Dear MW,

I work at a small PR agency and one of my new clients develops radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. To be honest…I had no idea what RFID was until last week and in such a niche industry it’s been impossible to find great journalists (not to mention I’ve spent the better part of a day trying). They have a big announcement planned 2 months out and we need to start pitching. Any tips on how to go about building a list?


Niche List Challenged



Hi Niche List Challenged,

First of all, don’t worry! This is a question that our Client Success team tackles all the time. With increasing numbers of freelance journalists and the rise of blogger-journalists, beats aren’t as reliable as they used to be, which can make it tough to build a list for a client in a niche industry. Most media contact databases use a beat search to find journalists that you then have to spend time researching before adding to a list. Sound familiar?

There are two things here that I want to tackle separately:

  • Finding journalists for a niche industry pitch
  • Vetting journalists in minutes, not hours

Finding Journalists

The Meltwater News media contacts module includes a beat search, but that’s not how I’d recommend finding journalists for this client. In addition to beats, Meltwater News has a keyword-driven search that returns journalists who are actually writing about your topic.

In the case of your client, you could type “RFID” and “radio frequency identification” into the search box. This would return a list of journalists who have written about the topic recently. The list is sorted by relevance, so the best contacts are often on the top of the list.

Now I had no idea what RFID was until Wikipedia filled me in (and I’m still not 100% sure I get it), but the good news is that you don’t need in-depth knowledge of a topic to find journalists. If you’re struggling to think of keywords, look at the “About Us” on your client’s website or look at past releases.

Vetting Journalists

This step is usually what takes PR pros the most time when building any list, but especially a list for a niche industry. It typically involves things like searching on Google for articles the journalist has written, visiting their LinkedIn profile and reading their bio online. Meltwater News helps you do all of this with a few clicks.

Next to each journalist in the list that your keyword search returns are a few options that streamline vetting:

  • Relevant Articles – View a clickable list of a journalist’s articles that are relevant to your keyword search
  • All Articles – View a clickable list of all articles a journalist has recently written
  • Google Search – Do a Google search for the journalist’s name
  • LinkedIn Search – Visit the journalist’s LinkedIn profile


With a few clicks you can skim headlines or read through a journalist’s articles on RFID, and find them on Google and LinkedIn. Having everything in one place will save you time and ensure that you’re targeting the best journalists for your pitch.

There you have it, Niche List Challenged. Don’t be intimidated by an unfamiliar industry! Keep your head up and follow these steps: log in to Meltwater News, type in your keywords, skim a few articles and get that list built quickly so you can start pitching 🙂


Your comrade in vetting,



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