How To Use A Media Contact Database To Find Journalists In 2019

Written by MicroStartups

You know those moments when you should know what to say and yet you still draw a blank?

That’s what it’s like to create a public relations strategy without a media contact database.

Having access to a media contact databases is now one of the most important tools for digital marketers. It identifies the right contacts that can help promote your brand or story. What’s more, this media contact database is the most cost-effective way to filter through contact details for journalists in the shortest amount of time.

But how can you get the most from your media contact list?

Well, it might seem time-consuming at first but using a media list to find journalists is much faster than performing an individual search for each journalist. Also, once you find these journalists, it’s easy to start compiling a media list for your specific campaign and this is something you can use time and time again.

Researching Journalists And The Benefit Of A Media Contact Database

Let’s be honest, most people simply do not have the time to compile a media list from scratch.

Yes, it’s possible to gather contacts through research and you can sometimes find a relevant email address through the “contact” pages on the company website but this process takes time. On occasion, these journalists might also have a stand-alone website but again, identifying the right people is just the start of a rather frustrating task.

A media contact database is a list of relevant contacts that might be interested in your business or underlying message. For instance, journalists, bloggers, writers and producers are all media contacts to whom you might want to reach with your message.

Now, that’s not to say you simply copy and paste this list into every email about what you do. No, this is exactly how not to use a media contact database and in many ways, this approach defeats the purpose.

And this is why a media contact list is so useful…

The truth is, it’s important to get your message and material right, but it’s critical that you are sending this information to the most relevant journalists. Irrelevant pitches are the precise reason why public relations is often ineffective and also why your company might get a bad name. This leads to your pitches being sent direct to spam folders by journalists.

Avoid this by locating contact details for the right journalists using a media contact database – it’s the only way to save time and avoid the hassle that is associated with this process.

Tips For Using A Media Contact Database To Find Journalists

A media list will contain specific contacts and this will ensure that your message is landing in the right place. For instance, you might decide on a specific outlet such as radio, TV or the local newspaper and then pick out a specific journalist with any of these outlets. At this point, you can email or call the contact and have a fully prepared message that will capture their imagination.

Here are a few tips for how to use a media contact database to find journalists for your next campaign:

1. Creating A Media List For Each Campaign

You should have a different media list for every campaign and this list of contacts should be picked from a master list. In other words, you can easily split a contact database into categories and ensure that your message is only going to the right contacts. For example, you might want to differentiate digital contacts from print contacts or regional contacts from national publications.

2. Consulting A Media Contact Database Service

While creating your own database is not a bad idea, you should always consult a traditional or existing media database to ensure you are on the right track. That is to say, subscription-based databases like Pressfarm tend to be fully updated, far more comprehensive and a lot more accurate than what you might have to hand.

3. Updating Your Contact List

Things change all the time in media and journalists move around just as often. It is highly likely you’re your media list’s contacts will change from time to time as journalists leave jobs and go to other companies.

When you spot an announcement for a journalist leaving a media outlet or receive a failed delivery report in your email, make a conscious effort to remove and replace this person with another contact in the same role. It’s a little tedious to do this each time but your media list is there to save time. Updating your database will certainly save you a lot of time in the long run.

4. Creating Relationships On Your Media Contact List

When you receive a response from journalists, pay attention to the finer details that will enable you to establish a connection with them.

What’s more, save notes on your database so that you have a starting point from which to begin future discussions. As you know, people are more likely to help you when they like you and it’s hard to ignore someone you like when they come knocking with a new story.

5. Monitoring And Measuring Competitor Results

You can learn a lot by taking a look through what has worked (or not worked) for the competition. What publications have featured your competition? What influencers gain the most traction for your products or type of brand? What specific journalists seem to favor the type of content you can create for them?

If you can spot trends in this way, you can also save time and pick out the journalists who are most likely to publish your story. Needless to say, a good media list will have contacts for some of these individuals and if not, you can always add such details to your master list.

Final Thoughts

Building a media list is essential for PR and marketing, while consulting a traditional media database will enable you to refine and improve this master list. However, it’s important to categorize this list for each campaign and ensure the right journalists are chosen in every instance.

Either way, finding journalists is not always easy but a media contact database can ensure this is a relatively straightforward task.

Author Bio: Chris @ Pressfarm.

About the author


A team of writers and marketers, MicroStartups was founded to inspire the entrepreneurial and business community to give back. We believe in business growth through giving and supporting the local community.

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