Organising and prioritising your outreach list

If you’ve downloaded our complete guide to outreach or followed our blog series on getting started with outreach, building your outreach list and how to find suitable sites and outreach targets, you should have already collected the following information for your outreach list:

  • Publication name
  • Domain
  • Author name
  • Contact details

If you’re manually building your list, I think it’s also worth including the URL of the article that led you to that person. Then, depending on your KPIs, you may also want to include some additional information.

For example, if your KPIs relate to SEO then you will likely need to pull in key SEO metrics such as TF. I personally think this information is integral, regardless of KPI, because it’s unlikely you will ever want to have your content covered by an untrustworthy site.

If your content’s KPIs are not SEO-based, other possible data points that may be of interest include:

  • Your outreach recipient’s Twitter handle
  • Social following
  • Publication readership
  • Media outlet type or tier e.g. national, regional, blog
  • Job title
  • Additional contact information e.g. when to contact a certain publication or person

The variables that matter to you will be entirely dictated by your content, so the key is to build your list accordingly.

Tip: if you already pay for a tool like Majestic, just add its respective browser plug-in to easily fetch SEO metrics. If you’re using BuzzStream, the software handles this step for you by crawling each domain or URL. Alternatively, there are many free tools that can bulk check domains for you.


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:

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:

  1. Writer/Contributor/Blogger
  2. Journalist
  3. Features Editor
  4. Deputy Editor
  5. Editor / Managing Editor
  6. 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.

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