Regardless of what you include in your outreach list, it’s extremely important to keep it well-ordered to ensure easy navigation and facilitate collaboration with other team members. This is particularly important if you’re not using a platform that takes care of the heavy lifting for you.
For those of you not using such software, I recommend keeping things nice and simple by building your list in a spreadsheet with either Google sheets or Excel Online—both make it easy for others in your team to view and edit the document at the same time.
Simply add the column titles you need and populate with the relevant information. In the interest of keeping on top of how your outreach progresses, don’t forget to include the following columns:
- Initial contact (date)
- Follow-up (date)
Example of an outreach list template:
Prioritising: who do you approach first?
Defining the order in which to approach publications will again be subject to your aims. If you’re SEO-driven, then perhaps you’ll want to prioritise those with the highest Trust Flow. Alternatively, if you’re chasing softer metrics such as social reach, then publication tier or the number of social followers might be more relevant.
If you’re working alongside a PR agency, then this could also impact your order of approach. Always, always, always have those conversations with relevant teams as early as possible to ensure everyone is fully aligned before reaching out.
Often, we will include multiple relevant people from the same publication in our outreach lists, but we never contact those people at the same time to avoid an embarrassing double-publication. Unless we have an established relationship with someone already, our order of approach will be informed by job title hierarchy, whereby we approach the highest rank last.
Example of an editorial organisational chart paired with an order of approach:
- Features Editor
- Deputy Editor
- Editor / Managing Editor
- Editor in Chief
Note: most top-tier publications will include job titles on staff list pages or mastheads which you’ll be able to locate using site operators.
Sometimes outreach recipients will ask for payment for coverage. If you’re considering paying for coverage, make sure you’re aware of the rules surrounding this. Publications may be required to disclose content that has been paid for, and there are SEO implications to bear in mind.
In the interest of making life as easy as possible for yourself, I would suggest adding one final column to indicate your order of approach. Your list will then look a little something like this:
In the example above, I’ve added some conditional formatting to my priority order column just to make it even easier for me—or whoever else may be working with this sheet—to see who should be contacted first.
Now that your outreach list has everything you need, is well organised and an order of priority has been assigned, it’s onwards to crafting your outreach email. More details on the outreach email in our next post.