If you’re looking to contact reporters or journalists in hopes of getting media coverage, you have to know how to:
- Find relevant journalists that could be interested in covering a story like yours
- Find their email address or other ways to get in touch
Of course, you also have to make sure you have a story that’s worth writing about and know how to write a compelling media pitch, but since you’re about to find relevant media contacts for your pitch, you probably know this already.
In this guide, you’ll find the best tools & methods to find journalists and their contact information in order to create a press email list and pitch them your story.
How to find relevant media contacts that cover your beat
The first step is to find media contacts that could potentially be interested in covering a story like yours. In other words, you have to find journalists, reporters, bloggers, etc. that cover your beat or topic of interest. Here’s how.
Using a media database to find journalists and outlets
A media database is a directory of various national or international media contacts that you can filter by beat, location, outlet, etc.
They are not only limited to journalists but can contain bloggers and other digital influencers as well—people that can also get you coverage.
Some PR practitioners might argue that it’s not as effective as searching manually with the old school methods.
While there is some truth to this, it’s only if you take the lazy approach and expect the journalist database to literally do all the work for you, with no personal effort. No method can beat the simplicity and scale of using a database, saving you hours of time and frustration.
Media databases like Prowly, Press Hunt, or Anewstip are very useful in their own right but become an even more effective solution when paired with supplementary googling.
With a quick search, they give you a list of thousands of journalists, reporters, and media outlets of all types—AND their contact details. Narrow down your search by using location or topic filters.
More advanced databases will allow you to search for media contacts by keywords in their Tweets or articles, allowing you to quickly find the most relevant people and see what they’ve recently written about.
Once you have a preliminary list, dig deeper by using Twitter or Google to find out additional details about the reporters you found.
- What kind of topics are they currently writing about?
- What are they interested in?
- Are they looking for a story like yours?
With Prowly, you can not only access a database with over a million contacts but also use smart recommendations based on the contents of your press releases. This way, you can find relevant journalists that are likely to be interested in your story.
Finding journalists on social media
Most reporters are on social media and especially Twitter and Linkedin. These two platforms provide a free, but somewhat more time-consuming method of finding press contacts.
Take advantage of the search function on these sites, and search for “[keyword] editor” or “[keyword] journalist”. Replace [keyword] with the topic, location or media outlet that you have in mind.
Janet Murray, PR & content expert, recommends:
It’s also a good idea to create a Twitter list of journalists on your target publications and check-in daily to see what they’re talking about.
Not only will you get a feel for the kind of stories they’re interested in (you might even spot requests for help with stories they’re working on), you can also start building a relationship by replying to their tweets and/or sharing their content.
Using Google News to find media outlets
Google News is a good way to find media outlets (and then find the appropriate journalists) in your niche.
Enter the names of your competitors or businesses similar to yours. You’ll get a list of outlets, blogs, news sites, etc. where they were featured—publications where you have a shot at getting coverage.
Write down the publications, editors/journalists, and any other useful information.
Leveraging backlink checkers and other SEO tools
A more advanced version of this method involves using backlink checkers like Semrush. A backlink for a given web resource (usually a website) is a link from some other website to that web resource.
In other words, you can find which websites are linking to whichever website you enter into the backlink tool. Some of these may be publications where you can find valuable journalists covering your topic.
How to find journalists’ email addresses or contact information
Once you have an initial press list of journalists & reporters potentially interested in your news story, the next step is to contact them. This can be done by email, phone or through social media. How to make sure you have the right contact details, though?
Checking in a media database
Whether you’ve compiled your list of reporters using a media contact database or with the other methods listed above, a journalist database is a straightforward and easy method of getting their contact details.
Simply enter your media contacts into the search box. If they’re in that particular database, you’ll find the journalist’s email address(es), phone number, and social media accounts, depending on the platform. Some databases also provide additional information such as their recent Tweets or written articles.
Using email finder tools
A free tool you can use to find journalists’ email addresses is Hunter.
Hunter describes their tool as:
All you need to connect with any professional. It puts all our data together—email formats, email addresses found on the web, verifications, and other signals—to find the right contact information in half a second.
It’s free for up to 25 searches per month.
Other tools include Anymailfinder, Uplead and Voilanorbert.
Checking on the website of the media outlet or giving them a call
If you know the name of the media outlet the reporter works for (or you just want to find journalists working for that outlet), try checking on the website of the outlet.
At the very least, there should be a general email or phone number; send an email or give them a call and explain you’re trying to reach this particular journalist/editor.
Looking them up on social media
Some journalists will include their email address on their social media profiles. If not, you can try messaging them directly through the platforms and asking there.
If I am unable to find the contact I need within a media database, then I go right to the journalist’s social media pages to verify their current job position, and sometimes their email address will be posted too. Next, I call the main number of the media outlet and ask the receptionist for the correct phone number or email address of the person I am hoping to contact.
If I still don’t end up with the information that I need, then I connect with the journalist on social media and send them a private message introducing myself and requesting their contact info. I have personally tried all of these free methods and can attest to the fact that they work. – Catherine Kennedy, a freelance publicist with 15 years of experience in the PR industry
Contacting the right reporters, journalists, and other media contacts for your story is crucial for getting media coverage. Knowing how to find them—and their contact information—swiftly and effectively will make your job a lot easier.
Take advantage of the free tools & methods listed above or get free 7-day search access to Prowly’s Media Database to see if it’s a fit for your business.
Cover photo by Brett Jordan