As you grow as an agency, so do the amount of journalists and influencers you work with. It becomes difficult to keep up to date with what each of them writing, and organize who you know in your excel sheets. Also, your agency has a subscription to a media database, which lets you find journalist contacts and expand your lists.
Your information gets dispersed onto different platforms. It can live either on a media database, many excel sheets, computers, Google sheets, emails, and more. Contacts are an important asset to PR firms. Spending some resources maintaining them is important.
A media database doesn’t have to be a complicated piece of software. It could be even a master excel sheet. You need to come up with a enforceable system to categorize and store your company’s contacts. This article isn’t about switching from a traditional database (like Cision or Meltwater), but using them and your own in conjunction. Don’t hide an external team to build your lists and software for you.
Retain institutional knowledge
When one of your account executive leaves, you lose a lot of information on who they know and communications they have had with them. You lose on the interactions your company had with reporters/publications. This is a long term asset for you.
Since you’re building a company, it becomes necessary to keep this information so you can it in the future. Companies change a lot over years, and a lot of information is lost every year as people leave.
When you have your own media database you can review notes your account executives write, and when they were contacted. You can review these things even after they have left the agency.
Your agency’s own Linkedin
Linkedin allows you to search reporters or influencers on a particular beat or a particular publication. If you’re doing research or trying to learn more about the reporters in a particular vertical, it’s a great way to get started.
Also, Linkedin shows you profiles of reporters of influencers and how many degrees of separation you have with them. At an agency, you could store the same kind of data internally to see which PR professional has interacted with them.
- Don’t hire a software engineer or a consulting team to create the platform from scratch. Use an existing one! You might have to give up some features, but that’s okay.
- Concentrate on the contacts and plan out what kinds of information you want to save on each contact.
- Invest time and resources to transition old media lists and contact information onto a new platform.
There are upfront costs (mostly time) to building your own media database. The benefits of having your own media database start becoming apparent months after building it.
You should be using an existing CRM (Customer relationship management) platform to store your contacts. It adds structure to your media lists, and brings in team interactivity.
If you’re looking for advice, we’d love to talk to you. We’d be happy to get on a call and talk about different solutions you can explore. Please feel free to email me.
Otherwise, subscribe below! We’re going to be sharing tips on how to slowly shift from your media-list driven workflow to using an internal media database.