If you want to get onto a TV show, into a magazine, or onto a blogger’s radar screen, the best place to start is at their website or blog.

If the website has a search box, type “news tips” or “we want to hear from you” or “contact us.” Or look for a button with a link to one of those pages.

Bloggers will sometimes include a “how to pitch me” link within their profile.

Every time I listen to a webinar about pitching, I hear journalists and broadcasters recommend that you use these forms.

Many big TV shows invite viewers to pitch their ideas, and some of them will even tell you the topics of upcoming programs.

Here’s a screenshot from the Be on the show page for the Rachael Ray show. The page lists dozens of questions in several categories, all designed to encourage people to respond and, if the producers are lucky, offer information that might tie into the topic of an upcoming show:

These websites offer other tips, such as Rachael Ray’s guidelines if you want to submit a video. If you don’t bother checking the website first, and email someone at the show to ask how to submit a video, it makes you look lazy.

Checking websites first can also turn up all sorts of clues you can use to craft the perfect pitch. Local TV stations often have photos and bios of their anchors, reporters and on-air personalities. You might even be lucky enough to find a reporter who blogs, where you learn even more about their likes and dislikes. See Personal details in your pitch is your ticket to publicity.

This is part of the series “50 Tips for Free Publicity” which I’m pinning on Pinterest. Follow me there, and if you like my tips, comment and repin. Just click the button with the red “Pin It” above.

Tools That Can Help You:

How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow

A Simple 5-Part Formula for Delivering the Perfect Media Pitch and Hitting it Out of the Park