The more context you have for journalists, the more your media outreach will stand out.

A recent media relations post on the Meltwater PR Blog offered up a surprising statistic: in 2010 PR professionals outnumbered journalists 4 to 1. The effect that this imbalance has had on the media industry is well-known: you have to stand out from the crowd for your media outreach to be effective. The secret to successful media outreach, and to standing out, is getting more context on individual journalists.




The secret to successful media outreach is getting more context on individual journalists

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This doesn’t mean that you have to do your job differently! Follow the same media outreach process as always, but start recognizing that each part of the media outreach process raises a critical question.

  • Journalist targeting. Does the journalist fit within the broad context of my pitch?


  • Journalist research. Does my pitch align with the journalist’s specific, recent interests?


  • Journalist outreach. How can I ensure the journalist sees my pitch?


The more you learn about journalists and the more complete your answers are to the above, the more successful your media outreach will be. The problem is that many PR professionals don’t have the time to do the research and answer these questions thoroughly. This often means pitching uninterested journalists and overlooking great freelancers and bloggers. But don’t worry! The Meltwater media contacts module has built-in features that cut down the time it takes to do research, so that your pitch stands out to the right journalists.

Media Outreach | Journalist Research the Meltwater Way

To guide your journalist research efforts, I’ve organized these features into three research-focused steps. These steps are the key to answering the questions brought up in the media outreach process. They give context on the journalist and help ensure that journalists will read your pitch so that your media outreach stands out.

*Unless otherwise noted, all of the features below are located on a journalist’s contact card

  • Step 1. Read Recent Articles
    • Relevant Articles – Displays a clickable list of the journalist’s articles that are relevant to the topic you entered as a keyword search
    • Pitch Cloud – A clickable word cloud showing the topics of a journalist’s recent articles
    • All Articles – A clickable list of the journalist’s most recent articles
    • Follow – Sends you a regular email digest with new articles from selected journalists. Located next to each journalist entry in existing media lists.


A pitch cloud for a journalist who often writes about airlines.


  • Step 2. Tailor Your Pitch to the Journalist
    • Additional Information – Information often from the journalist directly. Can include pitch tips, schooling, awards, previous jobs and interests.
    • One-click LinkedIn Search
    • One-click Google Search


  • Step 3. Get Creative!
    • Twitter – Journalists’ Twitter handles are on their contact cards. Not only can you learn more about journalists from their feed, but reaching out via Twitter is a great way to stand out.


Those 4 to 1 odds make it crucial that your media outreach stands out. The three steps I’ve outlined are a guide that will give you the context you need to answer those important media outreach questions. Along with the directory beats search and the keyword search, these journalist research tools round out the media contacts module to give you the greatest possible chance of a successful pitch, increasing pick-up and helping to maintain solid media relations. My advice: follow the steps, use the features and start standing out!