How to Keep Track of Your Media Contacts
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It’s important to keep track of the names, addresses and phone numbers, and other facts about the reporters who cover your product category. You may choose to track this information manually, or to enter it into a simple word processing or spreadsheet file, or to set up a computer database. Having this information in a database can be especially helpful. Depending upon the database software you use, you can print labels, form letters and envelopes, priority lists, telephone directories, progress reports, call-back lists, and the like.
Creating a database can be relatively easy. If you (or an associate) are computer literate, you may have the expertise to create and use a database within a few minutes. Simple “flat-file” databases can be set up rather inexpensively using commercially available products. There are many good ones available on the market, in every price range and level of sophistication. Your computer retailer will be able to help you select one that meets your needs now, and will accommodate your expected growth in the future.
When you create your database, be sure to include these “basic” fields along with any “custom” fields for your specific needs:
• Priority: A/B/C
• First name
• Last name
• Syndicated: Yes/No
• Address 1
• Address 2
• Zip Code
Allow at least 10 character spaces to accommodate 9-digit zip codes and most international postal codes.
• Freelance: Yes /No
• Products sent/date
• For Computer Press Only, include a field for System (IBM compatible, Macintosh, etc.).
Creating a database that includes these fields will give you flexibility to create labels, letters and reports. The database will also make contacting journalists easier since you’ll have all their information in one place.