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The Benefit of Building a Targeted List

The Sea Change Strategies blog recently posted about the Tyranny of Big Lists and how too many non profits are attempting to communicate with very large lists, yet getting a very small response or open rate.

The metaphor they pose about sharing your thoughts on a movie with the whole theater versus just your close companions is especially compelling.

It made me think about how non profits really need to think about targeting their audience. Sending to a list of thousands or even hundreds is not always effective, especially with the decline in open rates and the increase in spam filters. We need to take more time and cultivate our media lists, making sure we are reaching the right people. And that may only need to be a few people, not hundreds.

Green Media Toolshed has a Target Your Audience top ten that is helpful, along with tips on Building a Targeted Media List.

The next time you rush through sending out your press release, take a minute to look over your list, think about its size, and whether the contacts on the list are ones who will truly want to hear from you or cover your issues. You may realize you need to refine the list and make it more targeted.

-Yvonne Archer

June 29, 2007 in Media Training | Permalink


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Yes! To also paraphrase what experts like Kristen Grimm from Spitfire Strategies have said before, your audience is not everyone.

And it's so true. But some nonprofits often think it's best to blanket the earth with their message as opposed to identifying the smaller subset of people who will care and ultimately act (or in the case of sending news to the media, who will cover your story).

To add further to Yvonne's advice, it's important to think about the kinds of outlets that are on your media list. Do you want to reach daily newspapers? Or maybe local papers that are published less frequently. Be sure to scan your list before you send your news so that you're not sending your press release about a beach clean up to the appliane industry newsletter.

If you're not sure where to start with specific media outreach, first try to hone your message and identify your audience by creating a strategic communications plan. Nonprofits can use the interactive Smart Chart at www.smartchart.org.

Posted by: Bobbi Russell at Jul 2, 2007 12:53:10 PM

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