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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Reporters are dying to quote entrepreneurs, small business owners and consultants just like you. The trouble is, they don't know you exist! If only you can get your hands on a great media contact list, then you can get your name and credentials in front of reporters. This way they will contact you when they are writing a story that would be perfect for you.

So how can you get your hands on a great media list that's filled with information about reporter's who want to quote you in their articles? Many companies sell names of reporters. Like everything else on the Internet, they vary by quality, features and services. Before you buy a media list, be sure to ask questions like the ones below.

10 Questions You Must Ask When Buying a Media List So You Get the Most Bang (Publicity) for Your Buck

1. When was the list updated? Reporters change jobs quite frequently. And many newspapers and magazines are laying off people. So you want to make sure the list is updated on a daily or weekly basis. Otherwise, you'll waste time, money and energy sending messages to people who don't work there!

2. What contact information is included in the list? You'll want a list that has name, title, email, phone and snail mail address. Yes, snail mail. This way you can send books or product samples. You'll want email for sending pitches, press releases and press kits. You'll want the phone number to pitch by phone. Of course, you will have much of this information on your website, but you'll want to have every means available to contact reporters in the format they most desire. Reporters can be very, very picky!

3. What information is included about the reporter? Most basic lists you'll find on the Internet will have contact info, but not much else. That's not enough to do target marketing. You want to know what topic (referred to as a "beat") the reporter is covering as well. Some of the best companies offer additional insights into the beat. For example, some lists will tell you if reporter A only covers politics with a conservative slant. That will help you when you fine-tune your pitch to her.

4. Do you get a list that is sorted by the topic the reporter covers? Some list companies will sell you the entire database of each publication. That's way too broad for most people and will lead to a lot of waste. In other words, it's not enough to know that Jill writes for Business Week. You want to find the person who covers your topic. Because if Jill doesn't, she'll just throw away your message.

5. Does the list contain a reporter's personal information? Most lists don't have information such as "like to bowl," or "wrote a screenplay" or "recovered from cancer." But if the list has this information, you might gain extra insights into the reporter and you might be able to build rapport faster.

6. Does the list have the publication's URL? Let's face it, not everyone knows everything about every publication. Nor is every publication available at your local newsstand or library. However, if you have their URL, you can easily read about the publication, get its view on the world and read articles by that reporter. It's a great time saver.

7. Does the list have web-only publications, like websites and blogs? These outlets are beginning to play a much bigger role in telling stories to you audience. Don't overlook the online-only opportunities.

8. Does the list show circulation figures? Since you don't have all the money in the world to send out books or product samples, or even to call everyone on a good list, you must decide who is important. That's where the circulation figures come in to play. Start with the biggest and work your way down. If you don't have the circulation figures, you don't know who the big boys and girls are.

9. Is the list searchable and sortable? Look for a list that is delivered in a digital form, like a spreadsheet or a word document. That way you can use sorting and searching tools to find the best reporters.

10. What rights do you have to the list? Some companies give you one-time use of the list. They even "seed" the list with fake names so they can tell if you use the list more than once! Look for a company that gives you unlimited use of the list so you can get the most value for your investment. If you follow these tips, you'll find a list of media contacts than can serve you well at a price you can afford.

Guest post by Dan Janal who is media relations expert, author and speaker who coaches entrepreneurs, doctors and wellness professionals just like you on how to get publicity and turn it into REAL profits. Now, Dan invites you to go to to get a free e-course on how to successfully pitch reporters with media lists. Go to


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