Your choice of media database can make the difference between your startup getting its story in front of the right people or going unheard.

When it comes to getting a PR outreach plan off the ground, a good media database is one of the most valuable tools you can invest in.

But what is a media database?

Why should you pay for one?

And how can you decide on the right database for your business needs?

The Rolodex - the ancestor of the media database

In the most basic terms, a media database is a list of names and contact details of people who can help get your story out. Like an old-fashioned Rolodex!

Until recently, this would have been comprised almost exclusively of JOURNALISTS.

But today, a good media database will also include INFLUENCERS and BLOGGERS.

That’s because the media landscape doesn’t just consist of print (newspapers and magazines) and broadcast (TV and radio) anymore.

There’s a whole new online media ecosystem that clever businesses are using to get their messages out.

In this blog, we’re going to look at the following questions:

  1. Why should I use a media database?
  2. What should I look for in a media database?
  3. Why should I choose Pressfarm?

Click on any of the links above to skip ahead!

Check out the Pressfarm media database and support services now.

1) Why should I use a media database?

That’s the easiest question to answer!

To save time.

Choosing a media database saves you time

As a tech startup founder, you’ve got a thousand and one things to do.

And most of them are more pressing and more exciting than scouring the internet looking for journalists’ contact details!

Of course, it is possible to build your own media list like this. But there are compelling reasons to contract this out to an expert:

  • For a lot of businesses – especially startups with no track record or public profile – PR outreach is a numbers game. Most of your pitches will be rejected or ignored. So, you need a LOT of contacts to reach out to.
  • Journalists change jobs quite frequently and public contact details quickly get out of date. Database providers have research teams working on keeping their media contacts updated as the journalists move around.
  • Without a database, you can only really go out looking for what and who you already know about. What about all those journalists and publications you’ve never heard of? New blogs and news sources are springing up all the time. The job of a media database is to make sure they’re covered.

For most startups, compiling, maintaining, and updating your own media list is just not going to be cost-effective.

2) What should I look for in a media database?

There are a lot of media databases to choose from

There are a huge number of media databases to choose from out there, and it can be difficult to pick the right one.

We’re going to look at the four most important criteria for choosing one.

a) Number of Contacts

This is the obvious first thing most people will think about. Surely the best database is the biggest one?

Not necessarily!

Some databases boast of having billions of contacts.

How many of them are likely to be relevant to you?

If your tech company doesn’t expect to be doing business in Africa, China, South America, India, etc any time soon all those international contacts making up the numbers are of no value.

Similarly, all the wine columnists, police reporters, obituary writers, subeditors, etc that make up the numbers in the general databases are of little use to you.

It’s the number of relevant contacts in a media database that matters – not the total number.

The QUALITY of the contacts also makes a huge amount of difference.

  • How up-to-date are they?
  • Do they include personal email addresses and phone numbers, or just generic newsdesk details? Individual details are critical for crafting personalized pitches.
  • Are the journalists’ social media details available?
  • How detailed is the information about the writers’ duties and interests?

Pressfarm has over 1 million tech writers, bloggers, and influencers from the English-speaking world in its database.

b) Search Filters and Segmentation

Another vital consideration is how easy it is to target the journalists who are most likely to be interested in your story.

That’s partly a question of the amount of data available per contact.

It also depends on how searchable the media database is: how many and what kinds of FILTERS you have at your disposal to include and exclude contacts from your perfect list.

Journalists hate being sent irrelevant pitches and these pitches can damage your future relationships with them. So:

  • Research your target contacts and their publications to guarantee relevance before you reach out
  • Restrict your pitching to one staff contact per publication and always use personal contact details in preference to newsdesk contacts

It’s also a good tip to make SEVERAL MEDIA LISTS rather than just one. That way you can tailor your pitches in the most appropriate way:

  • Writers who have access to potential customer audiences and those with access to potential investor audiences will often be completely different and be interested in very different aspects of your story
  • Freelance journalists who write for multiple publications will need to be approached in different ways compared to staff writers
  • Bloggers work in completely different ways from traditional journalists
  • Social media influencers are another category altogether. Unlike journalists who have a “news” brief to stick to, influencer motivations can vary widely.
Kylie Jenner - mega influencer

Mega-influencer Kylie Jenner, for example, reportedly commands $1.2 million for a sponsored Instagram post!

Influencer marketing is where “media outreach” starts blurring into paid media…

c) Usability

There are two parts to this.

Firstly, does the media database have the functionality you need:

  • If you’re going to be using the same list of contacts repeatedly, you will want to be able to save your searches so that you don’t have to rebuild your list every time.
  • Can you look for recent articles by your target writers? Some providers include media monitoring tools that can help you identify the most relevant writers (although you will have to pay for this).
  • Can you manage your communications and PR outreach directly through the database? Or do you have to export your list to use in an email client?
  • How easy is it to use this database alongside the other PR outreach tools you’re using?

The second set of considerations revolves around HOW EASY THE DATABASE IS TO USE.

Some media databases are incredibly hard to use

Many systems include functionalities that are so complex that customers just give up trying.

As a busy tech entrepreneur, you don’t have time to figure out the intricacies of the system. You will be looking for a simple, intuitive interface that is quick and easy to learn.

Does subscribing to the media database provide access to customer support or account management that will help you to make the most of the service?

d) Price and Contract Terms

For anyone working at a startup, this one should hardly need mentioning!

However, the price you can expect to pay for a media database varies wildly. At one end of the market, there are free services; at the other are suites of tools that cost upwards of $600 a month.

What should you pay?

With free tools, you get what you pay for.

While they’re not horrible, they’re frequently out of date and provide minimal valuable information and functionality. If you want to reach out to generic newspaper newsdesks and “mainstream” trade and consumer press, a free service might be good enough.

But then you shouldn’t pay for data and tools that you won’t use. If half of the million journalists a premium service boasts of don’t write in the same language as you, why should you pay to have access to them?


Likewise, if you are only running simple or occasional campaigns that don’t need constant media monitoring, sentiment analysis, cross-platform integration, etc, then you shouldn’t choose a provider that bolts all these extras onto the bits you actually want!

It’s also important to look at the contract terms offered:

  • Would you be tied into a contract for longer than you want to be?
  • Can you get a refund if you don’t use the services?
  • Is pricing one-size-fits-all or can you pay on the basis of what you use?

3) Why should I choose Pressfarm?

If you’re doing PR outreach for a tech startup then Pressfarm is an ideal media database partner for you.

  • We have the contact details of over 1 million journalists, bloggers, and influencers in many niches from the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK

Pressfarm's journalist search
  • They can be searched and filtered across a wide range of factors, including self-declared topics of interest.

Example journalist details page
  • Our system is simple and easy to use yourself, but all of our packages include Account Executive support. Our Account Executives will build your custom media lists for you!

  • You can use Pressfarm’s database for as little as as little as $180! You’re paying for our database and our expertise, but not for unnecessary extras.

  • We give you access to our media database for a year because you can’t really see the benefits of media outreach in four weeks (as the publication process is usually longer than that). If you don’t use everything in your package and you want to leave, we’ll refund you accordingly.

  • If you work for a startup or an SME; if keeping costs low and saving as much time as possible are your priorities; and if you have a great story to share with potential customers and investors, then Pressfarm is well worth a closer look.

Of course, this might not be what you need, and that’s fine too. If this is the case, we hope we’ve given you some helpful pointers on how to choose the best media database for your needs.

Good luck finding what’s best for you!