Media Tools

How to choose the best platform for media list building

8 Minute Read
By Ciara Byrne

How do you choose the best platform for media list building? Read our simple guide below on how to choose the perfect platform for all your media list building needs.

Table of contents:

  1. What is a media list?
  2. Why should you build targeted media lists?
  3. Benefits of using a media contacts database to build media lists
  4. How to choose the best media list building platform

What is a media list?

A media list is a collection of contact information for journalists and people in the media who may be interested in covering your story. It contains contact information for journalists and other media contacts and saves PR professionals time when sending out press releases. Media lists are usually specific and targeted towards certain audiences. This adds strategy to your PR, instead of sending press releases en masse, it is important to target the right journalists who may have an interest in covering your story.

Read our expert guide on how to build media lists to get you media coverage.

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:

  • 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.

There are many benefits of using a media contacts database to create and maintain media lists, but a common mistake of communications professionals is purchasing a contacts database and using it to send out press releases to as many journalists as possible. It is important to note that the best use of a media contacts database includes having a strategy for list building and narrowing down your search to only relevant contacts. If you send releases out to hundreds of journalists, the most likely result will be that you end up on the block and spam lists. Targeting your lists to specific journalists who are likely to have an interest in your story will build good working relationships and increase your chances of getting media coverage.

See how you can easily build media lists with MediaHQ below:



Why should you build targeted media lists? 

Media lists can be a great PR tool to improve your communications and ensure that your story is reaching the right audience. It is essential that you research the journalists on your lists, regularly update them and understand the needs and processes of a journalist before sending out press releases. Incorrectly using a media contacts database can lead you to the inbox of journalists who will have no interest in your story and ultimately harm your media campaign. It is essential for this reason to carefully curate your media lists to fit your company, the stories you send out and the audience you want to reach. Here are some things to consider when building a media list:

  • Your location and your target location.
  • The audience you want to reach.
  • The topics that the journalists on your list generally write about.
  • Existing relationships with journalists.
  • What day and time do the journalists work.

As it costs a PR practitioner nothing to send a press release, it can often be tempting to send press releases to as many journalists as possible in the hopes that it will get picked up by a variety of publications. In reality, this method generally does more harm than good as it can be very annoying for journalists to wade through an already full inbox when the majority of content is irrelevant to them.


Check out how MediaHQ keeps your Media Lists up to date with our List Notifier Feature below:


A great habit to get into is making a note every time you find a journalist that you think might be relevant to your work. A media contacts database comes in handy here as you will be able to search their name and find contact information as well as a biography and their social media. This makes it easy to add them to a list or do some more research about them without having to contact them directly for a contact email address or phone number.

Benefits of using a media contacts database to build media lists

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 media contacts database can be the missing part of an otherwise great PR strategy. With a contacts database, you can search for journalists by topic, location, job title and many other factors, which allows you to distil 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 database to target specific journalists each time.


The MediaHQ List Hub



Using a media contacts database can be an excellent way of curating media lists as it gives you access to journalists’ contact information and allows you to filter them by topic. This cuts out the time that would otherwise be spent searching google for appropriate contacts and their email addresses. An effective press release should not need to be distributed to hundreds of journalists to get a good response. Doing careful research into your target audience is essential and narrowing down journalists by topic using a media contacts database is a great way to do this. When you have a list of journalists in front of you who cover the topic of your story, you can check their profiles, see information about stories they have written before and verify if they are a viable contact to add to your list. Here are some major benefits of using a media contacts database to build and maintain your media lists:

Regularly updated with media movements

A media contacts database will have the latest updates of movements within the industry. Having access to regular updates on journalists who change or leave jobs takes away the stress of manually searching for movements. This makes it easier to update lists and ensure your deliverability stays high.


How MediaHQ lets you know about updates on the Dashboard


High deliverability rate

A high deliverability rate is a major benefit of a media contacts database. Bouncing emails can severely hinder the PR process so using a PR database that you can trust means that your press releases will be delivered 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 media contacts database. A search bar or a suggested topics search makes it easy to filter through thousands of contacts and find viable journalists for your story. You can click to add all relevant contacts to a list or add individual contacts from this search result.


The MediaHQ Search Tab


Instead of having to manually update your contact lists while trying to keep up to date with the constantly changing media landscape, a media contacts database will have all of the latest media movements in one place. This will make it easier to keep lists updated and keep bounce levels as low as possible.

How to choose the best media list building platform

  • Choosing a media contacts database is a big task as there are many high-quality databases available currently. Here are some tips on choosing the best media database for you
  • Shop around – When looking for a media contacts database, it is important to get demonstrations of a few different companies, which allows you to compare usability, size and customer engagement from the company.
  • Check the price – Pricing is an important factor to consider when looking into buying a media contacts database. Does it fit your budget and what package can you get for your budget? Ensure that you check different PR database’s for their pricing before committing to one.
  • Get a demo – It is highly advisable to get a demonstration of a media contacts database before investing in a month or year-long subscription. It is important to be taken through how the software works by a customer representative so that you know how it works and what exactly you will get when you invest.

Check out our piece on how to choose the best media contacts database for more information on how to choose the best contacts database for your company.

Media list building platform checklist

Here is a checklist of some of the things to consider when building lists and choosing the best media contacts database for list building:

  1. Do you know your target audience?
  2. Have you made a list of the topics your press releases cover?
  3. Have you done a demo with multiple media contacts databases?
  4. Are you willing to regularly update your media lists?
  5. Does your chosen media contacts database allow you to filter by topic?

These questions are important to consider before investing in media contacts software for list building and will help you to make the right decision for your team.


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.

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.



Ciara Byrne

Digital Content Executive at MediaHQ

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