For this week's quick tip, I'd like to bring up an oldie but goodie -- a tip I've been passing along to freelance writers for years, coming from my background in PR.

Instead of using the same writer's market lists that most other freelancers are also using, find new prospects in media directories instead. 

How Media Directories Are Different

Media directories are similar to writer's market directories in that you can find a list of publications, sorted by industry, and sometimes including editors' names and direct contact information. They're used by PR professionals for media relationships campaigns.

The main benefit of using media directories to find new freelance clients is the fact that they're much more comprehensive than most writer's market lists. For example, Cision's database boasts 1.9 million "contacts, outlets, and opportunities" compared to the 9000 listings at WritersMarket.com -- which includes book publishers, not just outlets for freelance writing pitches.

You can find newspapers, magazines, and in some cases online and broadcast media outlets (which are often under-tapped markets that need writers). You'll find potential clients most of your competitors won't ever think to pitch.


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The downside is that media directories can be costly for freelance writers. But if you can't afford tools from companies such as Vocus, Cision, or BurrellesLuce, no worries. There are other resources you can tap first, sometimes for free. Just know that these free resources aren't always as up-to-date, and they might involve more legwork on your part, such as linking you to each publication's site rather than giving you all of the details right in the directory.

Free and Affordable Media Directory Resources

If you'd like to introduce larger media directories into your prospect-hunting process, here are a few to get you started. All of these examples are free except for the one from MediaBistro.com.

  • The Alliance for Audited Media Member Roster -- a segmented list of publications including newspapers and magazines (with links to their websites where you can usually find contact info)
  • MondoTimes.com -- an extensive, and free, database of media outlets including newspapers, magazines, and broadcast outlets
  • The Internet Public Library -- a link directory pointing you to newspapers (sorted geographically) and magazines
  • TradePub.com -- a directory of trade magazines
  • MediaBistro's Mastheads -- an alphabetical collection of magazine mastheads available to paying AvantGuild members
  • Library subscriptions -- some libraries subscribe to one or more media databases (it might violate their license to use it for commercial purposes, but you can browse them to get an idea of the kind of information offered)

Do you already use media directories to find new freelance prospects? Tell us about your favorites in the comments (that is, if you don't mind sharing).

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Indie Writers, NakedPR.com, and BizAmmo.com.

Jenn has over 17 years experience writing for others, around 12 years experience in blogging, and about a decade of experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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