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Welcome to the latest edition of my new weekly blog series, “Free Marketing Ideas”. Each week I will identify and explain a simple marketing idea that you can employ at low or no cost. Last week’s topic was Create a Twitter Account.

This week’s topic: Start a Press List

As a company, you want to make news. When you make news, you essentially get free marketing. That’s the genius of PR, although PR is something you usually have to pay for.

In this case, we want to do it for free. And to start, you want to create a list of people to reach out to when your company has news to share. This list should include bloggers that cover topics related to your market or your industry, names of writers and editors of industry and trade magazines, local newspapers, and even broadcast news producers.

Start by making a list of all the outlets themselves. Use a simple Excel spreadsheet and just start listing every website, magazine, newspaper, and television station that you can find.

When you’re done, order them by who is most likely to be both reachable, and agreeable to working with you. Start small and work your way up. The next step is to add a contact name, email, and/or phone number for as many as you can. If you can get a physical address, even better. Most websites will have a press contact you can find by searching.

Once you have that information on your spreadsheet, you have the foundations of a press database. You can choose to make contact immediately, introduce yourself and develop a relationship so that by the time you have news to share you already have a foot in the door. Or you can wait until there’s news, then reach out directly with that news. I’ll leave that choice to you.

Share your thoughts on this idea, and other free marketing ideas in the comments section below and keep the conversation going!