Are you keen to get more media visibility but struggling because you just don’t have the media contacts? I hear that a lot and it can be frustrating, particularly if you’ve tried before and not got results or you simply feel overwhelmed about the thought of getting started. There’s a tendency to buy a list, chuck out an email pitch or a story to everyone and then hope that something sticks. Slow down. Yes, slow down – there’s a much better way that will feel less overwhelming and will get you better results.

DSC_0717-slow-in-roadThe good news is that it really isn’t that hard and you’ve probably already done a lot of the leg work needed to find the right media contacts, you just probably don’t realise it yet. So, where do you start? Here’s a helping hand to get you on your way.

How to find the right media contacts

Start with your ideal customer. Yes, that’s it – start with your ideal customer. Who are they, where do they go to get their information, what are their likes and dislikes, what are their interests?

If you don’t already know the answers to the questions then you need to do a bit of detective work. If you do know the answers then you can piece together where they go for news, information and useful advice and resources. Once you know that you can put your detective cap on and go and immerse yourself in those websites, publications and programmes. Search engines are a great help. For example, you can take your topic or theme and put that together with the term ‘news’ and type that into a search engine. The search will bring up news related sites for the relevant area you’ve focused on. You then need to sift through to see what’s a good fit.

Targeting the right media contacts

This is sometimes where people get stuck – they put in huge effort to finding media outlets and then it all starts to feel a bit overwhelming. It’s easy to then slip into knee jerk ‘get it done’ mode and send a generic email off to the whole list. If you want results, and to build useful relations with journalists, then slow it right down and take a breather.

Focus on just five or so media outlets. At this stage it’s not about approaching media contacts but simply understanding the themes and topics your target media outlets cover, the style and format they use and then finding the best way to contact them which is often right there on the website or in the publication. The more information you gather the better.

Finding the right media contacts is just one part of the puzzle, you also have to understand what ideas, stories and angles those media contacts will be interested in and then find the right way to pitch your ideas to them to get noticed and to get coverage. Much of the insight you need to get those three parts right comes from the detailed research you’ve carried out.

If you want the inside track on finding the journalists who will want to hear from you, via media request services and Twitter, then have a look at 7 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Media Visibility. It also gives you other ways to get media visibility for your business, with straight forward action steps.

In a nutshell: Start with your ideal customer and how they find information – that will lead you to the right media outlets to target with your news, ideas and article angles.

What success have you had with finding the right media contacts and pitching them ideas, stories and angles?

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Image credit: Debbie Leven