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Tips For Creating A Media List

Want to know how to create a media matrix your manager will love?

12 Tips For Creating A Media List on PR podcast

A media list (or media matrix) is a list of all the media opportunities you are pitching for. It should be comprehensive and perfect if you want to give yourself the best chance of securing media coverage in your next campaign.

This episode, Allira Carroll from Tonic PR and I outline the different sections you should have in your media list plus we share 12 tips for building the ultimate media list.


You need to isolate what your goals are for this media relations component of your campaign and who is the target audience you're trying to reach. It may be that your target audience is niche and you are only likely to engage with seven publications or it may be broad and your list includes hundreds of media outlets.

Create a document (Excel/Google Docs are generally the best) that lists the following column headings across the top of the spreadsheet:

  • Media Outlet Type (e.g Broadcast - TV, Broadcast - Radio, Newspaper, Newspaper Supplement, Online)

  • Media Outlet Name

  • Section/Segment (e.g the John and Jo Breakfast Show or '5 Minutes with.... ' Q&A)

  • Details (provide some further details on that section such as, 'it's always a Q&A with a female chef, it runs sporadically and the last five interviewees were....')

  • Pitch angles (always have multiple angles so you have a back-up if the first is declined or you need to follow-up after no response)

  • Contact name + job title

  • Email address + phone number

  • Status (this is where you record ALL communication with that journo. Use your initials if multiple people are pitching E.g 29 June - BB pitched. 3 July - BB followed up. Journo replied to say they need to see extra images. If the journo is not interested then you need to record why to explain to your manager/client)

  • Run date (so you can keep track of when your coverage is due to run

“If there's one thing you should take away from this episode, it's to double check the content of every single cell. You should be confident every piece of information is 100% correct, it is spelled correctly and it is relevant to your brand/product”

Listen to the full episode for more insight and tips on creating a media matrix. You'll also find this episode on your fave podcast players, just search "The PR Pod".


  • If you are using someone else's media matrix as a base for yours, you still need to double check every single cell is correct and relevant. Even if that matrix is only two weeks old

  • Be diligent and find the exact journalist who writes the section you want to pitch for. The editor is generally the wrong person to pitch to. If it's not obvious who writes it, call the editorial assistant/reception of that outlet and ask. Or ask in the office, someone else may know

  • In order to ensure every single cell is correct and relevant, you need to be familiar with all the publications you are including. Your agency/office may have subscriptions to magazines and newspapers but if not, head to the library or hang out a store that sells them and flick through. Newspapers may come with digital subscriptions which enables you to search previous issues. Listen to radio shows across a day and see how they differ. Some may do interviews, some may not. Some may be geared to very serious topics and others cover lighthearted celeb goss. Know the difference

  • Most publications have a media kit you can find online. This is used for advertisers but it generally includes information like target audience so you can use the media kit to check and be sure that publication is relevant for your target audience

  • There may be multiple opportunities from one media outlet so be diligent in reviewing it thoroughly

  • Your manager is likely to know all of the relevant opportunities and the journalist responsible for them off the top of their head (that's called experience, you'll be there soon enough!). So, when they're reviewing your matrix don't assume your manager won't have time to double check your information as it's likely they'll know straight away what you've missed or what's incorrect

  • Give yourself enough time. Depending on your goals and target audience, your media matrix could consist of hundreds of media opportunities. If so, it can take you weeks to get this document 100% right

  • Use filter and sort on your columns so you can easily track information groups

  • Think about using a colour-code system so you can easily identify your progress. E.g. Green for secured/confirmed opps, orange for opps that a journo has expressed an interest in and red for any declined. You can also sort your rows by colour so you can easily pull these to the top of your document if you need to give your manager an update on where you're at

  • Before you give a draft of a media matrix to your manager, make sure you 'select all' and are using one type of font, all the font is the same size and it's aligned in the same position. It makes it way easier for your manager to review

  • If your client needs to see the matrix, just hide the columns that show the journo's name and contact details. These are assets for your agency. Also, save the document as a PDF and make sure all columns/rows are visible before you send. That way they can easily open it

  • Be proud of your work. Another reason why every cell has to be correct is because it may not be you pitching these angles out, or you may be off sick on the day it needs to be done. So, someone else needs to have all the information there to ensure they can pitch out efficiently and not spend time filling in gaps. Be confident that your work is perfect.

Missed the episode about getting the messaging sorted for your PR campaign? Sit back and enjoy Crafting Key Messages.


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