Whenever you decide to promote something online or look forward to reaching out to a wider client base, creating a media database is an inevitable step that will help you reach the desired result. It’s a database, or your personal collection, of bloggers, journalists, influencers, reporters, media contacts, and media outlets with which you can partner to exchange content or who are eager to spread the word about your news on their online platforms. Creating a media database is vital for every business that only launches, as well as reputable and well-established corporate websites that have been in the market for many years already.
When used carefully and wisely, your media database lets you find the right contacts in your niche and build meaningful and long-lasting relationships that can last for many years. Instead of buying ready-made media lists, it’s twice more effective to spend some time while creating a custom media database that is the most relevant to you and your business.
In this guide, we will share some working tips on how you can build a list of contacts for building strong and meaningful PR relationships.
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What is a Media Database?
A media database is a list of journalists, bloggers, social media personalities, and other influencers. It’s a list that contains not only the contact names but also features many other details associated with each of them. It includes custom filters that let you find the most appropriate contacts for your campaigns, including the possibility to filter contacts by region, media type, outlet, etc. Your media database will also include the contact details to reach out to the contacts on the list.
Building a media database suggests that you build a network of people for running PR campaigns. The list is compiled as a result of such actions as:
- Monitoring your industry;
- Finding relevant contacts and their contact details;
- Building a relationship with those contacts;
- Researching contacts to pitch in a relevant manner;
- Maintaining your contact list.
Who Is Your Ideal Advocate
Have you ever thought about whom your audience trusts the most – influencers or journalists? Aren’t these the same? These two are absolutely different in all spheres. A journalist, though, can be an influencer in the meaning that we understand today.
Long before the Internet became widely accessible, people used to spend more time listening to the radio and watching TV. The journalists and TV hosts were considered to be credible and trustworthy. However, the growing demand for Internet usage and the launch of new media channels, jobs, and trends have changed the situation significantly.
People trust news sources less than they did five years ago. While some users still magazines and newspapers, believing that these act with good intentions, others are more likely to believe the opinions and news shared by social media influencers.
Getting back to the definition of a journalist vs influencer, we should point out that a journalist can be treated as an influencer. However, not all influencers are journalists.
An influencer is a person whose opinion and words influence the buying and acting decisions of other people. Because of the influencers’ authority, people are likely to try the promoted product or service, check the news, or read the book they’ve suggested.
Based on their authority in the industry, influencers fall into three big groups:
- Celebrities (1M+ followers);
- Macro-influencers (100K-1M), and;
- Micro-influencers (<100K).
Each of them has their own audience of followers interested in a specific topic or related to a certain industry. While cooperating with the right influencer, a brand can reach impressive results of the PR campaign by talking about the latest news and products or services.
While looking for the best advocates for spreading the word about your message, journalists and social media influencers have their advantages one over another. Journalists are trusted because of their experience in the journalistic career, influencers have the trust of their subscribers who follow their updates daily.
If you cannot decide if those are journalists or influencers who will sound the most convincing to your audience, ask yourself whom your potential clients are more likely to trust. Once you have the answer, put all your efforts to enrich your media database with contacts of the ideal third-party advocates whose words and personalities will appeal to your client base.
How to Build Media Database
With that said, let’s see what steps you can take to find the right contacts for a list of media contacts that will be interested in spreading the word about your company’s content.
Monitor your industry to build a feed with preferred outlets
The technological process doesn’t stand still. New approaches and innovative tools hit the market, making it easier for you to find new potential media contacts and check the current trends in your industry. Today, you can come across a range of useful and, more importantly, free tools that let you keep track of what favorite outlets are publishing while using a single interface.
For example, there is a tool called Feedly. It provides you with an overview of everything that is happening in your industry gather together in a single feed. When properly set up, there is no need to switch multiple websites and tools. Using the free Feedly’ feed, you can monitor up to 100 sources in feeds at the same time. It’s very convenient to use and helps you focus on the things that are important, filter out the noise, and share valuable insights with your team while making use of the Slack integration.
It’s a good practice to start each day while looking through the news feed in your industry. Once you find themes and topics that are relevant to the things that your company writes about, you take a step towards finding a new potential media contact for your media database.
Adding contact details to media database
Once you find a new potential contact for your list, the next step is to find a way to get in touch with that contact. In fact, there are many opportunities to reach them out. You can search for the contact’s accounts on social media platforms. In the profile description, you can find more details about that person, job title, the main project he or she works on, and email address. If the email address is not mentioned, there are other ways to find it out.
- It seems that Google knows everything. You can find the email address of your potential contact for the future PR partnership. It is as simple as typing “email address” + “name.” You may check how it works while typing in your name next to the “email address” search request. You will be surprised to find it at the top of the list. Every person who already has certain experience of work in the media-related industry can be found this way. The situation is often the same with journalists and influencers. If in case you cannot find the email address of your potential contact, but you have come across the email addresses of his colleagues, you can try the guesswork. Simply follow the example of how the email addresses of your contact’s colleagues are written and simply use his name in a way that follows the example.
- You can also find the email addresses of new potential contacts with the help of dedicated tools. For example, while using such free email finders as hunter.io, snov.io, or Voila Norbert, you can find verified email addresses of potential contacts for your list based on the emails they find from similar companies.
If none of these tricks worked, try to reach the contact by sending him a direct message on social media platforms.
Add Order to the List of the Newly Found Contacts
Once you find all details and contact information about the newly-found contact, organize their profiles in a CRM or Excel sheet. Take care of filling their profiles with the contact name, email address, links to soal media profiles, recent articles, and other notes that you find to be useful for your media database. Also, add categorization to the list while organizing contacts based on their interests or other criteria. By doing so, you can easily filter out the right contacts for running your next PR campaign.
This is the step that many PR people forget about. However, getting connected with newly found contacts is an essential step while building a media database. If you follow the strategy explained above, you will likely come up with a rather impressive list of contacts of journalists and influencers in your industry. Making friends with each of them is a time-consuming task and that’s not the goal we follow. However, establishing business relationships with potential contacts won’t hurt.
While building a media database, many businesses opt for creating two lists of contacts, with which they connect differently. The A-list normally includes the journalists and publications that are closely related to your niche and write about the topics that are relevant to your audience. The A-list should be too long. Yet, is the database of your most valuable contacts that cover a similar market with you and are most likely to target users who are also interested in your offers.
The most common ways to get connected with the A-list include:
- Send a pitch in which you introduce yourself, your project, and your main objectives. Don’t sound too solely. Opt for a friendly tone in your message.
- Monitor the most recent publications of the A-list contacts using Feedly or similar tools. Check out the most interesting articles, and add them to your CRM. You may take advantage of mentioning them in your pitch.
- If you discover that you and a person from your A-lit live in the same city, you can take an effort to establish a better connection with a cup of coffee.
- If you sell a product or service, you can invite the contact to better understand your offer at a media event. In many cases, simply sending out your product or providing a free subscription to your service doesn’t work. A user needs to get a better understanding of how you product is organized while watching a media presentation and following your example.
- Use the power of social media. Social media platforms can be useful in a variety of ways. Follow your contacts’ updates, comment and “like” their recent publications, mention them in your stories, etc. Sooner or later you’ll get noticed.
The B-list might include more contacts than the A-list. Moreover, the contacts may belong to other industries rather than just your micro-niche. It’s also likely that B-list’s contacts will be publishing news about the topics outside your industry. Using tools like Feedly, you can cut off the noise and focus on the information that is the most relevant to your business field. The tool has recently introduced artificial intelligence that lets you highlight the topics that are the most relevant to you as you like the ones that appeal to you and dislike those that are not related to your site’s topic at all. Thus, your feed will include content that is the most relevant to you. You can interact with the contacts from the B-list while sharing their publications and featuring articles in your email newsletter. To let them know about your intentions, you can send a short email notification or a direct message on social media platforms.
That’s pretty much it. Creating a custom media database that would feature a hand-picked list of contacts is more effective than buying lists created by someone else. The contacts that you’ve found and pitched are more likely to help you promote your projects for maximum efficiency.
Take an effort to create a media database by yourself. Follow the steps we’ve described above and build a strong network with contacts in your industry.