How To Identify The Journalist Most Likely To Write About Your Business

Posted : November 30, 2018

Word Count: 2020 

( 4 Min )

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How To Identify The Journalist Most Likely To Write About Your Business

Alex Nicol, Content Specialist @ Powerful Outreach

Are you making it harder than it needs to be to get press in 2018? If there is one thing you can do to increase your chances of landing on a major publication, it is to make a list of primary targets in journalism who you think are most likely to write about your business.

The problem is that cutting corners on this part of the outreach process is commonplace, and often leads unsuspecting entrepreneurs down the road of ineffective campaigns.

But here’s the thing: it’s not that your business is unworthy of publicity – it’s that you’re not connecting with the right journalists. Here’s how you can fix this Achilles heel of DIY press campaigns:


Spend time reading relevant publications. In public relations, as in many areas of business, there is no substitute for the personal touch. If you have spent 2 to 3 months reading the articles on a target publication, you should have a clear idea of which journalists write the most content, and, in particular, which journalists cover topics pertaining to your business. Note the names of the top three journalists on the publication and make sure to read every single article they write over the next while, commenting on as many as you can.

Become a source on Help A Report Out (HARO). Aside from your own personal reading, it’s important to put yourself out there as a source too. The benefit to submitting pitches to journalists queries on HARO is that you can look for trends or find new journalists that write for a publication you want to target. Isolating target journalists on priority publications and doing research in HARO should give you a pretty solid picture of the options in your industry. You want about five to six names on this initial list of targets. Then it’s time to whittle down the options to just one.

Research journalists professional profile and past writing. Once you’ve narrowed down your ‘hit list’ to five or six, you want to do some more in-depth research into past writing and general interest, beyond what their ‘beat’ is. The objective here is to find out which journalist is the most engaged in writing about business just like yours. For example, let’s say you run a green tech startup that sells products made with fully compostable packaging. You might have 5 writers who focus on green tech startups, but only one that has written about compostable packaging before. There’s your primary target! Unfortunately, this is a hypothetical example and it’s not usually this straight-forward.

Get the angle just right. By this point, you should have been reading your target journalists work for months. You should be an expert of their beat, and know exactly what sorts of trending developments they are interested in writing about going forward. Here’s where your creativity comes in. What sort of article topic can you pitch your target journalist that A) appeals to their current topic of interest B) incorporates your business in some way.

Getting specific and personal with your journalist outreach strategy is one of the best ways to land press for your business. In a digital world drowning in 24/7 communication and reams of spam email outreach, you need to go the extra mile to show journalists that your story really matters.

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