Write Ahead, one of my followers on Facebook, recently asked:
This is such a good question that I decided to make a blog post out of it.
As a matter of fact, Write Ahead, there are a number of ways you can find out what stories journalists and media currently or will be working on.
Below are four ways to get you started.
4 Ways To Discover What Media Is Covering
1. Help a Reporter Out
Also known as HARO, Help a Reporter Out is a free (with paid options) social network that links reporters with story sources. After you sign up, you will get 3 emails per day, with queries from reporters.
You will have to wade through the hundreds of queries you will see every day, but your perseverance could pay off. I know someone who got included in a Chicken Soup book by responding to a query in HARO.
2. Magazine editorial calendars
Magazines have their content planned out months in advance. If you’re eyeing a particular magazine, check their website for their yearly editorial calendar. It will give you an idea of their monthly themes and topics. Most magazines post their editorial calendars online. If not, call the magazine and ask.
3. Social Media
Follow reporters who cover your industry in social media, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Often, they will tweet when they’re looking for a source. Make a list of journalists you follow, so you can easily monitor their tweets.
4. Media Beats
Journalists are assigned a beat, or general topic, which they cover. Examples of beats include health, technology, politics, etc. You will have an idea of who covers which beats by closely monitoring the media. You’ll notice that certain reporters tend to cover certain topics. Take note of which reporters commonly report stories in your industry. They will most likely be interested in your stories.
And by the way, it’s possible for journalists to be assigned to a number of beats. Especially in a period when media companies are cutting down on staffing, don’t be surprised of some reporters seem to be all over the place in terms of their beats.
I hope this list has made you realize that we don’t always have to be guessing what media are interested in.
Which of these strategies do you already use to get your story in front of a reporter who would be interested? What results have you gotten so far? What do you need more help with?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies.
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