Media Tools

How to Choose the Best Media List Building Tools

8 Minute Read
By Ciara Byrne

How do you choose the best media list building tools for better media coverage? Read our simple guide below.

Table of Contents:

  • What is a Media List?
  • What are Media List Building Tools?
  • How to use MediaHQ List Building Tools for Better PR
  • How to use a Media Contacts Database to Build Lists
  • Why you Should use Media List Building Tools
  • Media List Building Tools Checklist

What is a Media List?

A media list consists of contact information for journalists and other members of the media who may be interested in covering your story. A media list is generally used by PR and communications professionals to send out press releases to members of the media in a bid to get media coverage of their stories. There are many ways that public relations professionals can create and use media lists, including keeping them together on a spreadsheet and using a media contacts database. The method of keeping contacts on a spreadsheet and using email software to send out releases can be messy and oftentimes results in outdated lists with a low deliverability rate and out-of-date GDPR notes. Choosing to buy media list building tools could mean higher deliverability and media coverage, less time spent updating lists and no time worrying about GDPR.

What are Media List Building Tools?

Media list building tools are tools that make it easier to build, maintain and update lists of media contacts when sending out press releases. Media lists can come in a multitude of forms, including national, regional and specialist journalists in different areas of the media. A media contacts database is a common list building tool and it can facilitate not only the building of accurate lists, but the ease of maintenance and higher deliverability on press release sends.

A media contacts database is an excellent communications tool for creating media lists. Rather than keeping names and email addresses in a spreadsheet and manually updating it every so often, a media contacts database provides many benefits when it comes to media list building. Some of the advantages of using a media contacts database as a list building tool include:

  • Up to date contact information
  • Easy to filter search and create targeted lists.
  • High deliverability rate.
  • Low bounce rate.
  • Easy to keep updated with notifications when a contact on your list has changed roles.
  • Create lists and send press releases under one roof.
  • Contacts on a database are GDPR compliant and ease of updating ensures contacts remain compliant.

A media list building tool will generally come with an easy-to-use search function that allows users to narrow down a search to only contain the contacts they need. If you are investing in a media list building tool, it is essential that you check out the search functionality of the software. 

How to use MediaHQ List Building Tools for Better PR

MediaHQ is a multi-functional tool for PR professionals and communications experts. Here are some of the features of MediaHQ and how they can help you to build and maintain lists for better PR: 

Search function

The search function allows you to search for particular journalists, publications, programmes, supplements or subjects. In this tab, there is also a list of topics that can be used to easily filter search results as well as the option to filter by job title, location and contact type. From this page, you can also create a specialised list in the click of a button, without having to manually add contacts to a spreadsheet.

Watch our video below on how to create a list using the MediaHQ search function:

Lists and Listhub

The lists tab gives access to the lists a user has created or saved. This replaces the outdated spreadsheet of contacts and allows users to send a press release to one or multiple lists in a single click. Listhub contains lists created by the MediaHQ research team which can be copied over by users, saving them time on list creation. 

My Contacts

The ‘My Contacts’ tab allows users to upload and create lists with their own contacts. Some users may want to include non-media contacts in their press release lists and the ‘My Contacts’ feature makes it easy to do this. 

How to use a Media Contacts Database to Build Lists

A media contacts database will offer up to tens of thousands of contacts from a variety of areas, geographically and topically. Having access to this mass of contacts can be daunting, but due to the size of these databases, they often have a powerful search engine that allows you to narrow down your search to locate specific journalists who cover exactly what you are writing about. MediaHQ offers both a general search and a topic search. The topic search suggests different subjects that journalists cover and can help to define a specific list of journalists from a sea of over 50,000. A list can be created from the search function with the click of one button. 

Watch our video below on how to build a media list using a PR Contacts database:

Why you Should use Media List Building Tools

After creating a list, maintenance is key. While it can be time-consuming when contact points are kept on a spreadsheet, with a media contacts database, you will have access to the latest media movements in one place, removing the need to scour the internet for contacts who have changed jobs. MediaHQ takes this one step further and has introduced a list notifier feature, which notifies users when a contact on their list has been updated on the database. 

GDPR is a major element of communications, especially when keeping contact details on a list. A media list building tool will have consent from every contact to use their information for the specific purposes of sending press releases. When maintaining a list of contacts on a spreadsheet, it is essential to regularly update GDPR notes, whereas this is an issue that is solved immediately with a media contacts database.

Good copy and content are integral elements when it comes to the success of your PR. However, your copy could be extremely interesting and newsworthy, but if it doesn’t reach the right audience, that doesn’t matter. Using a PR database can be the missing part of an otherwise great PR strategy. With a PR database, you can search for journalists by topic, location, job title and many other factors, which allows you to distill your target audience into one list. You can create lists for campaigns or individual stories or use lists that have been created by the team behind the PR database to target specific journalists each time. Here are some things you should look out for in a media list building tool:

Regularly updated with media movements

It is essential that a PR database has the latest updates of movements within the industry. The PR database that you choose should give regular updates on journalists who change or leave jobs. This makes it easier to update lists and ensure your deliverability stays high.

High deliverability rate

A high deliverability rate is a must when investing in a PR database. Bouncing emails can severely hinder the PR process so it’s important when using a PR database that you can trust it to deliver to as many contacts as possible. At MediaHQ, we guarantee a 97% deliverability rate for all of your press releases.

Easy to filter and search for journalists

Easily searchable contacts are an integral part of a PR database. The database that you invest in should have an easy way to search for contacts, like a search bar or a suggested topics search which makes it easy to filter through thousands of contacts and find viable journalists for your story.

MediaHQ Search Function

Availability of contacts

Does it have the contacts you are looking for and how many contacts does it have? Ensuring that the PR contacts database you are investing in can provide you with accurate, up-to-date and relevant contacts is a must. At MediaHQ, we have over 50,000 contacts between the UK and Ireland across every area of the media from specialist trade magazines to national newspapers and more.

Is it good value?

Pricing is an important factor to consider when looking into buying a PR contacts database. Does it fit your budget and what package can you get for your budget? Ensure that you check the pricing of different media list building tools before committing to one.

Media List Building Tools Checklist

Here is a checklist of all of the things you need to consider before buying a media list building tool:

  • Do you know the size of the media list building tool you are looking for?
  • Do you know your budget?
  • Have you done a demo with different media database companies?
  • Are you happy with the functionality and features of your chosen media list building tool?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should be ready to choose the right media list building tool for you and start reaping the benefits of a contacts database.

Looking to send your own Press Releases? More than just a Press Release Distribution tool. MediaHQ helps you find journalists, build media lists, distribute press releases and analyse results. The Ultimate PR Tool for Press Teams. Book a Demo below.

Request a demo.

More about Ciara Byrne

Ciara is a Research Executive at MediaHQ. Ciara has a degree in Media and English from DCU and has been working with MediaHQ since graduating in 2019.

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Ciara Byrne

Digital Content Executive at MediaHQ

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