Creating a Media Contact Database

By Tina L. Pugliese, APR, Pugliese Public Relations

tina puglieseYou cannot underestimate the importance of maintaining and continually updating your database of media contacts who have an explicit or implied interest in your organization.

Directories available in your local reference library list publications of every description, giving the full particulars of their readership, editorial staff, often with contact information, circulation, publication frequency, areas of coverage, and other relevant information. Consulting these directories is the first step towards building your media database.

Time must be spent in researching names and contact information for your database. You will need to know the audiences of each publication, names of key editors, these editors' responsibilities, the dates of special-focus issues, and more. This information will allow you to do a better job of targeting your news to the right media contacts. For instance, there may be occasions when you want your news to reach certain editors but not others.

Your news may only concern a portion of your database, such as the technology community. Your research (and later, direct experience) will tell you that only certain editors will be interested. In short, there is a lot of homework to be done identifying the news media related to your area and learning the specifics about them. The more information your database contains, the more valuable the information will be to you.

Before you contact any editor, you need to know where to call, email, or write. While you could easily spend thousands of dollars buying or subscribing to directories, you do not need to. As mentioned above, your library probably has several subscriptions on hand.

Again, you may find local media contacts and organizations in your local telephone directories. Here are some categories to start you on your way (your local Yellow Pages may list these under different headings).  You can also perform an Internet search to find this information:

Once you have created a list of potential editors to contact, find out as much as you can about their publication, coverage areas, and special interests. Become familiar with their publication, their Website, or their broadcast. Get to know the beats (coverage areas) of specific reporters.

Tina L. Pugliese, APR is an executive coach and counselor for Pugliese Public Relations, a communications firm in Boynton Beach, Florida. Pugliese is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, and is the author of the book, Public Relations for Pharmacists, and e-books, Marketing Your Business for Success, How To Work With The Media, and Public Relations Manual — A Guide for Entrepreneurs.  She can be reached at (561) 889-3575 and by email at  Her web site is

Article excerpted from e-book, Public Relations Manual — A Guide for Entrepreneurs, by Tina L. Pugliese, APR.


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