Whether you are shopping around an article for publication or sending out press releases, finding the correct media contacts is important to your success. Don't skimp on your research when looking for contacts.
Select the type or types of media that will best suit the press release or information that you are trying to disseminate. Decide whether television, printed publications, Internet platforms, radio or a combination would work best for your subject matter. For instance, if you have a local horse show, you won't want to waste your time contacting "The Today Show," but local newspapers may want to write an article on your event if they receive a press release.
Narrow your media down to specifics. For instance, if you have decided that television is the correct forum, then choose specific stations or networks that would work best for your subject matter, or for printed publications, find the magazines or newspapers that will work for you. For example, if you are a chef whose restaurant has won an important award, contact not just local stations, but also cooking stations, cooking magazines and radio segments that specialize in cooking. You would not, however, want to waste your time sending your information to a surfing magazine.
Check the company masthead, which is a list of staff members in printed publications, for the editor's name in the department that your article best fits. For instance, find the name of the editor for the education section if you have a press release pertaining to teaching and use this name to address your materials. Do not send out materials addressed with "To Whom it May Concern," or "Editor," if possible. The publication's mailing address should also be here, but be sure to get the editorial address for the publication, since some publications have different addresses for departments such as advertising.
If you cannot find the address on the masthead page, look for it on a Letters to the Editor page, if the publication has one.
Locate newspaper reporters you would like to contact, ones whose writing you've enjoyed or cover your subject, by finding their names in the byline of an article. You can then address a letter or press release directly to the reporter, using the publication's address. Most publications now also have an online site with contact lists and direct email links to the reporters and editors.
Check the Internet sites of the television shows or news programs for their contact information. Many stations do not list contact names, but you can address your email or written inquiry to the on-camera reporter that covers your area of interest. Many news programs also have online "story idea" forms that you can fill out. Most of these will ask you to direct your query to a certain department once you are done.
Call the stations and ask for the names of editors and reporters for specific departments. Also check the biographies and/or blogs of on-camera reporters, as they sometimes have direct email links on them.
Contact bloggers by searching their sites. Many will have a email link on their site for contact purposes. Get in touch with bloggers who do local (town or county) coverage. They are often in need of tips to help them come up with fresh daily news. If you have information of interest to the general public, national bloggers, such as Perez Hilton and the Huffington Post, get high traffic to their sites and a lot of media coverage.
Buy a media list. There are companies that sell media contact lists and this may be a good resource if you want to reach a lot of people.
- newspaper image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com