March 15, 2021

How to build a great media database for your PR

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You have some great news about your business that you want to share, but without any media contacts, where do you start? V Formation’s Lucy Wharton explains how to build a brilliant database of media contacts for your PR, to share your company’s news, opinions, market commentary or thought leadership.  

The importance of a strong media database

Building a strong, well-organised, relevant media database with good quality contacts is the first step in developing relationships with the press, achieving coverage for your PR in your target publications and getting your business in front of the right people.  

With roles within media spanning journalist, reporter, blogger, social media influencer, broadcast producer and planner, freelance writer, editor and many more, it can be tricky to know where to begin when considering who to target with your PR efforts, and compiling a media database that will help you gain influential coverage.  
Connecting with journalists most likely to be interested in your business and area of expertise is crucial. In a recent survey, 75 percent of journalists stated that fewer than a quarter of the pitches they receive are relevant.
By taking the time to research a publication and the topics it covers, you not only show respect for time-stretched journalists, but are also much more likely to build relationships and generate results.  

Remember, setting a PR strategy at the outset of any PR activity or campaign will help focus your efforts, and determine if your content will target and be relevant to local, regional, national or sector-specific press, and, in turn, the contacts you require. 

Here are some top tips to building a strong media database to get your PR and content seen by the right people. 

   1. Know your audience 

You need a list of media that are relevant and read by your target audiences  so your current and potential customers and clients, but also suppliers and competitors.   

 Next, consider which online news platforms your audience engages with, and which print publications they’re subscribed to. For B2B companies, a good indication is often the magazines your clients have in their reception!  

Geographic location is an important factor too – are you looking for business in your local area, or do you operate nationally?  

   2. Identify the right contacts

Look for the journalists at relevant publications who cover your sector, region or topics of interest, and find their direct email addresses.  

Many news outlets have a central email address, but to build relationships with your key journalists, it is best practice to speak to these individuals directly and picking up the phone is still an integral part of PR pitching, so phone numbers are as important as emails. 

Increasingly, journalists use social media to gather information and insights for stories or features, often using the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter, so note their social media handles and make sure you are following them to begin valuable engagement and visibility. 

If your business is a member of any trade organisations, a regional chamber or local group, it is worthwhile getting the contact details for their media, marketing or content manager, as they may accept news submissions for the website or newsletter.  

   3. Do your research

A comprehensive media database should include information on the publication’s editorial features or schedule, and any regular topics or article formats, such as ‘Spotlight On’ or ‘A Guide To.’ Forward feature information is often included in media packs and available online with copy deadlines  

Media packs can also provide guidance on contributing content and it is a good idea to record this information on the database 

To give you insights on coverage reach and the outlets most likely to get you seen by your audience, other key information to identify is:

  • Readership 
  • Audience size or circulation 
  • Domain authority and UVPM, if online 

 Securing coverage with a backlink to your website on a site with a high domain authority increases ranking on Google and the quality of traffic heading to your site. Find out more about the tools that help measure the impact of digital PR here.  

    4. Use the right tools

You don’t need advanced software or tech skills to create and format a media database. The information can be recorded in an Excel document, which can be easily organisedupdated and password protected. For GDPR purposes, you must make the systems storing journalist data as secure as possible and keep these up to date. To help: 

  • Follow Twitter accountsuch as Cision’s @Media_Moves to get regular journalist appointment and move updates, and delete or update contacts accordingly  
  • Set up Google Alerts for your industry’s key words and main competitors to enable you to find new media contacts and to stay on top of current news and affairs. 

How V Formation can help

The V Formation PR team has strong relationships with national, regional and sector-specific media and are experts in journalist engagement, media introductions and management. Our comprehensive media databases enable us to connect you with the right press, media and influencers.

To discuss how V Formation’s PR experts can raise your company’s profile and make sure your voice is being heard by the right people, please call us on 0115 787 0206 or contact us here.


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