Mastering your media list: The ultimate step-by-step guide

Last updated: November 29, 2023

Rory Willis

Rory Willis, promotion and PR executive at Evergreen Agency, is determined to leave a mark in marketing. His passion for storytelling, relationship-building, and trend awareness empowers Evergreen's clients. Beyond work, Rory fuels personal growth through hobbies and refined mixology skills acquired during his travels.

Read Rory's bio here

In this article, you’ll learn how to get your brand seen by the right audiences at the right time, and maximise your brand reach with resonance, relevance and impact.

How can you achieve this? Through building an effective media list.

If you want to get your PR pitch in front of the right journalists, building the perfect media list is essential; in fact, it’s just as important as the PR idea itself. By mastering this skill, your media lists can be a game-changer for your brand’s PR results.

Crafting the perfect media list: Where to start

The secret behind mastering your media list is research. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research so you find the most suitable journalists to contact, and identify the publications you aspire to be featured in.

To find this information, you will need a mix of the right tools; this is a simple yet effective step-by-step research process. At Evergreen, our Promotion and PR team have an incredibly straightforward approach to creating a personalised media list that’s tailored to each of the ecommerce brands that we work with.

Our approach can also be applied to businesses in any industry and is guaranteed to help you meet your targets for emailing the press effectively.

Let’s get started!

Asses your target audience

It’s good to start by understanding the type of audience you want to reach with your pitch. By pinpointing your target audience, you’ll be able to identify the best media outlets and publications to contact that are most relevant to your target audience.

It’s vital to establish who to contact and why. This can have a huge impact on the success of your campaign or pitch. Creating a media list that includes publications or contacts with little relevance is a fruitless endeavour that could potentially tarnish relationships with journalists before they’ve even begun.

To learn more about the importance of research and relevancy when it comes to promotion, check out our guide!

Top Tip: While researching different audiences relevant to your PR pitches, note down the top media outlets that are most relevant to you, as this makes a good starting point when building your media list. From here you can then research the most relevant journalists at each publication, and expand your list as you go.

Explore new angles

Some PR campaigns consist of various news angles, which means pitching to different groups of journalists. This will result in creating multiple media lists that are relevant to each of your campaign angles, which again, should never compromise relevancy.

Consider which angles are relevant to your idea for example, could you reach out to lifestyle writers, consumer writers, but also finance and money journalists depending on the idea?

Often the biggest issue PR teams face when pitching to the media is finding ideas or topics that haven’t been overdone. This is why it’s important to choose a fresh topic or angle before putting a media list together that journalists haven’t seen before.

The world of PR is a competitive one, so staying ahead of the competition is essential.

Organise your contacts

Being organised is a founding pillar when it comes to putting together a good media list. Determine all the contact information you need prior to making your media list. Many PR teams and marketing agencies will have different ways of staying organised. At Evergreen, Google Sheets is our weapon of choice when it comes to structuring the list.

Common contact criteria include:

  • The name of the publication
  • The journalist’s name, email address, and job title
  • Any useful notes to record, such as previously published articles that relate to your pitch

A large part of this process is choosing what information you want to include. It’s important you find enough contact information so you can pinpoint and identify each individual for future pitch ideas.

We build our media lists externally to any journalist database tools, as this allows us to regularly update our contacts and tailor them on a pitch-by-pitch basis.

Conduct topic research

Dive into relevant publications and online magazines that cover topics related to your campaign. Try to find relevant articles, features, or segments that align with your pitch and campaign to help you see what’s trending and enable you to find the authors who are discussing that topic.

This type of research enables you to narrow down and target the publications where you would like your content to be featured.

Hint: Google is your best friend for this!

Confirm journalist relevance

As mentioned in previous steps, spending time on topic research not only helps you to see what themes and topics are trending but also enables you to find the authors who are discussing that topic.

It’s vital to verify that the journalists you plan to reach out to are undisputedly relevant to your campaign or pitches. Check their recent work to identify if their areas of expertise align with your idea.

Once you’ve located your target journalists, it’s important to check their relevance by asking the following questions:

  • When was their last article published?
  • Do they still work for the publication?
  • Are they still writing about that topic or have they pivoted?

Navigating this manually can be quite a task. However, the use of automated tools such as Vuelio can really simplify the process. Vuelio is a great platform for PRs, enabling you to identify and confirm the relevance of journalists and media outlets. It also offers insights into their coverage areas and contact details.

If for any reason you’re struggling to find certain information on the points above, X (formerly Twitter) can be your best friend. Many journalists use this platform daily, so it’s likely to be updated with the publication(s) they are currently writing for. Some X accounts even provide direct email addresses to directly contact journalists.

Finding a highly relevant pool of journalists to contact can greatly increase the chances of seeing your pitches featured in your target publications. This success is not achieved through the “spray and pray” approach, but rather by meticulously choosing journalists who possess a genuine interest in the topic and have previously discussed the subject matter.

This ensures a genuine resonance and alignment with both their interests and audiences. Your research efforts will not go unnoticed – journalists will often be appreciative when a pitch is incredibly relevant to their work.

Building great relationships with journalists can be as simple as that – sending them pitches that are spot on, and just what they want to read!

Following the steps above can greatly help you on your journey to becoming the master of media lists. Even incorporating just one of these individual tips can make a world of difference to your email open rates and pitching efficiency in the future.

For more digital marketing advice, check out our ecommerce hub for expert insights and industry knowledge. Curious about what we do and how we do it? Get in touch with us and see how we can help you grow your ecommerce brand.


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