How do you find the writers and editors who can help tell your client stories? In so many ways. That’s the simple answer. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night because of the overwhelming possibilities. I know; that sounds pretty pathetic. But I’m being honest here. The thing about this kind of work, at least for me, is that it never ends. That’s the good news and the bad news. Truly. But let’s get back to finding media.
Well, there’s Bacons. For a fee, you can subscribe to this service that allows you to pull lists of all sorts. Yesterday I pulled a list of holiday gift guide editors for 120 dailies. Or maybe you just want the names and contact info for foreign affairs editors. Many years ago I was told about a little known (at the time) service called “Profnet.” It’s sort of a matchmaking service for journalists and everyone else. I won’t bore you with the details but will tell you that if you’re trying to generate publicity using Profnet, you’ll pay for a subscription. If you’re a journalist trying to find sources for a story, you’ll just post your query at no charge. It’s a fabulous resource and an excellent way to reach the media.
A new service is “Help a Reporter Out (HARO),” which was created by PR wiz Peter Shankman. For publicists, there’s no charge, but you gotta follow the rules, so pay attention. Shankman first created the HARO list for on Facebook. Basically, once you sign up you get up to three emails a day with about 15 to 30 queries. I’ll let you read about the rules yourself. Incidentally, Peter has agreed to a Q&A that I’m hoping to post here soon, so please check back.
Another way to find the write media source is to simply read and listen to the news as much as possible. Too often we neglect the obvious. In other words, you’re wondering who covers foreign affairs at a particular daily, even your hometown paper. Yes, you can go online, you can go to Bacons as I suggested earlier, but you can also sit still for a few minutes and read the paper the old-fashion way. Very often I will get a response (which in my mind is always positive) from a writer or editor after I’ve noted a particular detail from something this person has written. I think it shows that I’ve done my homework. Granted, there isn’t always time to read, but if you want to get someone’s attention, taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the writer’s area will almost always turn into a good investment.