How to build your list of journalist contacts (and keep them)
Starting out in public relations, or struggling to keep a hold of the journalists you have worked with in the past? The PR experts at Adoni Media have put together the following guide to help you build a list of journalist contacts who want to keep working with you.
Search for and follow journalists on social media platforms to keep tabs on what they are writing about, who they are writing for, and most importantly, where you can find them. Many journalists will share links to their published stories. Watch or read these to get a good understanding of their interests, and what stories they cover.
Keep an organised database
Create a digital database to store information on the journalists you find and work with. The database should include:
- Current publication/station/platform
- Contact details
- Journalist’s preferred method of contact
- Social media link
- Details of their story interests
Your database will help you to narrow down your pitch to a select few journalists who are likely to be interested in your story, instead of sending over a generic pitch to your entire list. This will give you the time to research your selected journalists and craft the perfect personalised pitch to improve the chance of your story being picked up. Getting to know what the journalists in your list want to hear, and what they hope to avoid will help you to create stronger, lasting professional connections.
It’s all in the pitch
A seasoned journalist will know the difference between a pitch you have sent off to 20 other journalists, and one that you have taken the time to write just for them. It’s important that you take the time to research the journalist you are targeting and personalise your pitch to help it stand out against the others. Firstly, get your pitching method right. If your journalist has “CONTACT BY EMAIL ONLY” in all of online profiles, and you start your pitch by giving them a call, there’s a really good chance you won’t get a conversation with that journalist, let alone a chance to pitch to them. A good pitch will also let the journalist know that you have seen their work; mention their fantastic article you read last week, especially that specific bit six paragraphs in that only somebody who truly read the article would know about. In short, a journalist will appreciate knowing that you have invested your time in order to avoid wasting their’s.