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How to use a PR contacts database to get better coverage

How do you use a PR contacts database for better media coverage? Read our simple guide below.

Table of contents:

  • What is a PR Contacts Database
  • The Benefits of using a PR Contacts Database
  • How to use MediaHQ’s PR Contacts Database
  • How to choose a PR Contacts Database
  • PR Contacts Database Checklist

What is a PR Contacts Database?

A PR contacts database is a tool used by PR professionals and communications experts to build lists of contacts, distribute press releases, track analytics and much more. It is a multi-function tool that saves communications teams time and energy by taking the grunt work out of PR.

A PR contacts database 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. With a PR contacts database, a user 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 PR software removes the hassle of keeping track of multiple spreadsheets of contacts and significantly reduces bounced emails and increases deliverability. In turn, a PR contacts 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.

The Benefits of using a PR Contacts Database

A PR contacts database is an essential tool for any PR professional when used correctly. Having access to a database full of tens of thousands of contacts will not automatically make your communications strategy failproof but taking the time to get to know the industry and the system can exponentially improve your coverage.

For this, you will need to understand how newsrooms work and get into the mind of a journalist, knowing who to pitch and when, and understanding what performs well and what doesn’t. However, a contacts database can be extremely beneficial in helping you to grow your skills and improve your understanding of the media landscape and how it works. Tens of thousands of contacts, organisations, columns, supplements and programmes may seem overwhelming but a PR contacts database makes it easy to filter these down to relevant searches.

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 PR contacts database will have information on when it airs or goes to print and will often include pitching tips on how best to pitch them.

Here are some reasons you should use a PR contacts database:

Easy to find contacts

A PR contacts database comes with contact details for thousands of journalists, editors and correspondents. MediaHQ boasts over 50,000 contacts between the UK and Ireland. This improves the list building process in many ways, including having searchable contacts categorised by topic, allowing you to add contacts to a list in one click. MediaHQ also makes it easier to keep lists up to date as customers receive a notification when a contact from their list has been updated.

Easy to build and maintain lists

List building can be a tiresome process, especially when it involves trawling through the internet, manually uploading contacts and attempting to keep up with constant changes in the industry to avoid bounces. With a contacts database, the days of manual data entry are in the past. With a topic search function, you simply have to search the topic that your press release covers and you will be able to create a list of journalists who cover this topic in one click.

Many types of PR databases also provide pre-built lists by researchers which are regularly updated and allow for a quick and simple sending process.

GDPR compliance

Staying up-to-date with GDPR is a tedious process but a necessary one. It is possibly the most important element of public relations but can be easily put to the side when there are more important tasks to complete. A PR contacts database mitigates the need to constantly check on contacts as they have permission from individual journalists or organisations to have details on their database.

High deliverability rate

A PR contacts database will guarantee a certain percentage of deliverability for press releases sent through the system. MediaHQ guarantees a minimum of 96% deliverability when sending out press releases, with researchers working daily to resolve bounces as soon as they happen.

Regular media movement updates

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 contacts 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 use MediaHQ’s PR Contacts Database

MediaHQ is a multi-functional tool for PR professionals and communications experts. Here are some of the features of MediaHQ and how they can be used to improve your media coverage:


The dashboard is the first page that opens when using MediaHQ and includes a newsfeed which 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.

Watch our video 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.

News Diary

The News Diary feature includes the dates of upcoming events - locally, nationally and internationally. This feature makes it easy to plan press releases based around events or days of interest in advance and has the option to create a release based on a diary entry.

How to choose a PR Contacts Database

Choosing a PR contacts database is a major task as there are many high-quality databases available currently.

Here are some tips on choosing the best PR database for you:

  1. 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.
  2. Is it kept up to date? When choosing a PR contacts database, it is essential that the contacts are regularly updated, as this reduces bounce rates and ensures that your press release is reaching the right people. Does the contacts database guarantee a delivery rate? MediaHQ guarantees at least 97% delivery on over 50,000 contacts.
  3. What functionality does it have? Does it perform the basic functions of press release sending or include others like list-building tools, news diaries and media movements that may be of value to your communications strategy?
  4. Is it easy to use? When learning how to use new software, if it is not intuitive it’s likely that you won’t use it as often as you should. Consider how user-friendly it is before investing.
  5. What are the reports like? Before investing in a PR contacts database, it is worth reading some customer testimonials and getting a rounded view of how others use it and how long they’ve used it.
  6. Is it good value? Pricing is an important factor to consider when looking into buying a 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.

PR Contacts Database Checklist

Here is a checklist of all of the things you need to consider when choosing a PR contacts database:

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

If you answered yes to these questions, you should be ready to choose the best PR contacts database for your company.

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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