How to Find Reporters Who Care About Your Business

By Brad Groznik

New York Times Newsroom

Most reporters are not interested in what you’re pitching—that’s the truth. You wouldn’t expect to read about the latest BMW in Cosmopolitan, so you shouldn’t expect all reporters to care about your business.

But some will care and some will even write stories that drive your business forward.

That’s the trick in a successful PR campaign—identifying the handful of reporters who will care from the thousands who won’t and packaging a story that they will be excited to report to their readers.

So let’s start at the beginning. Here’s how to build a media list that will set your campaign on a path for success.

Identify media outlets covering your industry

Start by listing the media outlets that have covered your business in the past. If your business is new, list ones that have covered your competitors. Google your business and your competitors and hit the “news” tab at the top to filter out only news results. List outlets covering your industry but also those that cover your region—like local newspapers, broadcast stations and blogs.

Identify the best reporter for your business at each media outlet

Once you have a list of outlets, spend some time with each one and find the reporter or reporters most likely to cover your business. A reporter writing about national politics is not likely to cover your business if you sell iPhone apps, so look for the ones who have covered your competitors or topics close to your core business.

Build a relationship with the reporters

One thing many people do wrong, is they only reach out to journalists when they want them to write something for them. Reporters are people too and people don’t like one-sided relationships. So follow them on Twitter and read what they write. Reach out to them and let them know you’re reading and admiring their work. See if they’re interested in getting a cup of coffee. They’ll be much more likely to hear you out when you do have news to share. And sometimes, even if they don’t write a story, their feedback can be extremely valuable. They may suggest a colleague who may like your news, or may tell you how to make your news more newsworthy.

Building a media list takes time and is constantly changing as reporters move from outlet to outlet but keeping the reporters who are interested in your business up to date can be one of the most worthwhile investments you can make as a business owner.

Let me know about some of your successful media relationships in the comments!