There are tons of features available in today's media database solutions.
The big question is which features are right for your business' PR needs. While some of the more advanced media database features were designed with PR professionals in mind, many of the features can come in handy for even a modest sized PR campaign in a small business.
Depending on the media database provider, some features are included in the standard package while others require the purchase of a premium access package or other add-ons. You'll need to check with your provider and do a cost/benefit analysis for each feature – but here are some of the common features you can expect to find when you start down the path of buying a media database:
- Size of database. Standard access packages contain searchable contact information for thousands of print, broadcast, and online media contacts. Some providers offer the contact information for millions of journalists as part of their premium package. Either way, you should expect to have no shortage of qualified contacts for your next PR pitch.
- Journalist information. Although it's usually a premium access feature, the best media database providers go well beyond simple journalist contact information, offering detailed information about each journalist. If you're willing to pay for it, they will you things like the journalists work history, recent clips, and preferred pitch method.
- Updating. Media contacts move around a lot, even within the same company. It's not unusual for a journalist to change jobs or desks up to four times a year. Frequent updating (usually daily) is one of the benefits of using a media database – and a non-negotiable feature for business owners and PR pros.
- "New Media" contacts. Online media, social media, and blogging now represent a sizeable piece of the PR pie. In response, even average media databases have incorporated features that make it easier to identify and contact bloggers and other online journalists.
- Add-ons. There are a variety of other add-on features like access to editorial calendars and additional media opportunities (e.g. tradeshows) that are worth exploring. You probably don't need all of them, but it's nice to know about the kinds of services your provider is capable of delivering.
- Exporting. Believe it or not, the ability to export in multiple formats is probably one of the most important features your media database provider can offer. Once you've compiled a list of targeted media contacts, you have to be able to do something with it – and the best providers give you the ability to export it in Excel, Adobe PDF, and even mailing label formats.