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The importance of a good database

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The importance of a good database

Last week I received two emails whose opening line belied their respective agencies’ outdated databases (or the shoddiness of the provided one they use) and, more generally, a lack of care.

The first began “Dear Evening Standard team…” Hmm. I’d estimate I’ve written five to ten articles for the Standard in eight years, and I’ve never once worked on the travel desk. So I’m certainly not part of the team, and never was. I quickly binned this email.

The second asked me to consider something for my regular “Metro page” as it might suit “my readers”. Alas, said Metro page, Travel News Extra, has been in cold storage since the early knockings of the pandemic and shows no sign of a return. This message also ended up in the trash can.

Above all, this shows the value of a decent, well-maintained database. It’s not that I’m offended by these messages — I’m not so arrogant that I think every travel PR needs to be aware of my every move — but they’re hardly impressive (in the same way that someone really up to date does stand out). With an ever-overflowing inbox, I’m also looking for any excuse to not read something, to chuck it, to restore some order. Emails like these, seemingly off-target from the start, easily fall victim to that.

There’s also something unappealingly impersonal about the first message; a sort of ‘cover all bases’ approach; essentially, “send it to everyone we know who’s ever written for the Standard and it might stick somewhere.” That’s the vibe, anyway. In reality, it’s probably more to do with an ‘Evening Standard’ box in a database being ticked.

I recall from my PR days that there was always something better (and frankly more fun) to do than update a media database. But it is well worth doing, as is shopping around for the best paid one.

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What Richard Thinks…

“Here is an example of a French press release. They tend to be shorter and more lyrical; not all use as much bold!”

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