Do-It-Yourself PR: Contacts

If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you now know how to write a killer press release and develop an effective pitch. Well, you can have an amazing...

If you’ve been reading my posts lately, you now know how to write a killer press release and develop an effective pitch. Well, you can have an amazing pitch, but without contacts to send it to, you might as well sit at home and twiddle your thumbs.

Sure, you can distribute a release through a news wire service, but as stated in Pitching 101, the best way to get your message through to the media outlets that matter – and get heard – is through one-on-one pitching. To do this, of course, you need to build your pitch list. So how does one go about finding contacts?

What’s undoubtedly the biggest advantage to hiring an agency can in fact be done on your own – if you know where to look.

Many PR agencies subscribe to contact services such as Cision, which, while costly (think approx $5K + annually), will give you contact info, pitching tips, circulation numbers and more for just about any media outlet you can think of – domestic and worldwide. Can’t fork over $5K? Don’t fret. While Cision may be the holy grail of media contact services, there are a number of other outlets available at a fraction of the cost. Here, a few of affordable contact services doling out valuable contact info for editors, writers, reporters, fashion & wardrobe stylists, celebrities and more:

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  • Medialistsonline: A pay-per-list offshoot of Cision for those with only occasional needs for contacts. Great alternative if, for example, you need a specific list for “Fashion Editors of Regional Newspapers” or “Broadcast Producers in the New York market.” Each media contact is $.70; there is a $100.00 minimum charge per order.
  • WhoRepresents: Type in a celebrity’s name and receive contact information for their publicist, agent and/or manager. Just $12.99/mo.
  • Google: Building a list of bloggers? Guess what. You don’t need any of the above services. Literally go to the website and search for contact info – usually in “About,” “Contact” (shocker) or on the left or right side of the page under the site’s header. 9 out of 10 blogs will list an email address.
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    While publicists spend their careers developing and nurturing relationships with media, with an effective pitch, the right contact info, and of course – a great product or service, you can have just as good of a chance getting through as a seasoned firm. A very important caveat that I cannot stress enough: know who you are pitching. Media outreach and landing those valuable hits is all about building, maintaining and nurturing mutually respectful relationships with the media, so make sure you’re starting off on the right foot by sending on-topic pitches. Pitching a magazine? Read the latest issue. Pitching a blog? Spend 5 minutes scrolling through and reading the latest posts. Tailor your pitch appropriately, and make sure you’re pitching the right person at each media outlet. Sending info on a new beauty product? Make sure to send it the beauty editor, not the fashion editor. Pitching a product to a regional newspaper? Make sure the product retails in that newspaper’s market. These may sound like no-brainers, but you’d be shocked how many off-topic pitches editors receive. Be smart about building your contacts. Do your homework before you pitch to ensure you’re on-topic and targeting the right people to maximize your odds. Remember, PR isn’t rocket science – it’s common sense, dedication, and a lot of patience.

    Want more? Review my additional pitching tips here.

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