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“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

Benjamin Franklin


In the 7 months or so since the connective3 launch I have been lucky enough to work on numerous PR campaigns that have achieved 100+ links, gained national TV pick up and even had celebrity backing.

This of course is partly because I have an amazing team, but also because I am a real stickler when it comes to the planning side of a campaign (just ask my amazing team).

Every PR campaign is different and as such has different elements that need to be considered. For some you may need to run focus groups, for others your focus might be desk research or even offline events. However, no matter what the campaign entails there are normally three sections to them all:

As an industry we focus heavily on the latter stage of the campaign process, the outreach stage. Perhaps this is because it is at this point you see a tangible outcome, as you land the links that go on to create case studies, Twitter threads and ultimately rankings.

Whilst I agree that outreach is important, we must not overlook the planning stage of the campaign process. After all, failure to plan is planning to fail.

There is one element of the planning process that I believe to be crucial to the overall success of a campaign and that is the media lists.

What is a media list?

A media list is a list of publications, journalists, influencers and personalities who you will outreach to with your campaign.

Clients normally request to see these in advance so that they have an idea of who you are reaching out to, and what you are sending them.

Media lists will of course change once outreach as started, as you adapt your strategy, growing this around the success of the campaign, finding new angles, new publications and journalists.

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

So, what are the best tactics when creating a media list? I have detailed these below:

What makes a good media list?


  1. Find relevant contacts

Firstly, and most importantly, when scanning your media database for relevant people to contact make sure you are as accurate and granular as possible. Just because a journalist has covered a celebrity topic three years ago doesn’t mean they will now. They may have moved onto a new role covering new subjects completely – relevance is key!

  1. Look at people who have recently covered similar campaigns or stories.

That’s right, steal peoples contacts! I find that this is one of the best ways to ensure a media list is as successful as possible. If you look for content around similar campaigns or topics to the one you are 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 media list has started!

  1. Make sure you have covered every topic

This is a key one. If you’re running a campaign, make sure you have discovered as many angles as humanly possible.

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, however you may also have property, student sites (for best student accommodation) even food and drink and lifestyle sites (where you can discover the best things to do in said area)

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

The tools needed to create a media list

There are many media database tools out there all offering different functionalities. At present the team at connective3 use Vuelio as it offers great UK and international data.

If I was to recommend others for you to trial, I would say the best tools are:

Like I say, this is personal preference so make sure you try before you buy!

In summary

Making successful media lists shouldn’t be a five-minute job, they should take hours. The better they are the better your results will be, so make sure you don’t overlook this crucial stage in the campaign process.

Any questions on this or if you fancy a general chinwag hit me up on Twitter or head to our Digital PR page for more information on our approach.


David White

Content Marketing Director