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Using databases: the importance of recency

Using databases: the importance of recency

“We thought this could be a good fit for Evening Standard?” So went the exact wording and formatting of an invite that I recently received, including that bold text.

The ‘Evening Standard’ part was clearly added to a template email, one which didn’t allow for a prior ‘the’. It must have been added, in my case, because a database (paid-for or otherwise) or spreadsheet stipulated the newspaper as a title for which I write. Here’s the thing, though: I haven’t contributed to the Standard since November 2019. That’s not to say I won’t do so again (I hope to!), but it’s long enough that the email took me aback.

(In some ways, it must be said, this invite impresses. Telling me which of my regular outlets you will accept is helpful – this hearkens back to my previous plea for and pledge of straight talking.)

I presume some databases say I write for the Standard because this was once the case, quite regularly. Not Roxhill’s, though: sensibly, they revoke a freelancer’s status as ‘contributor’ if he or she hasn’t written for the said publication in the past 6-12 months.

If you’re using another database without that canny recency filter, however, the obvious tack would be to cross-check your information – to google “richard mellor” + “evening standard” and establish when my last piece came out. That being said, I fully appreciate that a busy PR sending out 100 invites can’t possibly spare the time to do this with each journalist.

In which case, what’s the solution? Either slim down your target list to a size which makes such research feasible, add/demand a recency filter for your database, or…sign up to a better one.

What Richard thinks…

“As indicated by the reliable coverage, Christine does an excellent job with her sporadic Post Office Money releases — especially the initial bullet points giving me the scoop”

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A thoughtful gesture


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