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Since launching connective3 over two years ago, we’ve been lucky enough to work on numerous incredible and insightful digital PR campaigns that have achieved 100+ links, gained national TV pick up, and even had celebrity backing.

This, of course, is partly because we have an amazing digital PR team that works tirelessly to produce the best work possible. But it’s also because we’re a real stickler when it comes to the planning side of a campaign. Planning and success go hand in hand after all.

Every PR campaign is different, coming with new challenges and exciting opportunities for success. As such, each campaign also has multiple different elements that need to be considered.

For some, you may need to run focus groups, for others your focus might be predominantly desk research or even attending offline events. However, no matter what a campaign entails, there are normally three areas you’ll need to address:

Being part of the digital media industry, we focus heavily on the latter stage of the campaign process, the outreach stage. Perhaps this is because it’s at this point where you can truly see a tangible outcome as you land the links that go on to create case studies, Twitter threads, and high rankings.

But whilst that outreach is important, you mustn’t overlook the planning stage of the campaign process. After all, failure to plan is planning to fail.

And there is one element of the planning process that is absolutely crucial to the overall success of a campaign, and that’s creating a media list.

What is a media list in PR?

A media list for press release purposes is a list of publications, journalists, influencers, and personalities who you intend to outreach to with your campaign.

Clients normally request to see your digital PR media list in advance of a campaign going live so that they have an idea of who you’ll be reaching out to, and what you are sending them. This is mainly to ensure that there’s nothing that could conflict with their brand reputation.

Media lists for press release purposes will, of course, change once outreach has started. As you adapt your strategy, growing this around the success of the campaign and finding new angles, new publications and journalists can be added to your digital PR media list.

However, the digital PR media lists you create are still incredibly important as they can be the difference between launch day being a success and gaining big links that also gain natural pick up, to it being an outright flop.

So, what are the best tactics that you can employ when creating a media list?

How to build a media list

When it comes to understanding how to build a media list, there are three key points you should consider. Taking all of these into account when creating a media list will go a long way to ensuring that it’s a list will contribute to the success of your campaign.

1. Find relevant contacts

Firstly, and most importantly, when scanning your media database for relevant people to contact, make sure you’re as accurate and granular as possible with your choices.

Just because a journalist has covered a celebrity topic three years ago, it doesn’t mean they will now. They may have moved onto a new role covering new subjects completely. Always remember that relevancy is key for any campaign.

2. Look to people who have covered recent similar stories

Steal is such a strong word but making use of contacts used by others is a great way to expand your media list for a press release. Frankly, it’s one of the best ways to ensure a media list is as successful as possible to begin with.

If you look for content focused on similar campaigns or topics to the one you’re running, then all you need to do is look to see who covered it and contact them.

Ahrefs is a great tool for this. Simply input the URL, look at the backlinks, find the journalist details from your media database, and boom, your digital PR media list has started!

3. Make sure you have covered every topic

This last one is a key one when it comes to how to build a media list. If you’re running a campaign, make sure you have discovered as many angles as humanly possible that can be covered when the campaign goes live.

For example, say you’re running a campaign on the best areas to live in the UK. You would naturally have regional and national publications that you can turn to for angles. However, you may also have property websites, student sites for the best student accommodation, or even food and drink and lifestyle sites where you can discover the best things to do in said area.

Once you have listed all the possible angles, find media that covers each one and bespoke your outreach to suit their interests.

What tools do you need to create a media list?

There are many database tools out there that you can use when creating a media list, all offering different functionalities.

We’ve already mentioned ahrefs, but at present, the digital PR team at connective3 use Vuelio as it offers great UK and international data sources.

Other tools our team recommends include the likes of:

You might find one of these tools suits your needs better than the others, and at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference, so make sure you try before you buy!

Making a successful digital PR media list shouldn’t be a five-minute job, and can take hours; because the better they are, the better your results will be. Always make sure you don’t overlook this crucial stage in the campaign process.

High-quality, digital PR media lists are always at the forefront of any connective3 digital PR campaign. For more advice on how to improve your digital PR skills, head over to the c3 blog.

On top of digital PR, our always-on approach also means that we can handle SEO, content marketing, organic content, and even paid search. There’s plenty connective3 can offer you, so contact us today to see how our team can take your business to new heights.