Whether you’ve maintained a curated list for years or are wetting your feet and looking into a paid solution, a media contact database is a powerful tool to help build relationships and amplify your campaign. But you need to be smart in how you use and manage your database─mass emails to anonymous contacts and working with outdated data can render your efforts ineffective.
Here are 5 ways to help make sure your media database outreach yields the best results.
- Create a “Key Term” List Related to Your Search
Work smarter, not necessarily harder, to maximize the potential of your media database. Rather than searching by journalist or industry, many let you search by key phrases or terms, which can reveal niches and opportunities that perhaps weren’t initially obvious. Media and influencer databases can often aggregate multiple streams of information on a contact, including their recent articles or posts, Twitter and other social media feeds, as well as similar reports/influencers, all in one place.
Creating a list of key terms of phrases before you begin your search is also useful, as many media and influencer databases will allow you to search through a “talking about” filter. This lets you input your key terms or phrases and be directed to the relevant contact(s). Additionally, it may be fruitful to go directly to an outlet’s webpage and search for your key terms and phrases there to find out who has previously written about similar topics. You can also try a reverse search and search by target location to discover new outlets rather than searching for a specific reporter or influencer.
- Cross-Reference Competitor Media Coverage
While your initial reaction may be to keep competitors at arm’s length, monitoring their PR and marketing efforts can prove useful in garnering new media contacts. It can be frustrating to see your competition land a great media placement, but the silver lining is that you’re now privy to that media or influencer contact. Make a note of the editor or reporter who worked on the story and find their contact information using their outlet’s website or social media platforms. Add them to your contact list with a note referencing their coverage of your competitor. You can mention this coverage in the future when you reach out to them with your own pitch.
- Don’t be Afraid to Dive into Niches
While pitching bigger, more traditional media conglomerates has merits and can often yield favorable results, it’s also important to discover reporters at smaller publications, bloggers and influencers with niche beats. Curating lists within your database that you can use for different types of pitches or to even spin the same story in a different way to appeal to a niche list of contacts.
This is where knowing your contacts can come in extremely handy. For example, you may have a trusted contact who writes about business issues but has a personal penchant for fashion. This is information that you can leverage depending on your outreach needs. Further, by segmenting your database into tailored lists of reporters or influencers who cover niche topics, your chances of securing coverage increase.
- Tailor Your Pitch
Sending a generic, mass email to your entire database is never appropriate. It not only sends your pitch to many recipients who aren’t interested, but the impersonal tone of the email will likely put many recipients off. Remember, your contacts are busy, and you need to respect their time by targeting the most relevant information to the right people. Tailor your pitches to specific reporters or influencers based upon their professional (or even personal) interests, and when it’s appropriate, you can personalize your email to optimize the likelihood of receiving a response. Get to know your contacts both professionally and personally. Building long-term relationships takes time and effort, but those who play the long game are likely to reap the rewards of curating a powerful media database and strong professional relationships.
- Maintain and Update Your Database Regularly
Think of your media and influencer contact database as a working draft─you should make additions and deletions and keep the content as current as possible. It’s important that the information within your database is always accurate and is updated regularly to reflect the changes in the media environment. Press contact and distribution platforms will often publish the latest news on media moves. It’s also good practice to connect with your media contacts on LinkedIn to stay on top of job changes.
While receiving bounce backs to your emails may feel frustrating, they can potentially be a wealth of information. Who’s on holiday, who’s covering for your contact, who has left the organization and who has replaced them…these are important pieces of information you can gather from auto-response emails. If, however, you’ve received no response from any given contact despite trying to contact them several times, it may be time to move on and research alternate contacts.
Pitching your story to journalists and influencers can be difficult, even with a newsworthy event and relevant content. By using a media contacts database, you can greatly improve your media engagement, build more targeted lists and identify opportunities for coverage. Your ability to better target your outreach and tailor your pitches will also help you develop stronger, more genuine relationships.
To learn more about media and influencer databases, contact us via email. We’d love to discuss a solution that is right for your company.