That’s a common email I get (especially lately for some reason). It usually goes like this:
” Shannon, I’ve been scouring through past Be Heard! ezines, looking at the free media contacts you supply. I can’t seem to find a contact for <INSERT MEDIA OUTLET>. How can I find it?”
OK, besides the fact there is no gratitude that I have been supplying media contacts for more than 6 years in my ezine (You’re welcome!), let’s get into how to find one. (Editor’s note: that’s part of the reason why I’m ditching my ezine format beginning in September. Yup, no more media contacts unless you pay for them!)
There are two ways to obtain a media contact:
- You need to do the digging for it.
- You need to pay someone who knows how to dig for it – a public relations professional – to get it for you.
But here is the basics of digging for it, in case you need to:
- find a phone number for the media outlet
- call the number
- ask the person on the other end of the line if they can put you in touch with the editorial or news department you are looking for
- when someone answers from that department, ask them
- who is the right contact to send your news to – You see, it’s no use just sending your information to any old contact at the right media outlet. If your news isn’t a good match for what the journalist covers, you’ve wasted your time (and the reporters).
- how would that contact like to receive the news you want to send – It’s a very poor and wrong assumption that everyone wants email sent to them, even in this day and age. Many media professionals still prefer snail mail when it comes to products and fax when it comes to a breaking story.
- Thank the person for their time, even if they don’t give you the information you need. Better yet, send them a snail mail thank you card as well. (You never know how much this means to many reporters who never, ever, get a thank you!)
Note: I say nothing about pitching a story when you are asking for information. The call is to get the information needed, not use it as a pitch session.
Yes, this takes some time to do – and that’s why hiring a PR pro can actually save you time and money.