A number of distribution methods can be used. Although, there are numerous complaints of editors, the questions is how do you find the right medium and the correct, current contact person. Finding media, their addresses, and the names of editors would be nearly impossible if not for the existence of media databases in print and electronic form. Thus the basis of all distribution channels is an up-to-date database.
1. Media databases vary in format and scope. However, a common denominator is that they usually provide such essential information as names of publications and broadcast stations, mailing addresses, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, and names of key editors and reporters. Many directors also give a profile of the media outlet in terms of audience, deadlines, and placement opportunities. Many professional publicists, in order to ensure accuracy, also take the time to call the media outlet and double-check an editor’s name before sending out an important news release.
2. Editorial calendars not only help you find the names and addresses of media gatekeepers of media gatekeepers, several of them also tell you when to approach publications with specific kinds of stories. Periodicals often set their editorial calendars from a year in advance, and many keep the same special-issue calendars from one year to the next. And a major duty for a client or an employer is to review editorial calendars of various publications to determine stories and features that might be submitted to coincide with the editorial focus of a particular issue.
3. Tip sheets are another good way to find media personnel who might have an interest in your material. These are weekly newsletters that report on recent changes in new personnel and their new assignments, how to contact them, and what kinds of material they are looking for. Public relations professionals considerably increases the odds of getting a media placement. Tips sheets allow you to use the rifle approach, instead of shot-gunning material all over the country in the hope that some editor, somewhere, is interested in it.