By Amelia Ziegler of the Downtown Eugene Merchants account team

How using Cision helped deepen my understanding of media relations.

The Eugene Marathon is a premier race and a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon, attracting thousands of runners to Track Town U.S.A each year. With Hayward Field under construction, the event switched up its traditional route and runners raced through downtown Eugene this April. While this is the first year I am not running in the race, I was thrilled to be involved in a different way.

My Allen Hall Public Relations client is the Downtown Eugene Merchants, and moving the course through downtown created opportunities for the coalition of businesses to bring new faces through the doors of restaurants, hotels and shops. As my team continues to work with our client, identifying businesses, stories and narratives to promote DEM businesses, I realized how important it was to find the right contacts. Working with a Eugene-based business and focusing on driving new traffic, like students, to downtown means that we need to expand our horizons and look beyond local media to tell the story.

While the reroute is only scheduled for this year, our client hopes that runners and spectators alike loved it so much that the marathon will continue to loop through downtown in the future. Visitors coming to town for the weekend were able to spend time in the middle of the action and on the racecourse, with select businesses offering specials for finishers. Friends and families supporting runners were surrounded by shops and dining as they looked for loved ones zooming by on the street. Our goal was to build a support system for those in town for the race right on the racecourse.

This is where learning how to use Cision proved so useful. Cision is a database of media contacts and opportunities, a monitoring service and a tool for analyzing media coverage. Basically, it streamlines the process of getting your story told from start to finish.

Cision makes list building easy by allowing you to search the type of contact you want, where they’re located and the topics they cover, as well as a timeline for when to pitch specific opportunities and how to contact individuals. With a little over a month until the event, I ruled out editorial feature opportunities, which need to be pitched further in advance, and instead focused on building a list of influencers, bloggers and local reporters looking for a story in the days leading up to the race or after to share their experiences.

I started out with an advanced search, looking for Contacts in Oregon, Southern Washington and Northern California covering health, fitness, track, running and jogging. The search results yielded me information about every single person in the area covering said topics. I sorted through the names and emails from bloggers, influencers and contributors, compiling the information into a list of potential contacts. After creating the initial list, I looked closer at what each contact covers and focused on refining the media contact to make sure it was as targeted as possible.

After finishing the list, I sent it back to our team to begin pitching our story to each contact. Prior to the race, we began to monitor media coverage. By keeping tabs on the coverage of the marathon and how rerouting the race through downtown appeared in the news, we were able to analyze the information to see how successful our efforts were.

Using Cision to tell the story of the Eugene Marathon from the DEM perspective gave me a deeper understanding of how to optimize coverage when running a campaign. I’m excited to see how the stories following the event unfold, but I’m even more excited to continue using Cision in the future. As the leading database for media contacts, understanding how to use Cision is an important hard-skill for anyone entering the public relations feld. The hands on experience I got using Cision for DEM and the Eugene Marathon is invaluable, as so much of entry level public relations work involves creating lists, pitching media and monitoring media presence.

As I begin applying for jobs, I know my experience with Cision will set me apart from other candidates, especially having used it to run a campaign. Telling stories is great, but reaching audiences who benefit from hearing them is even better. Cision helps you find the right people to tell the story so it reaches the right audience, helping each story live up to its full potential.


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