6 free tools to build media lists

Social media has made your list of media contacts longer, but it’s also provided tools for creating these lists for free (mostly).

Driven by a blogging boom and fast-growing digital media, public relations professionals have to wrestle with ever-expanding media lists.

Luckily, social media is also making these lists easier to expand, update, or even create. While you can still check the “Contact Us” (or similar) tab on a media outlet’s website to find email addresses, these seven digital tools can make the process easier—especially when those email addresses aren’t available.


Trackur monitors blogs and social media. I use it to plug in keywords, find writers who are covering those keywords, and then add those writers into my media list. It searches blogs, Twitter and many of the social bookmarking sites. A paid version gives you a full suite of services.


Blog directories such as Technorati are a great resource for finding bloggers. You can search by categories, use their blog directory, search by tags or use their “top 100” list.


Google any journalist and most likely you will come upon LinkedIn. It’s not good etiquette to send a journalist a request if you are not acquaintances, but profiles are a great place to find a public email address or a link to a personal blog that will give you the contact information you need for your media list.

Twitter Lists

Many marketing, PR and social media companies keep their own public Twitter lists that are listed on their profile. These lists are often organized by category, such as food writers, mommy bloggers, TV producers, etc. You can save a lot of time by subscribing to some of the lists that have already been compiled and by using them to help you define who to pitch.

Muck Rack

Muck Rack is a Twitter directory that catalogs journalists based on their organization. You can easily search what journalists are tweeting about, browse their Twitter accounts by outlet and monitor what they are saying about your clients by adding key terms.

The paid version offers such add-ons as adding private notes about journalists on your list, and also enables you to add journalists to your custom media lists. Muck Rack automatically updates for your lists for you even when a journalist leaves an outlet, and keeps track of what search terms you used to find them.


I use Actionly to monitor and analyze social media activity, but because of the keywords I have set in my searches I find it helps me identify what journalists are writing and I often find good people to pitch just by checking the “top influencer” section on the Twitter feed or the blog monitoring section. Actionly has a free plan as well as some very well priced premium plans.

Abbi Whitaker is the president of The Abbi Agency. Follow her on Twitter @abbijayne or @abbipr and visit her blog, where a version of this story first appeared.


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