This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

How to find media contact information without investing any $

I did a bit of an epic Facebook Live broadcast a few weeks back and hinted at why we don’t use media databases. If you saw that and were left wondering what the best way is to creep – er – find the right media contact information, here are some tips that could help.

Our “media list” was created by me, from scratch in 2008 when I started my business. I bought a book called Sources (which sadly still exists) for $200 as I thought that would be a great way to build my list and get my foot in the door. Not freaking so.

When I started doing follow up calls, I started getting admin assistants telling me, “That person hasn’t been here in years!” and I knew this list wasn’t reliable. It was in phone book form for god’s sake, so I should have known better, but that was when I was first starting out. (Again, don’t buy Sources!!)

  • Google has been my best friend since. While you can’t guarantee that a person’s e-mail or phone number is always visible at a media outlet’s site, you will at least find out whether he/she is still there. So you can avoid an embarrassing phone call to an admin assistant – or gasp! – the new replacement writer/producer.
  • The secret formula. Some big media sites will not publish e-mails or even names of staff, BUT, thank god we’re in the age of digital, when most print articles now appear online! Now you can see at the very least who’s written something. Then you just have to find the e-mail formula for the company (eg. firstname.lastname@outletname.com). Once you have the magic formula, you can then attempt the e-mail pitch to the person. But do NOT use this as a way to start blasting everyone’s names that you see on the site… please, please, pitch stories according to what the person is most likely to cover.
  • Twitter. Don’t be down on Twitter. While businesses are losing faith in it, the media are super active there. And most good media will not only include the topics they like to write on in their bios, but sometimes even their e-mails. Silver platter, people. Befriend Twitter. Twitter is good.
  • Take notes. Not only should you be adding folks to your list but you should be taking notes on each person and finding out how they like to be contacted and when, and what they like to cover. This goes a LONG way in relationship building and is really the crux of good PR. If you just build a list, you’re only doing half the work.

There are a number of other sleuth-y tips I can provide related to boolean searching or just plain creeping on other social media networks… but I’ll let you figure it out. We can’t give away ALL our secrets, right?

Are there any media creeping tips you’d care to share?

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