But how do you source the right media contacts and find out how they prefer to receive story ideas? Here are six tips to help you build a media list and create more targeted story ideas to increase your chance of publication.
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1. Contact the media outlet directly
If there are particular media outlets you wish to target you can call them directly to find out the journalist or editor you need to send your media release to or go onto the ‘contact us’ part of their website.
You will find that some publications prefer media releases by email, while others will be more guarded with their contact details and require them to be uploaded to their website. If you are struggling to find their contact details, never underestimate the power of a simple Google search, often they will come up under other sites listing media contacts.
2. Media Lists
On that note, there are a number of websites and publications with listings of every major and regional radio and television station, newspaper, magazine and trade publication in Australia.
Normally you will also get a list of what journalists do what rounds (i.e. business, travel, finance), publication deadlines, and even how they like stories submitted.
3. Media Release Distribution Websites
You also have the option of using a media release distribution website (of which there are many!) to send your media release out on your behalf. They keep a list of all media contacts, both online and offline so all you need to do is upload your media release to their website and they send it.
There is normally a cost associated with this kind of service which is charged either as an ongoing subscription where you can upload multiple media releases or per each media release. While this can be convenient it does limit the amount of media contacts you personally acquire.
4. Social media
Social media has become a great way to connect and build relationships with journalists. Once you find out the journalists you want to target follow them on Twitter (and Facebook if their on there) and interact with them. Also keep your eyes out as some will put a call out for sources for upcoming stories.
5. Responding to media call outs
Responding regularly to media call out sites like SourceBottle.com can also help you build your media list. While the angle is already set, the quality of your information, opinions and experiences, and the effort you make to build an ongoing relationship with the journalist can help you to become an ongoing source for stories on that subject.
6. Forward features lists
If you aim to target magazines and trade publications, you can often find out what topics they plan to cover up to twelve months in advance by asking for a forward features list.
The forward feature list normally appears in their advertising/media pack, which will also give you greater insight into the demographics, geographics and interests of their target market.
This information is extremely valuable when developing your newsworthy angle and identifying the best journalist to target with your pitch. The more you can tie your media release or article in with a topic they are covering the greater chance you’ll have of being published.
Do you have a media list? What has helped you build yours?