When, Where & How to Buy Media Lists for PR?

Having well-organized media lists with quality contacts is the first step in developing relationships with the press and, ultimately, getting coverage. But how can you start building these relationships if you don’t have any relevant media contacts yet? 

Buying media lists for your PR efforts might suddenly seem like a good option. The truth is: You can find plenty of ready-made media lists and resources to purchase, but not all of these PR lists are actually worth buying. Here’s when, where, and how to buy a media list for PR.     



Buying media lists for PR: When should you purchase media contacts?

Searching for relevant media outlets and journalists can be extremely time-consuming, especially if you’re new to PR or a specific industry.  

Buying PR lists happens to be the easiest and quickest way of finding media contacts, which saves you a lot of time in the long run. After all, such media lists are already made and waiting to be used, so there’s not a lot of effort needed from your side. 

It doesn’t mean that it’s the best way, though.

  • When buying media lists, you might find a lot of contact information outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete. The media landscape changes all the time, and plenty of media lists that are available to purchase are not updated regularly.
  • Media contact lists available for sale can be bought by many other PR practitioners. Journalists already receive more email pitches than they can handle, and sharing the exact same PR list with other people means that your recipients are likely to be overwhelmed and annoyed by the number of media pitches they’ve already received.
  • When you buy a media list, you can be tempted to send an email pitch to all of your new contacts at once. No matter how tempting it is, don’t do it if you want to protect your reputation as an email sender. Sending mass emails to hundreds of recipients can quickly get you labeled as a spammer. 
  • Not to mention that targeting “popular” media contacts and sending mass emails without any personalization affect the open, click, and response rates of your PR outreach campaign, as well as your chances of getting coverage. 

Should you buy a PR list, then? It depends. Buying media lists can be a good idea if you have no connections, and you’re not sure who to approach in order to start building meaningful media relationships. PR lists that you purchase can then serve as a great source of inspiration, helping you take your PR outreach campaign off the ground. 

There’s no shame in purchasing media contacts, but you should still validate and organize every media list you buy.


Where can you purchase PR lists?

There are generally two ways to buy media lists: 


1. Purchasing access to a media database and creating your own personalized media lists. 

As already mentioned, the media landscape changes all the time, which makes it difficult for many media list providers to keep them accurate and up-to-date.

If you want to buy media contacts, a better alternative to those buying ready-made PR lists can be securing access to a regularly updated media database and investing more time into building media relationships.

Prowly PR Software - Media Contacts





A media database gives you access to every single media contact available (as long as they’re in the database), which basically means that you always have relevant journalists to pitch at your fingerprints. 

Ultimately, a sign of a great PR Pro is that they are organized and have clarity when they are pitching. The contacts they are reaching out to are an ideal fit for their client and their client’s topic. I do use PR software to import media lists, and I recommend all PR pros purchase media database software of some sort. It is impossible to garner the hundreds of thousands of contacts you will need throughout your career by hand.Jennifer Mancini, Mancini Media Strategy 

Some media databases like Prowly also offer the ability to use a PR CRM, segment your new media contacts, and make your own targeted media list. It’s a much more effective alternative to buying media lists, which can never be fully tailored to your needs.


2. Buying ready-made media lists that cover a specific beat and/or location.

Buying a ready-made media list might actually be quite cheap, but it all depends on what media contacts you’re after. To give you a few examples: 

Media Contacts List offers US media contacts, with the prices ranging from $25 to $1200 depending on the list. You can filter them by State, Industry, Media Type, or Area of Coverage to narrow down your choices.   

Buying a media list with Media Contacts List
Buying a media list with Media Contacts List


Easy Media List lets you purchase media lists with American contacts. Yet again, the prices vary depending on the contacts you’re after: you can buy media contact lists covering American city or state local news media, national news media (organized by topic), the top 100 American newspapers, alternative news media, or Spanish language newspapers in the US. 

Buying a media list with Easy Media List
Buying a media list with Easy Media List


Media Contacts Pro, on the other hand, provides access to various media lists with contact data for Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand that you can purchase. Even though it looks promising, the choice of PR lists seems quite limited. The prices vary from $19 to $149. 

Buying a media list with Media Contacts Pro
Buying a media list with Media Contacts Pro


PRontheGO offers international journalist and influencer contacts categorized by topics, meant specifically for startups and small business owners. When you pick and buy a media list, you’ll receive a workable Excel sheet with the addresses, telephone numbers, and email contacts of editorial departments and editors. All lists are updated on a monthly basis. 

Buying a media list with PRontheGO
Buying a media list with PRontheGO


How to buy a media contact list, then? 

If you end up buying a media list, there are a few things you should take into account: 

  1. Consider buying a media list from a trustworthy source. If you’re not sure whether the media list provider is legit, try searching for customer reviews, and don’t hesitate to ask around before you purchase a media list. 
  2. Check when were the media contacts updated. There’s no use spending money on outdated and inaccurate media lists.
  3. Figure out what information is covered by the media list (or database). What types of media outlets and contact information are included? Don’t buy media lists unless you know what details are inside. 
  4. Look for a sample or preview. Some media list providers offer a sample to show you what you can expect from the purchased media list.
  5. Check if the media list is searchable and sortable. It will make it easier for you to organize it properly once you buy a PR list (especially if you want to import it to a PR CRM tool). 
  6. If you’re buying ready-made media lists: sanitize all purchased media contacts to make sure they are valid before you start pitching.  
  7. Segment your new media contacts. You’ve already saved a lot of time researching the media landscape from scratch, so you might as well spend some to get to know your contacts better and organize your media list.
  8. Don’t send mass email pitches to your newly-acquired media contacts. Bombarding multiple recipients with frequent email pitches will quickly get your messages marked as spam. 
  9. Track all your interactions with these media contacts, and stop sending email pitches if they don’t engage. 

There you have it. By following these tips, you should be able to buy the right media list and make the most of it afterward. 


Purchase media contacts with Prowly 

With Prowly, you can find relevant media outlets and journalists from all over the world. There are over 1 000 000 media contacts at your disposal which are updated daily to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Simply specify the location and filter the results (by topic, role, and outlet) to create the best PR list for your needs.  

The basic plan starts at $189/mo, which lets you export 1000 media contacts. More advanced plan includes 3000 media contacts, for $219.

You can choose flexible monthly payments, and change your plan whenever needed – depending on planned PR outreach campaigns. If you’re still unsure, try it for free for 7 days with full search access and no strings attached.

Once you purchase media contacts with Prowly, you can then make the most of them by segmenting and organizing all your new records, creating targeted media lists, sending personalized email pitches, and managing your media relations in one place. Finding relevant journalists and building media relationships has never been easier.


Cover photo by Marissa Cristina