The cornerstone of any PR strategy is having your own personal address book of journalists’ contact details. If you want to win earned media in newspapers, trade journals or online publications, you need to send your pitch or press release to the right journalists. But the question of how to find journalists’ contact details is one that can stump a lot of people.
Thankfully there are plenty of free tools to find journalists’ contact details in 2019. These now make the process super quick and easy. To help you on your way, here’s a walkthrough of my favourite tools to use.
First off, before you find reporters’ contact details you need to find out which are the most relevant to you. The crucial thing to bear in mind here is that you need to target journalists not publications.
Say for example you want to send a press release to TechCrunch. The mistake many people make is to send a press release to the generic email address. These email addresses are the black holes of publications, usually manned by interns. You should instead always aim to target a journalist directly. These guys are the decision makers, after all.
This means you need to do a two step process:
Getting an article written about your company is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The ultimate objective is to get your message in front of your target audience: the readers of the publications.
So the first thing to answer is who is your target audience? This will depend on what your PR goals are. Are you trying to secure funding? Increase awareness of your brand? Educate consumers about your product? Our guide to PR provides an overview of this, while our PR for Growth Playbook provides step by step instructions.
At a high level, these are the steps to work through:
What are you trying to achieve with your PR Strategy?
Who do you need to reach to achieve those goals?
What publications do they read?
Who are the journalists and reporters writing for these publications that are the most relevant to your brand and your message?
Make a list of all the publications you can think of that these buyer personas would typically read. Think about both industry specific and mass market/top tier publications. To help with this process think about the publications you’re familiar with, that are also applicable to your buyer personas (there should be plenty of overlap!).
Next, make a list of your main competitors, so you can start identifying the publications they’re winning earned media in. Do a Google News search of each of your competitors, and note the publications, reporters and topics of any outlets that are relevant to your buyer personas.
Delve a bit deeper into your competitor’s earned media wins by signing up to the free version of Moz or Linkio. If you’re using Moz, click on Free SEO Tools, then Link Explorer. Enter the domain of each of your competitors’ websites, then do the following:
Now explore all of their earned media wins by doing the following:
Add all the relevant reporters that you find and the publications they work for. Heads up, you only get a limited amount of searches and results with the free version. But you can sign up to a 30 day free trial of their premium service. Just remember to cancel it before your 30 days are up!
Now it’s time to expand the net. A great tool we use for this is Similarweb. Simply enter each of the publications you’ve listed from the above exercises and follow the below steps. In this example we’ve enter the URL of TechCrunch.
Review all of the publications’ websites listed under the ‘similarity’ tab and add all those that are relevant to your buyer personas.
Now you’ll have an extensive list of publications that are relevant to your target audience. But remember, it’s not the publications you want to contact, but rather the journalists and reporters who write for them.
To find relevant journalists at each of these publications, search each publication for keywords relevant to your business or industry. If a site doesn’t have a search box, just use the following syntax in Google to search the site; site:publicize.co “startups” (obviously first replacing the URL and keyword to the ones you’re searching for!)
Now add the relevant journalists’ names under each publication that you’ve listed, along with the keyword topics they write about. If you can also find a journalist’s contact details while doing this, then add it to the database. The majority of times it won’t be listed, but we’ll explain how to find this below.
This exercise provides a solid foundation of relevant publications and journalists, but expand the net even further by doing a media scan of your keywords in Google News. Add any relevant journalists and publications that you haven’t already come across.
Lastly, repeat the same process using hey.press and Anewstip. These are great tools for finding journalists grouped by keyword. With hey.press, follow the below steps and add each relevant journalist you find to your list. And as an added bonus, the free version of this even provides a limited amount of contact details.
Now do the same with Anewstip by following the below steps. Again add each relevant journalist you find to your list.
Now you’ve got your complete list of journalist names it’s time to find their contact details. Always try and find their email address, rather than reaching out via a social channel. First off, check out our Ultimate Tech Reporter Email List which contains hundreds of journalists contact details.
Now go back to Hey.press to search for journalists that you found through other means, to see if their contact details are viewable on this platform (you should be able to find at least some of them on here).
For the remaining journalists, you can either do it the slow way for free, or the quick way for a fee. The slow but free way is to use Hunter. This free tool tells you the email address format for any domain that you search for. You then just backmatch this against each journalist name you’ve listed at each publication. Just follow the below steps to do this.
The quicker way is to sign up for a tool like Cision, which hosts one of the largest journalists’ databases. They don’t publish their rate card, but for small businesses prices reportedly start at $20 a month, although that may require some good haggling.
So this is how to find journalists’ contact details for free. Just follow our process: identify the publications most relevant to your target audience. Search for the journalists who write about topics relevant to your business working at each of these publications. Then do a bit of sleuthing to find their email addresses. And to increase your chances of getting your pitches accepted, read our tips on how to build relationships with journalists.