Digital vs Legacy: Why you need to stop using a contacts book


PR practices are ever changing.

No longer do PR pros have to spend hours scanning newspapers and magazines to check on how their clients are being perceived by the press. New media monitoring services have helped to take the grunt work out of our daily schedules, freeing up more time for creativity and experimentation with your campaigns, which is essential in today’s industry.

Maintaining media contacts has also gotten a lot easier for. Gone are the days of compiling full media lists by hand, then having to type them out on an old typewriter for them to be filed, to never be checked again until the following year. Digital practices have opened up new, more direct avenues of communication between PR pro and journalist.

However, it doesn’t come as a shock to hear that some execs are still relying on a printed book, personal contacts book or even old, mismanaged spreadsheets (which are probably not GDPR compliant) to help send press releases. Old habits die hard which mean newer processes can be met with much resistance.

We here at MediaHQ understand this better than most. We are a Saas business which originally started out as a printed book which was published annually. In 2009 we moved our platform online and rebranded as MediaHQ before ceasing publication of a printed media contacts directory in 2015. Having worked on the printed directory for a number of years we know the difficulty of working based on outdated methods. Here are just a few of many reasons why a contacts book doesn’t work…

Media is constantly moving

If you maintain your own database of media contacts then fair play to you… that is assuming you update it regularly and monitor your bounces. Speaking from experience, that is probably not happening as much as you’d like. And that’s understandable. Maintaining a database is hard work as things can change at any given time. The same goes for using a physical book. A book may only get published once a year and as the year goes on, the information in that book begins to lessen in value as journalists move jobs or leave the industry altogether.

Working offline is time-consuming

Having the information on paper is good for convenience, however, it’s not much use to you when you need to send an urgent release. The actual effort and time it takes to type out individual email addresses can take away from the precious few hours in your day. Enough time is taken up writing press releases so this can just be a pain really.

Books damage easier than machines

So you’ve got your book of contacts, the sun is shining and you’re on the way into the office to send a vital press release. All is well right? Well, it was until you’ve dropped your nice physical book into a puddle and it’s just completely ruined. The ink runs off like mascara when it meets tears and you’re feeling quite similar.

Ok this is quite a rare example we know but the sentiment remains the same. Having a physical…well…anything comes with a risk of breaking or getting lost (which again is a massive GDPR issue). Cloud technologies allow for the convenience of having your data stored online where it can be accessed anywhere.  So dry your eyes and start taking advantage of this. Your clients will thank you later.

So now you have your head out of the book, where do you go next? MediaHQ is fantastic online service which allows you to build and send press releases to over 6,500 contacts within our database. Need more info? Click here or call Gaye at 01 254 1845!