When you’re doing media outreach, choosing the best media database for your brand is crucial for success. There’s no use writing a glowing pitch if you can’t reach media contacts who will be interested in sharing your story. For this reason, it is in your best interest to invest time in finding a media database which will work for you.
What is a media database?
A media database is a directory of media contacts who can share your story with their audiences. As someone doing PR for their brand, using this resource will help you find the right people to pitch your brand story to.
Do you need help finding media contacts to connect with? Pressfarm can help you connect with journalists across niches, publications and categories.
What kind of media contacts should be in the best media database?
Traditionally, you would be pitching that story about your new product launch to a journalist. However, recently the definition of media contacts has grown to include bloggers, influencers and thought leaders.
Why are influencers and thought leaders an important part of your media database?
We know it might seem unconventional to pitch your story to an influencer or thought leader. Even so, these people might turn out to be very resourceful to you and your brand. Why is this?
Both influencers and thought leaders in your industry already have an audience which trusts them. These audiences take authentic word-of-mouth recommendations seriously so having influencers and thought leaders on your side is actually good news for you. In fact, word of mouth recommendations generate five times the number of sales as paid media like traditional advertisements.
Don’t you want to benefit from the power of word of mouth? If your answer is yes, then you should look for these influencers and thought leaders in your quest for the best media database.
Now that we know what exactly a media database is and what kind of contacts you can find in it, let’s talk about what you need to pay attention to while looking for a good media database.
What elements make the best media database for PR?
1) Database size
The first measure of a good media database is the number of contacts you can get access to using the database. We’re not saying more is better because that’s not true in all cases. However, having more contacts in your database means you’re more likely to find someone whose interests align with your brand. This is especially the case when you operate in a niche industry which isn’t widely covered by the media.
If your brand has global operations, then you should also evaluate the number of international media contacts in your database. To determine how useful these contacts will be, you can narrow your search down to contacts by region.
Once you have an idea of how many contacts you will be able to reach, then you can move on to the next element.
2) Contact information available
How much contact information is provided in your media database? Is this information enough to help you connect with each person on your list?
In order for the media database you’re using to be comprehensive, it should contain the following details:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Beat (area of specialty)
- Media outlet
- Social media accounts
As a bonus, the following features would be nice:
- Influencer score
- Recent published topics
- Style of reporting
- Suggestions for connections who you might be interested in
These bonus features would help you choose the most relevant contacts. Moreover, once you’ve chosen the contacts you want to reach out to, these features would help you understand how to tailor your pitch to each contact, thus connecting more easily with them.
How do you judge the accuracy of the media database you’re looking at?
For starters, you look at how often it’s updated. Most media databases have research teams working to consistently update the information available. Since media contacts change media outlets and email addresses frequently, no media database would remain competitive without constant updates.
Secondly, you should check how many sources the database pulls its information from. If they only rely on one source, then you should proceed with caution. By hoping one source will do the trick, you could easily miss out on important contacts.
For example, if the database only uses information from LinkedIn and email addresses, then you might miss a media contact who spends most of their time on Twitter. Similarly, if the database only uses Twitter information, you might find yourself sending direct messages to a Twitter account which is no longer in use.
4) Search filters
To make the most of a media database, you need it to be searchable. The ability to search the database you’re working with helps you find relevant contacts. For this reason, search filters should be nonnegotiable when you’re looking for the best media database.
The following search filters will come in handy:
- Industry/area of specialty
- Media outlet
- Media type
Is the price right? To answer this question properly, you need to consider a few things:
How long is the contract?
The length of the contract is important, especially in the beginning. Some media databases offer month-to-month contracts, while others only have annual contracts. When you’re still testing a database out, the last thing you want is to be locked into an annual contract which you can’t get out of.
Do they offer flexible plans?
Some media databases offer flexible plans, where you can start and pause your membership as needed. Alternatively, there are those which charge a specific fee for a certain number of contacts. Flexible plans are better than fixed plans in most cases. This is because they give you more control over how you use the database, especially in the beginning when you are still testing the waters.
Do they offer free trials?
Free trials are a step above flexible plans. A free trial allows you the opportunity to play around with all the features of your media database before you fully commit to a specific plan. This, in turn, gives you ample time to decide whether the database has all the elements your brand needs or whether you should try a different one.
6) Target audience
Who is the target audience of your media contacts? Does this target audience match your target audience?
If you pitch your story to a media contact whose target audience doesn’t align with yours, then you will be disappointed in the outcome. After all, what use is it pitching a lifestyle journalist to write about your crypto startup? Even if they decided to take a chance and write about you, their audience is unlikely to pick the story up.
In an ideal situation, your database should come equipped with the previously mentioned features. To really get the most out of your media database, it would be good if it also had additional features including the option to personalise emails and track opened emails. Likewise, it would be great if you could see recently published articles or social posts of all your media contacts and save your search criteria for later use.
8) Customer support
Beyond simply offering functionality, the best media database should also come with quality customer support. If the media database offers perks such as training and demos, then you know the team behind it wants you to get maximum value out of it. Knowing you can count on customer support when you need it should make media outreach a much less daunting process.
Should I use a media list or a media database?
Normally when you’re looking for media contacts, there are two options to choose from. You can either buy a curated list or pay to use a database. There are pros and cons to each.
With a media list, you have access to a custom-made treasure chest of contacts whose interests align with your brand. There is minimal work left to be done. However, the downside to this list is, because you didn’t play a part in putting it together, it might be irrelevant for your brand’s needs.
If you choose to use a media database, the advantage is that you can choose who you want to put on your contact list. This involves more work than a media list as you have to personally handpick each contact.
Do I really need a media database?
So the idea of using a media database sounds wonderful but you’d rather look for your own media contacts independently? We hear you. You could save money doing this yourself, but what will that mean for other aspects of your business? Will trying to save this money be worth it if it takes away from what you do well?
Think about this for a moment. When you’re doing public relations for your company, you want to focus on crafting perfect messages. Sourcing contacts for your contact list and maintaining it is a time-consuming endeavour and will take away from the amazing PR strategies you could be crafting.
Letting someone else worry about sourcing contacts and keeping them up to date will free up your time for other aspects of brand development. This way, instead of maintaining your own list, all you need to do is search the database for media contacts whenever you need to do media outreach.
Similarly, using a media database will help you boost your media relations efforts. There are few things more frustrating to media personalities than receiving irrelevant pitches which don’t align with their beat. A media database prevents you from committing this cardinal sin by helping you send pitches which are relevant to the people you have selected personally.
Using a media database could also help you find niche contacts you’ve never heard of but whose areas of interest align perfectly with your brand. On your own, finding these specialized contacts might be a challenge. With a media database, you can rely on the dedicated research team to find this hidden treasure for you.
At the end of the day, if you can find the right people to pitch and pitch them well, then it’ll be easier to gain media coverage for your brand. If you want to give your media relations a boost, then a media database is the perfect tool for you.