Whether you're a business leader or a PR professional, your promotional efforts are limited by your ability to pitch the right media contacts.
Finding the right media contacts on your own isn't easy – you need a resource that enables you to quickly and conveniently locate current contact information for targeted print, broadcast, and online journalists.
And that's where media databases come in. A reliable media database gives you access to media professionals who can communicate your story to the world. But before you get started, you're going to have to know how to use your media database most effectively – and that means avoiding these common mistakes that plague many media database users:
- Broad search criteria. The whole point of a media database is that it's supposed to increase your ability to conduct targeted media searches. But targeted media searches can only happen if you input appropriately narrow key phrases into your database's search mechanism. Too many media database users enter key phrases that deliver unfocused results (e.g. entering "small business" instead of "small business technology industry").
- No parallel search efforts. Media databases are useful, but they aren't foolproof and they aren't capable of painting a complete picture of every journalist or reporter. After your database has identified a list of qualified media contacts, it's advisable to perform parallel research via the publication's website, published clips, and search engines.
- Lack of vertical awareness. Many journalists' interests and writing credits cover a wider range of topics than their current beat assignment. Journalists who don't appear in your database can be found through Google alerts, trade publications, and other avenues. The best part is that since these journalists are off the database's radar, you won't have as much competition when it's time for the pitch.
- Stale lists. Media databases are updated daily because contact information changes quickly in the media community. The stale list you printed out six months ago can easily sabotage your PR efforts and cause you to miss key media contacts.
- The wrong media database for the job. There are a lot of media database providers out there and it's easy to buy one that has either the wrong features or too many features altogether. Do your research to make sure the database access you have is the access your PR efforts require.