She’s one of the most successful publicists I know. If Michelle says it’s indispensable for her job—booking clients on major TV shows and into top-tier media like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—imagine what it can do for you if all you want is publicity in your own community.
The site lets you search for contact info for U.S. newspapers, TV stations and radio stations by state. Once you get a list of media, you can go directly to the media outlet’s website, or click on links to their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. Some media have links to their YouTube channels. Others have links to the weather forcast in that town.
USNPL does a pretty good job of keeping up to date with the myriad of changes in the media industry. That’s because it lets media outlets edit the contact information.
Here are seven ways to use the plethora of information in this database at your fingertips:
1. Follow a media outlet’s Twitter feed before pitching.
Even though most media outlets use tweets to push readers back to their websites, a media outlet will occasionally tweet a request for specific type of sources it needs to interview, particularly when news breaks and they need commentary or background quickly.
2. Ditto with the media outlet’s Facebook page.
This is especially important if you’re trying to get in front of a younger audience because 60 percent of millennials get news on Facebook. Commenting on what you see on these pages could be the first step to starting a conversation with a particular media outlet.
3. Save time connecting with journalists on LinkedIn.
Many journalist and broadcasters include links to their own LinkedIn profiles. You’ll usually find the main media contact listed on USNPL. When you invite them to connect, tell them you found them on USNPL. You might even ask which beat reporter would be your best contact at that newspaper.
4. Tie your story to the weather.
If you’re pitching a story about problems with black mold after severe floods, you might have more luck getting it into media outlets where it’s raining. Many media outlets have links to their local weather report.
5. Learn what media outlets are near the one where you want publicity.
In the navigational bar at the top, clicking on “County” will bring up a list of other media within that county. That might include religious, ethnic and interest-specific media.
6. Submit a press release.
When you click on the direct links to the media outlets’ websites, larger media might offer a variety of links where you can submit press releases, birth announcements and other news items.
7. Remember the collegiate press.
By clicking on “Colleges” in the navigational bar, you’ll see a list of colleges in that state. Scroll down and you’ll see a list of college newspapers, with links to their websites.
What have I missed? What other ways do you use USNPL? Does this look like a free tool you’ll rely on when trying to generate free publicity? I’d love to hear your ideas for other free tools you use to find media contacts. I share snack-size versions of tips like this on USNPL twice a week and send them to a list of readers who have subscribed. If you want to receive them, sign up in the box in the upper left corner of this page.