Social Media Tips & Blog

How to Find Media Contacts

It takes time and effort to find the right media contacts. Know what a journalist writes about before reaching out to them. If you your book is about managing finances, you don’t want to reach out to the beauty editor of a women’s magazine.

There are several ways to find the right media contacts.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great place to find media contacts.

Find media companies and then look at the People section or Employees section to find media persons to connect with. As an example, here’s the People section for the Chicago Tribune.

Visit their LinkedIn profile to learn more about them and see how else you can connect with them. You may find that you have mutual connections or are in some of the same groups. You can now connect with them with a note saying something like, “I see we are both in [NAME OF GROUP] here on LinkedIn. I’d like to connect and learn more about what you do” or “We have several mutual connections and I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Better yet, ask one of those mutual connections for an introduction.

Check their profile section “Contact info”. Often, you’ll find their Twitter handle there or other way to contact them as well. Once you’ve connected, start a dialogue and develop a relationship before pitching to them.

Twitter

Once you find media contacts on Twitter, create a list and add them to your Twitter list. You’ll be able to quickly find all those contacts in one place. See what they are tweeting about and see if it ties in with your story. You can use the @ symbol and tweet to them to try to get their attention. You may or may not get a response.

Internet Search

Search the internet for media contacts. This can be time consuming and tedious. Be sure to keep a spreadsheet so you don’t have to go search again once you’ve found contact information for media persons.

Search for local area newspapers, radio, TV, etc. In the Contact section of their website you’ll often find a list of editors, media contacts, journalists, etc. Make sure you’re contacting the right person for your topic.

Help A Reporter Out

Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) as a source. You’ll receive emails with opportunities to respond to requests from journalists on a variety of topics. It’s a marvelous PR opportunity.

Be quick to respond for the best chance of being chosen as a source for a reporter. Several clients have used HARO and been included in round-up posts in various online articles. These articles can be promoted on social media—and it’s a great way to connect with others who write about similar topics that were included in the round-up posts.

Following Up on a Media Pitch

“I sent an email two days ago and haven’t heard back. Should I send a follow-up email or call the journalist?”

Have you wondered when and how to follow up when you’ve sent a media pitch? Here are a few tips on how to follow up.

  • Don’t email or call “just checking to see if you got my email…“ Media persons receive hundreds of emails a day and who knows how many phone calls. They don’t need one more cluttering up their inbox or voicemail. If you decide to send a follow up email, forward your original one with something added. You want to provide additional information and not just resend what you’ve already sent. Have you created an infographic to accompany your pitch? You could send that. Perhaps you’ve found another source or two who have agreed to be interviewed on the topic or additional statistics and you can send that additional information along.
  • Journalists are very busy, but they also need good stories. If you have a great pitch and want to follow up with a phone call, make sure you have practiced the message you want to leave – because you’ll probably get their voicemail. Write it up and practice it aloud so when you leave the message you sound confident and at ease, and don’t forget anything. Keep it brief.
  • You want to build relationships with media persons. So always be respectful of their time. When you do connect with one, especially if they run with your pitch, be sure to thank them for their time. Send a follow up thank you email or if you have their address, send a thank you card in the mail. You’ll stand out and be remembered the next time you contact them.

Rachel Cooke, Host of The Modern Mentor Podcast

Here is the interview of Rachel Cooke, host of The Modern Mentor podcast.Rachel Cooke

1. Tell us about your show.

The Modern Mentor podcast, is a weekly show designed to deliver “quick and dirty tips” to anyone looking to design and craft their own version of workplace success. It’s about getting clarity on what you want most, and then taking small, regular steps to achieve it. Each week focuses on one topic, leans into specific actions, and is designed to be put to use immediately!

2. Why did you start the show?

The show is part of Macmillan’s Quick and Dirty Tips network. There are shows on fitness, nutrition, finance, etc. There was a show on productivity that spanned both the personal and professional – but nothing that sat squarely in the workplace success realm. I thought it was an opportunity for listeners looking to grow and develop – and that’s my expertise – so we built it.

3. How long have you been hosting the show?

I’ve been hosting for 5 months so I’m still new and learning. I always welcome feedback and ideas from listeners!

4. What do you look for in a guest?

I look for guests that have a stand-out body of work in a lane that lends itself to success in the workplace. Work that has some research for sure, but that focuses deeply on the action side of things. What can my audience learn from you, but more importantly how can you help them do something meaningful for themselves with what they’ve learned?

5. How can listeners find you?

Listeners can find the show on the Quick and Dirty Tips page, or just search for Modern Mentor wherever they get their podcasts. I’m on the socials as @qdtmodernmentor. They can also find me at my professional website Lead Above Noise. 

6. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Workplace success is what you make of it. So if you ever find yourself grumbling over not getting a promotion or frustrated by your boss who doesn’t listen to your ideas – give yourself space to feel sad or angry – but then quickly shift focus to what you can do about it. There is always something. Modern Mentor can help!

About Rachel:

Rachel’s work is grounded in creating success – for individuals, teams, and organizations.

In her work as the Founder of Lead Above Noise, Rachel facilitates experiences – executive offsites, workshops, talks, and consulting engagements – that provide leaders with the tools and insights to build thriving teams: teams that deliver outstanding ideas, service, and results.

As the host of Macmillan’s Get-It-Done-Guy podcast, Rachel shares her tips and insights – extracted from her years of organizational practice – designed to empower individuals to find and create their own workplace success.

The Basics of a Press Release

A press release is an announcement. For nonfiction authors it’s usually announcing their book release. You might also send out a press release if you’ve won an award or have an upcoming event.

The basics of a press release include:

  • A concise, informative headline
  • City and state where you are located
  • The main points in the first paragraph, with supporting information in following paragraphs
  • Answers to who, what, where, when, why, and possibly, how
  • Newsworthy information–why would anyone else care about this story? Is it relevant and interesting to your target audience?
  • A short quote
  • Contact information–name, email, phone number, website, social media sites
  • End it with three hashes ### This shows the media person that it is the end of your press release.

Your press release should fit on one page. Publish your press release on your website so you can easily share the link on social media and in emails when pitching to media persons. Here’s a sample press release we did for a client.

7 Tips for Pitching to the Media

Media people receive hundreds of pitches daily via email. Yours needs to stand out if you hope to get any response. Here are a few tips for pitching to the media:

  1. Address the person by name. If you don’t have a specific name, find one. Do your research on their website or give them a call to find the right person to send your pitch to. Find out what kinds of stories they like to cover so you can tailor your pitch to what interests them.
  2. The first thing they’ll see in your email is the subject line. A clear, concise subject line is important. Never use all caps or exclamation points.
  3. Keep your email short and to the point. Explain what you are pitching and why. Pitch a story–not your book. Your story needs to be newsworthy. What current events or trends can you tie in?
  4. If you have a press release, don’t attach it since files can contain viruses and this may prevent the media person from opening your email. Instead include a link to where they can read it online.
  5. End with a clear call to action: what you want, and why they should reply.
  6. Be sure to include your full contact information in your email signature–name, phone, email, and website. Consider including your social media sites as well so the media person can do their research on you.
  7. Don’t send the same pitch twice to the same media outlet. If they didn’t respond the first time, they will just be annoyed that you sent it again.