How to Build a Killer Media List

How to Build a Killer Media List

by Georgia Magee
PR Executive

28 April 2023

What is a media list?

A media list contains a list of relevant media contacts for PRs to send press releases to. These contacts are usually those with the title; journalist, reporter, editor or blogger. Creating a media list is one of the most important processes in digital PR, as it allows us to pitch our pieces to relevant journalists, meaning they are more likely to publish it on their publication!


What does a media list need to include?

A media list should include all relevant information, including the name of the journalist you want to reach out to, the publication that they work for and their email address and job role. It is also useful to include yes/no boxes so you can track when you reach out to and follow up with a journalist. Anything relevant to the journalist you are pitching to should be included in a ‘notes’ section. This could include a change of job title or content specialisms, or information about a preferred contact method or working hours.

Media lists can be sorted into different sections, including; national, regional, blogs and forums, to keep it nice and organised. For a regional release, splitting your media list into different cities can be very useful.

When it comes to pitching to journalists who work at the same publication, you should aim to contact a maximum of three. Any more than this can look like spam and could affect your future relationships with not only the journalists, but the publication too.

When building media lists, keep ‘quality over quantity’ in mind. Pitching to 30 relevant and targeted journalists is much more beneficial than spamming 200 contacts with unrelated interests!


How do I build a media list effectively?

1. A tool – e.g. Vuelio

Tools can be useful methods to support the creation of media lists.

We currently use Vuelio, which is a software where you can search for journalist profiles and recent coverage using client keywords. Make sure that you are searching for keywords and phrases relevant to your client so you can make sure that the media list is extremely targeted. For example, if you were building a media list for a finance client, you would search for “finance” and “money” alongside “writer”, “journalist”, “editor” or “reporter”. By entering different job roles you can ensure that you are not missing any writers to send your piece to.

These tools can be used to search for all of the journalist information you require including their email address, social media accounts, recent stories and any additional information they would like PRs to know.

Make sure that when you are searching, you use the filter tool to ensure that requirements including country, target area and media type are being met.

2. Google News Search

When building a media list, a simple Google search is essential. You want to understand who is writing about your client’s industry and who would potentially be interested in publishing your piece.

Start by searching for a keyword or category relevant to the piece you are pitching. You will come across a range of journalists who have recently covered similar stories. Reach out to these journalists and pop them onto your media list! Make sure that you are exploring a range of sites, including national and regional press, as well as more niche sites, more relevant publications to your client’s target audience.

3. Twitter

Twitter can be an extremely useful platform to search for journalists on – you would be surprised how many are active in this space! Reach out to journalists directly using the ‘direct message’ tool, and get a better understanding of the type of content that they are interested in.

The #journorequest is very common in the PR world as this is what journalists use to provide updates, including: changes in job roles, their responsibilities/specialisms and what content they like to see. This is also a great opportunity to respond reactively, by using your client to provide comments for journalists.


Why are media lists so important in PR?

Media lists are the backbone of your PR strategy. A good media list will include relevant and up to date journalists in your client’s target sector/s. It is important to frequently update your media list, due to industry changes, such as new positions or differences in what they cover or specialise in. It is key to keep on top of this and ensure that your media list is structured and organised when pitching to journalists!


What are the different types of media lists?

A general media list is a list that you would create when pulling together a list of contacts for a client. You need to make sure that these contacts are relevant to your client’s target sector.

It can also be useful to have a master media list. This is a larger document, built up from a range of sectors for all clients. It should include all relevant journalist information and notes with useful insight! Master media lists can be used as a starting-point when building a more targeted list for a client, so make sure that these are up to date!


Looking for some help generating coverage? Check out our digital PR services and what they can do for you.

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