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Creating a media database

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

You may not always have the budget for an agency or the team resources or skills to run PR. While this may make your life a lot harder, it doesn’t have to mean that you have no easy way of sending your news off to the media. It is possible to create your very own media database.

By using a little time, effort and networking, you can come up with a highly targeted list of your favourite media relatively easily. While it won’t ever be as comprehensive and detailed as one owned by a PR company, it’s a great place to start and once you’ve been able to build your business/brand on a shoestring, hopefully the finances will follow so in the future you can employ a company to take a more professional approach to your media communications.

So, here are a few of our top tips on how to create your own media database using the free tools at your fingertips:

  • Twitter - Almost every journalist we know is on Twitter and most are very actively using the platform to seek ideas for stories and engage with relevant businesses. Initially if you don’t know the name of the journalists you may wish to connect with, try just connecting with the name of the publication.

The Sunday Times for example, follow the posts from the title and see who re-tweets or interacts, also look at who they follow - titles will often follow their own writers. You can also search the title by name and see if people’s profiles list that within their text. You can also quite simply search ‘journalist’ in the search bar. A lot of media will use this word in their profile and it will throw up a hefty list to search through.

For freelancers and bloggers, search by these words and also topics relevant to your business, whether that is a travel company, food and beverage business or a tech start-up.

  • Linkedin - similar to Twitter, many journalists have profiles on LinkedIn - easily found by searching for the publication’s name and who works there. Send an invitation to connect explaining that you are the owner of xx business.

Once you're connected you can interact more freely and find out if they’d be interested to know more about your business. Ask if you can add their details to a database you’ll use for issuing press releases and other relevant news.

  • Publication’s own websites - Trade titles in particular, tend to list their staff and contact details on the ‘about us’ or ‘contact us’ sections of websites. If you know your sector and the trade titles that operate within that, look them up.

  • Inside covers of magazines - Most magazines (even digital ones) list staff on one of the early pages within the title. If you can figure out what the general rule is for their emails, first for example, give it a try for the person you want to reach. If it’s not right it’ll bounce back, keep trying until one works.

  • Google - Don’t forget to keep it simple and try Google. This is great if you know the name of the person you want to reach. We search for everything these days on Google, so why not use it to help create a list of relevant contacts.

  • Subscription services - Finally and for sure the most expensive option is to sign up to a media database subscription service. These, however, cost thousands per year and if you’re not used to using them can be tricky to navigate. To be honest, if you’ve decided to go down this route, you might find your finances better spent by employing an agency to handle your media relations as this sort of service will come as part of their offering.

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