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 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.
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.
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.