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How to Find the Right Journalist to Pitch

When it comes to finding journalists, reporters and bloggers who are interested in sharing your company news with their audience, there’s some precision needed in the research process. You want to not waste your time on poorly targeted journalists, and you want to find the ones most likely to write about you.

How do you do just that?

Dedicate yourself to research

Pitching Journalists - Targeted Approach

This part of your PR strategy shouldn’t be skimped over. It takes time to first find the publications and blogs that are catering to your audience, then find the reporters covering your industry. From there, you have to dig even deeper to determine whether they even take pitches or write about companies like yours.

Also, you’ll need to decide how far you want to aim. Do you only want to try for major sites like The Wall Street Journal, or is there value in pitching less well-known but still solid sites in your industry?

Start with a simple spreadsheet. Here, you’ll record:

  • The journalist’s name
  • Publication
  • URL
  • Notes on types of stories she writes
  • Her email
  • Her Twitter handle or other social links

As you’re finding sites that seem to be a good fit, subscribe to them so you can keep an eye on the types of content being published. This will give you the big picture sense on whether your news will be a good fit or not.

If you’re planning to pitch bloggers, many blogs give guidelines on whether they’re interested in receiving pitches, as well as how to go about pitching them. Include a link to this on your spreadsheet, and respect those guidelines.

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Survey the scene

Journalists at play - Pitching tipsBeyond the articles a journalist writes for this site or blog, what else is she doing? You may find she has a professional website of her own with her background and links to other places she writes. This is a boon; in the case that one publication isn’t a good fit for your news but she’s still excited about it, she’ll find somewhere else to publish it.

Review her LinkedIn profile to learn more about what she’s interested in. If you have an in-car mobile application and you see on her profile that she attends the Detroit Auto Show each year, this gives you the excuse to run into her when you attend. Conversely, her profile may show that she’s more a Jill of All Trades and just wrote one article about car technology, but isn’t really passionate about it. This is good to know, as she may not be the best fit for your pitch.

Start building the relationship

Follow the journalist on all social channels, and just pay attention. You’re not ready to do much just yet. Observe what she’s sharing, and dive into the conversations where it’s appropriate. You want to be there, but not overbearingly so. Simply weigh in where your expertise lends itself, and get on her radar.

If you’ve done your research, you’ll end up with a quality list of people who are tapped into your industry. These are the ones most likely to be excited about what you’re doing. Keep them close, build those relationships, then pitch when the time is right.

Photos: Esther Vargas,  Serge Kij, Lisa Padilla (Creative Commons)

About Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Cision, Forbes, AllBusiness, Small Business Trends, The Marketing Eggspert Blog and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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