Choosing the best media database for your Digital PR

Having a good list of media contacts can be helpful when conducting PR.

It can help you establish and maintain contact with a group of journalists, bloggers, and influencers that are interested in covering topics related to your organization.

What these databases are NOT is a way to SPAM a large group of journalists with unwanted pitches.

Like any relationship, a relationship with a journalist should be started on a 1-to-1 basis and then maintained over a period of time.

Here is a list of PR Tools for every budget that can help you with your PR work.


Prowly is a favorite PR software of mine because you get over a million media contacts, and the price is listed on the website.

It was recently purchased by SEMRush, which means there may even be more integration coming down the road.

You can sign-up for a 7-day trial and give everything a whirl before you decide to purchase. It has:

Media Database

Press Release Creator and Distributor

Media Pitching Tool


Online Newsroom

I found the interface very easy to use. It was simple and intuitive.

The biggest advantage with Prowly is the number of journalists in the media database and the cost when compared to the others listed below.

I will say that the CRM and Online Newsroom were not very useful for me personally when I tested them.

The CRM is maintained on the website and does not sync with any CRM you are already using.

Additionally, the Newsroom is a Prowly page that can be set up using a subdomain of your URL. My personal preference would be to make a press release page on my own website which will stay active with or without the Prowly subscription.

Overall, this is a great option for many small and medium-sized organizations if you’re needing some PR resources to accompany your other digital communication efforts.



MuckRack lets you “discover the best journalists to pitch on any story based on their profiles in our extensive media database, or through our comprehensive search engine covering the articles they’ve written and the content they share on social media.”

One of the benefits of MuckRack over all the other options is that they have a free, albeit a limited version available for use.

As an example, you can enter a topic and search for relevant contacts, and MuckRack will provide you with five contacts and then let you know how many other contacts are available should you want to do the Demo and pay for the service.

For PR Pros, it has:

Media Database

Monitoring and Alerts



Reporting and Measurement

For someone who has spent most of my time in the PR industry, I found the interface very useful and there was a nice set of filters to get down to a small, specific list of people you are looking for.

You can search the major categories of People, Articles, and Media Outlets, and then each of those categories can be further refined through a set of variables like city, state, market, beat, language, media type, etc.

MuckRack does not list its pricing, so you will have to contact them to get a quote.



I’ve used Meltwater in a large organization and it is a very powerful tool.

This is the first one on the list that starts to branch out from just being a journalist database and includes other aspects of PR.

It has the following categories of products:

Explore and Monitor, which includes media monitoring, social listening, and consumer insights

Engage and Influence, which includes social media publishing, engagement, marketing, and the media database

Distribute and Alert, which includes newsletters and newsfeeds, press distribution, and real-time alerts

Analyze and Report, which includes social media analytics and customized reports

One of the benefits of Meltwater is that it has packages that can be added or deleted, which allows you to customize the services you are paying for.

For example, if you don’t need the social media aspects, then you don’t have to include them in your package.

They also have a very good onboarding process for you and the team. With all the tools available for use, I think it is worthwhile to sit down and go through the onboarding overview so that you maximize the software and get a good return on your investment.

Meltwater does not list its pricing, but you can request a demo and start talking to a sales agent about options.




Cision began its run as a PR SaaS company more than a decade ago and it has continued to grow and expand through mergers with other companies.

I used a piece of PR software called Vocus around the 2005-2006 timeframe which was purchased by and merged with Cision in 2014.

Since 2014, it has also added PRIME Research, PR Newswire, and most recently Brandwatch.

Similar to Meltwater, Cision is full-service PR software. It has:

Media Monitoring

Relationship Management

Audience and Attribution

Analysis and Reporting

Online Newsroom

This is the only one I have not used personally (since it was Vocus), but have talked to many individuals that work in large organizations that have used it.

These larger PR software companies are meant to be used for larger organizations and it really takes a team that uses this on a day-to-day basis to get maximum return for the money you are going to spend on it.

It also has customized packages and requires an onboarding process to get started.

If you are a larger organization looking for full-service PR software, Cision should be one of the options to take a look at.

Build Your Own

Media Relations is about establishing a mutually beneficial relationship between yourself and a journalist, writer, or influencer.

If you live in a city and your organization is locally or regionally focused, you may not even need PR software.

You can reach out and find contacts and outlets on your own.

If you are looking for contacts and are unable to find them through a simple Google or social media search, some websites sell media lists.

The information on these lists can become quickly outdated and I’ve heard a variety of mixed reviews on those that have gone this route.

Whatever you do, don’t SPAM a journalist with unwanted emails, newsletters, and pitches.

Use any of these services as merely a starting point to establish contact, and then work the relationship if there is a mutual interest in moving forward.


This post may contain affiliate links. Click here for my disclaimer.

Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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