If you’re looking to contact 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 I’m assuming you know that already.
In this guide, I’ve listed various free and paid methods of finding journalists and their contact information in order to create a press list and pitch them your story.
Finding relevant reporters that cover your beat
The first step is to find journalists that could potentially be interested in covering your story. In other words, you have to find journalists, reporters, bloggers, etc. that cover your beat or topic of interest.
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 get you media coverage.
Some PR experts will argue that it’s not as effective as doing 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 additional, 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.
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?
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 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.
Backlink checkers and other SEO tools
A more advanced version of this method involves using backlink checkers. 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.
Finding 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, although I recommend the former. Cold calling can be too invasive, and social media can simply be ineffective.
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 straight-forward and easy method of getting their contact details.
Simply enter your media contacts; 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.
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 50 searches per month.
Look 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.
Check on the website of the media outlet or give 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.
Contacting the right journalists 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 methods listed above, or get free 7-day search access to Prowly’s Media Database, and see if it’s a fit for your business.