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The process of list writing

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The Process Of List Writing

I thought it might be useful – interesting, even – to outline how I go about assembling lists or, in last week’s case, deals pages when employing a Travmedia call-out.

Essentially it’s first come, first served. Almost always I’ll know how many slots I have to fill and, loosely, where each will focus. In that deals page, for instance, my brief was for two UK, three short-haul and three long-haul entries. All eight were blank on my Word doc as I began going through submissions chronologically.

The first good UK deal I came across went into my first UK slot, and then the next (as it didn’t concern the same part of Britain) into the second. From then on, any other UK deal had to trump one of the two I already had. How? Either in terms of the deal’s generosity, or in terms of a stronger angle. Or both: in last week’s instance, a later Cornwall pitch arrived anchored to storm-watching – a really nice seasonal peg – and had a clearer saving, allowing it to push an existing Cornish deal onto the sidelines.

I read every submission received before the deadline. Anything arriving late isn’t considered, unless I’m still short in one of my slots. Otherwise, that seems unfair towards those who have strived to make my often-ludicrous timeframes. (I am aware, by the way, that these favour bigger-sized agencies over boutique PR firms, but that’s simply how it has to be – I must dance to my editors’ tune.)

Obviously I’m not the only list or deals-writer out there, but I’d imagine that the others work similarly. As such, you’ve got two options: drop everything, harry your client and submit as early as possible, hoping to snag one of the up-for-grab slots and then hold your place. Or, take a bit longer in the hope/certainty of finding a stronger angle that will surpass most other pitches the journalist has received.

Personally, I’d urge you towards the latter – but then I’m biased!


What Laura Thinks…

“I’d be amazed if this didn’t score some coverage for Sophia. That’ll only ever be a NIB or something similarly short, rendering this release’s snappiness entirely appropriate.”

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