How to Build a Media List

Kendal Netmaker is a very cool guy. He is the CEO of Neechie Gear, a sports clothing line and store. He is a motivational speaker that travels across Canada to inspire audiences to think bigger and do more for their communities. He is also passionate about encouraging more Aboriginal people into entrepreneurship.


Kendal is also excellent at working with the local and national media to further his message (a regular PR machine). 

One of my favourite stories about Kendal is how he parlayed an Instagram post into meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. Kendal was chosen by Instagram to appear on the PM’s stream to celebrate Entrepreneurship. He seized this opportunity to alert provincial and national media to the opportunity. The media buzz turned the photo into an invitation to sit at a round table about entrepreneurship with the PM and other young people from across Canada. 

Kendal has three tips for maintaining a relationship with local media:

1. Keep a Media Contact List: Every time Kendal makes contact with a journalist, he adds them to a list of people to “keep in the loop”.  

2. Send Regular Updates: Even if it is not newsworthy, Kendal sends out regular updates so that the people on his list are the first to know about an event or what is new at Neechie Gear. It is about a relationship, not just a one-time contact. 

3. Share positive stories whenever you can: The media wants to cover positive, local stories. If you can provide them with a great hook, they can share your message for you to a wide audience. It’s win-win. 

I will never forget the time I lamented to Kendal over coffee that I was on the short-list for the television show “Canada’s Smartest Person” but I wasn’t chosen. Kendal quickly encouraged me to tell the media anyway - even though I didn’t succeed. 

“The media wants to share stories, right?” he enthusiastically nudged me. 

I will be taking a page from Kendal’s book in the future and I would also encourage other people trying to start a movement to do the same. Develop a relationship with local and provincial media as part of your communications plan and share as many positive stories as you can. Our media partners can help us to change the world.