Outlets – including print, broadcast and online media

Once you decide on whether to search Contacts or Outlets, Cision provides lots of options for narrowing your search, ranging from a contact’s job role to outlet location to topics being covered.

After you generate a list, you can continue to refine by adding, removing or changing your filters in the left hand side bar. Once you build a list, it is saved and discoverable for future use. Under your search parameters, you’ll see your list complete with contact info, outlet details and social profiles.

From here, you can save your list in Cision or export it to Excel or CSV for when you’re ready to start pitching.

Want to see details about a specific outlet? Just click on its name in your list. You’ll be able to view information such as topics the outlet covers, circulation and media members who work there. Click on Opportunities to view the editorial calendar, if one is available. You can also add notes about the outlet, and if it’s part of any of your saved lists, that info will show up in the “Lists” section.

Similarly, you can view profiles of individual contacts. See the outlet(s) they write or report for, the topics they cover, their contact information and which of your lists they are on, if any. Cision also aggregates content from the social media profiles of individual contacts and highlights the topics they are speaking on which comes in handy when you’re trying to determine whether a potential angle is interesting to your target contact.

One feature that is especially useful is the “You might also like” section which offers suggestions about potential media contacts who cover similar regions, topics or interests as the reporter whose profile you’re currently visiting.

At any time, you can search for a Contact or Outlet by name using the “Quick Lookup” search bar at the top of the dashboard. You can also view all of your saved lists by clicking on “Lists and Searches” under the Plan drop-down menu.

Any successful PR campaign starts with careful research and planning, and Cision software is an invaluable resource for getting this done efficiently. With their extensive database and search tools, you’ll be able to quickly build a targeted media list so you don’t waste precious time in getting your story out to the right people and places.

Do you use Cision software? What are your favorite features or tools they offer? Do you have any other go-to resources for building media lists? We’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter.

Heather Allen

Belle's first employee. Lover of great food, good books and spreadsheets. Mom of three. Native Floridian and city girl residing in the cornfields of central Illinois.