How to Find Journalists Online

How to Find and Contact Journalists Online

“How can I get noticed by a certain journalist or blogger?” is one of the questions most frequently asked by businesses without a dedicated PR or marketing department. We’ve talked about plenty of traditional media pitching tips but today we’ve got something a little more digital for you.

The secret: Journalists love social media! A recent survey of reporters found that they visit roughly three social media channels for each article they research. Are you sharing your brand story through your social networks? Keep your streams consistently updated and demonstrate that you are an expert in your industry. If you’re using keywords, hashtags and your community is actively sharing your posts, the media will find you eventually. But if you’d like to be more proactive, here are some ways to find journalist info you may seek with a few strokes of the keyboard.

1. Twitter streams. Search for your targeted journalists on Twitter. Search Twitter for industry keywords, and you’ll more than likely find bloggers that you might not have even thought about approaching as well. MuckRack is also a good tool that has a directory of journalists on Twitter.

2. Facebook profiles, groups and pages. Use this method with caution. Facebook is a place where people share personal things with people they’re close to. So crashing the journalist collaboration groups on Facebook isn’t the best idea. However, a little careful lurking can get you the extra knowledge you need. Using the “Subscribe” feature on personal profiles lets you see the status updates of the people you choose – and a more personal snapshot of your target. Use this for relationship building only. Journalists often use Facebook to create conversation around trending topics, so follow your favorite news outlets here to keep up – or contribute to the conversation as it happens in real time.

Finding the most pertinent info about the media online

Paid Tools. Software like the new and improved Vocus PR Suite tracks down journalist info such as beats (topics they cover), contact information, past articles, social media accounts and pitching profiles to make it easier for you to find reporters who might be interested in your news.

News websites. If you’re in the business of PR, this may seem like a no-brainer. However, it’s commonly forgotten. The news outlets of the journalists you’re trying to reach have all the info you need. For example, if I’m trying to reach a reporter at nearby TV station FOX 5 DC for a local story about my business, I’ll search “FOX 5 DC” in Google. Say I’m a new retail store that is holding a grand opening with discounts for kids who are going back to school. By visiting the “about us” page, I can see that a certain reporter, Holly Morris specializes in live morning news and she might be willing to cover this, especially as it’s back-to-school week and parents are watching the news as they get their kids ready for school. It also helps that I’ve watched the newscasts and noticed that she’s covered back to school news before.

These journalist bios also tell you what other stories they’ve covered and when they publish news – so you can make a more educated decision on if they’d be interested in it or not. Their contact information is usually listed right there as well.

Don’t discount Quora. Quora exploded onto the Q&A scene and much like LinkedIn answers, is a great place to ask anything and get a plethora of answers from professionals like you. Though the hype has cooled down, there’s still good conversation going on there. Case in point when I logged in this morning:

Robert Scoble on Quora

Wow. Robert Scoble, tech dynamo at Rackspace and writer of many tech and startup columns personally responded to a regular Joe’s question about how to contact him. Let’s be real: most people with over 200,000 followers on Twitter don’t take the time to personally give a tailored answer such as this to an online question – but this example shows why Quora can be a goldmine.

Have any other great places to find info about the media that we may have missed? Share them with your colleagues in the comments section below.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: How to Monitor Pitch Performance with Google Analytics

(Photo Credit – Flickr Creative Commons: Lisa Padilla