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How to use a journalist database to send a press release

How do you use a journalist database for better media coverage? Read our expert guide below on how to send a press release using a journalist database.

Table of contents:

  • What is a journalist database?
  • What are the benefits of using a journalist database?
  • How to send a press release using a journalist
  • Things to consider when choosing a journalist database
  • Journalist database checklist

What is a journalist database?

A journalist database is a software that contains contact information for journalists across different fields of the media. It is often used by PR professionals to create media lists, send out press releases and track email analytics. A journalist database is a multi-function tool that saves time, improves accuracy and can contribute to better media coverage of a campaign or story. It contains contact information for journalists, presenters, editors and those in the media, often divided up by publication or the topics that they cover. This makes list creation easier than ever, as all it takes is a simple search and the click of a button to put together a curated list of specialists in the area that your press release covers.

Enlisting the help of a database saves PR and communications professionals time that they could otherwise spend creating newsworthy stories. With a journalist database, users can also upload their own contacts, see when a contact on their list has been updated or removed and add media to their press releases. Using a database removes the hassle of keeping track of multiple spreadsheets of contacts and significantly reduces bounced emails and increases deliverability.

In turn, a journalist database removes the need to scour the internet for role changes of the contacts on your list as users are notified when these changes occur. A journalist database solves the issues of using messy spreadsheets to keep track of contacts sending limits resulting in emails being marked as spam and endless hours of updating contact lists. By keeping track of media movements through a newsfeed, contacting journalists to ensure that contacts are GDPR compliant and using unique software that ensures that press releases are sent and delivered to contacts primary folders and not their spam folders, a database takes the grunt work out of PR.

There are many extra features that can also be accessed when using a journalist database like MediaHQ. These include a News Diary, email analytics, Own Contacts uploader, lists built by a research team and a gallery to keep logos and photos together.

What are the benefits of using a journalist database?

A journalist database provides many benefits to communications teams and PR professionals. It is an essential tool that, when used correctly, can increase media coverage, help to build media relations, cut down on time spent building and maintaining media lists and ensure higher deliverability. A database contains contact information for journalists, editors and columnists, as well as organisations, columns and supplements.

Though tens of thousands of contacts may seem overwhelming, the search feature of a database makes it easy to navigate and narrow down your search into only relevant contacts. As each contact has a profile with details of their role, previous roles, their social media and the topics they cover, this removes the need to scour the internet for information about each contact on your list.

Similarly, if you want to pitch to a programme or supplement, a journalist database will have information on when it airs or goes to print and will often include pitching tips on how best to pitch them. A journalist database can also be used to distribute press releases in a quick and easy way that bypasses spam filters and increases deliverability.

Press release distribution is one of the most important elements of work as a PR practitioner and getting it wrong can mean little to no press coverage and a lot of wasted hours. Getting it right however can positively impact your sales, increase ROI and bring positive coverage to your business.

Here are some benefits of using a journalist database for PR outreach:

Easy to find contacts

A journalist database makes it easier than ever to find journalists' contact details and add them to a media list. Using the search function or topic search features of a journalist database allows users to refine tens of thousands of contacts into only those who are relevant.

What’s more, it negates the need to search the internet for relevant journalists and their contact details. As a database is made up solely of media contacts and contains contact information for each one, it ensures that media lists will be accurate and take minutes to build and maintain, rather than hours.

Here is a quick tutorial on how to use the MediaHQ search engine and topic search.

Easy to build lists

As a journalist database will have a search function and possibly a topic search, this makes refining your search to relevant contacts an easy job. Once you have relevant search results, the list-building process is a matter of ticking boxes.

Simply click the contacts that you want to add to your list, or click the box at the top of the screen to add all contacts. From here, users can create a new list or add to an existing list.

Here is a quick video explaining how to build a list using the MediaHQ database.

Easy to find media movements

With a journalist database, it is easy to keep up to date with the latest media movements, which in turn makes it easy to keep media lists up to date. When sending out press releases, it is imperative to stay on top of media movements so that lists are as up-to-date and accurate as possible. With a journalist database, users will be notified via a newsfeed when a journalist has been added, updated or removed from the database as a result of a change in roles.

MediaHQ also has a List Notifier that lets users know when a contact on their list has been modified on the system. Having media movements in one place mitigates the need to keep track of changes from around the internet and saves important time for PR professionals.

How to send a press release using a journalist database

A journalist database is an all-in-one tool that makes it easy to distribute press releases in-app. Press release distribution can be the key element in getting your story to make the news. When your story gets good coverage in the press, it can lead to increased revenue, higher website traffic and more public awareness. A journalist database can be a cost-effective way to keep your company in the public eye and help you to tell stories that matter.

Here are some ways to use a journalist database to send a press release:


The dashboard is the first page that opens when using MediaHQ and includes a Newsfeed that is updated on an hourly basis with the latest media news and movements, as well as Google’s top stories.

The dashboard mitigates the need to search the internet for contacts on your lists who have moved jobs and the List Notifier function will let you know when any of the contacts on your lists have been updated.

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 at the click of a button, without having to manually add contacts to a spreadsheet.

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.

Things to consider when choosing a journalist database

There are many journalist databases available, but choosing the right one for your business is important. Different services offer different features and it is worth getting a demo with a few different companies to figure out the best one for you based on features, usability, customer service and cost.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a press release service:

  • Does it have the contacts you are looking for?
  • Is it easy to search for journalists?
  • Is there a guaranteed high deliverability rate?
  • Is it easy to use and navigate?
  • Is it regularly updated with media movements?
  • Is it good value for money?

Journalist database checklist

Here are some things to consider before using a journalist database to distribute press releases:
  • Have you put together contact lists using the search function?
  • Have you researched the journalists on your lists?
  • Is your list up to date?
  • Have you tried out different journalist databases to find the one that works for you?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are ready to up your press release game using a press release service.

About MediaHQ

MediaHQ is a world-leading media contacts database and press release distribution tool. The software helps the world’s top PR and communications teams connect their stories with their audience



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