PR for Authors Part 2: How to Build a List of Media Contacts
In my previous article, I covered what you need to know before you pitch the media. Now I’ll share with you how to build your list of media contacts—and it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Nearly all of the major media outlets have websites with easy access to contact information for reporters, editors, and producers. In fact, they make it almost ridiculously easy to find email information because the reality is that they need story ideas! While this information is easy to locate, the research can take time. Keep reading…
Just about anyone who is anyone is on LinkedIn now. You can use the Advanced Search feature to locate users by keywords, company name, publication name, or job title. If you’re not yet connected, you’ll need to either request an introduction from a mutual friend or pay to upgrade your LinkedIn account so that you can email contacts outside of your network. You can also track down a contact name, return to Google, and search for an email address.
You can skip all the time-consuming research and buy a media list. Two reputable sources: Bacon’s Media Directories or Gebbie Press (a more affordable choice).
Use the search engine to search for media sources. For example, if you want to reach media in your old home town, you can search Google for “newspaper Indianapolis,” “news Indianapolis,” “radio Indianapolis,” etc. You can also search for terms like “list of weekly newspapers.” My search for that term turned up a list for Los Angeles (http://www.laalmanac.com/media/me04a.htm) and a comprehensive list (minus contact information) here: http://www.xpresspress.com/weekly-newspaper-media-list.
Be on the Lookout
Whether you’re surfing social media or reading a magazine in your doctor’s office lobby, keep an eye out for reporters who write about topics that relate to what you do. Most reporters have a specialty area of focus. If a reporter writes about the stock market, he probably won’t be writing about the latest in cake decorating. So find the reporters who can connect with your message and reach out. Even if you’re simply offering a compliment on a great story with a quick note that says you’re available as a source if the reporter writes a follow-up article, you have opened up a line of communication. It might sound crazy, but reporters have databases of contacts and you never know when you might rise from the archives.
Check back for part 3 of this series, where I’ll cover how to contact internet media sources!