Yesterday, a rare video appeared on YouTube. It's wonderful. In it, two media professionals discuss how businesses can cleverly boost their public profile and engage new audiences using mainstream media.
Packed with helpful advice, during the chat, freelance journalist (and our Twitter friend) Kelsey Ogletree said something you should consider as fact.
Here's the revelatory moment...
And there you have it, straight from the expert's mouth — proof that no matter how small or 'hidden' your business... writers, journalists and editors want to hear from you. Better yet, they're attracted to your 'hidden' credentials. This is a message we zealously advocate during our PR masterclasses.
So, having dispelled the myth that you're too small for high-value news coverage, just one question remains: how do you find the writers, journalists and editors that are writing about businesses like yours?
Here are 3 of the quickest and most reliable ways to not only find them, but unearth their direct email addresses too. Here at ICONS & MACHINES, we use these techniques every day, and as you know, we're rather adept at building brands.
TECHNIQUE 1: GOOGLE NEWS
Let's imagine you're a salon owner. Your salon is in Camden, London. Let's imagine further that today, you have compelling business news that you want the public to know about. Now, once your news story has been carefully written taking these essential considerations into account, it's time to find relevant professionals to pitch it to.
The first thing you should do is type some variant of 'salon Camden London' into google, then click the 'news' tab.
NOTE: I have no idea why we're using a salon owner in Camden for this exercise — I don't have any salon clients. This is an entirely spontaneous/arbitrary demonstration that could go disastrously wrong. Excited?
So, having typed 'salon Camden London' into Google and tapped the 'news' tab, let's see if any influential media publishers have been writing about Camden salons recently.
Here are my search results for 'salon Camden London':
Search result No.4 looks interesting, so next, I would do 3 things:
CAUTION: This technique is a powerful way of finding high-value media opportunities quickly, but, and I can't stress this enough, as you read the displayed stories, you must be discerning with your shortlisting. Whatever your industry or requisite Google search, do not indiscriminately email every featured journalist/writer, instead, be forensic in the way you consider points 1 & 2 above. Why? Because as Kelsey asserts:
"The worst pitches are ones for things that I don't cover. Be strategic in deciding who to pitch — the days of sending out mass press releases are dead, that is the worst thing you can do."
Sending pitches that are misaligned with a journalist's writing history wastes your time and theirs. Stop it.
TECHNIQUE 2: ON-SITE NATIVE SEARCH
Now imagine you own a coffee shop chain in Sheffield, UK and, having hired Ukrainian refugees, you want to encourage other businesses to do likewise because your new hires are bright, industrious and brilliant.
In this instance, I would visit the websites of key media publishers in my locality. I would then type 'Ukrainian refugees' into the website's native search field and voilà — not only all the stories that particular media publisher has written on this highly specific topic, but of course, the name of the writers/journalists behind the stories, too.
Here's what I found when I typed 'Ukrainians Sheffield' into the online search field of Sheffield's biggest newspaper, The Star:
From here, having carefully shortlisted two appropriate journalists, we pitched them, and within a week, we secured a combined audience reach of over two million for our client.
NOTE: An on-site native search is more focussed and often more fruitful than a Google news search. It's an excellent technique for businesses that know exactly which platforms they wish to be featured on, but want to be intentional with their pitch personalisation.
TECHNIQUE 3: TWITTER SEARCH
Okay, there's a problem.
You've done all the research and found the perfect writer(s) to pitch your story to, but seemingly, their email addresses aren't listed online. What next?
You could, of course, use the generic 'story submissions' address listed on the news publisher's website, but that undermines the enormous rewards of personalised pitches. Plus, by the time you've finished praying to the PR fairies — begging them to sprinkle your pitch with good fortune — your email will have suffocated under an avalanche of competing pitches.
Here's our best-performing 3-step hack to finding email addresses for influential writers/journalists.
STEP 1: Visit Twitter
STEP 2: Paste the writer's @name into the search field along with the word 'email'. Press enter and tap the 'latest' tab.
STEP 3: Voilà — every tweet that journalist/writer has ever made including the word 'email'. The objective here is to find a tweet similar to the one below.
NOTE: The above example is an actual search we undertook to find the email address of former TV producer, Kersti Mitchell — who's direct address wasn't in her Twitter bio, Linkedin profile, searchable on Google... nothing.
This technique is a little-known sensation that we inadvertently discovered five years ago. We still frame the euphoric "thank you" emails businesses send us when they secure valuable media coverage using this technique.
Finding the writers and journalists writing about businesses like yours is surprisingly straightforward — in fact, in our opinion, it's the easiest part of the entire media pitching process. And pleasingly, each of the above techniques yield powerful brand-building opportunities in seconds.
So, given the ease with which these valuable opportunities can be found, we recommend you make this your last step, and instead, focus all your efforts on crafting a unique, timely, tactically-written story — the process of which we guide you through here and here.
Before you do any of this, however, you must watch the full conversation between Christina Nicholson & Kelsey Ogletree -- it's a smidge longer than 60-seconds, but every bit as impactful. Enjoy!