Media requests are a great way to gain coverage and get your voice heard as a small business owner. It is the one time that a journalist will approach you or share what they’re looking for with the public.
From searching #journorequest on Twitter to signing up to a platform with a media request service, you’ll find many opportunities are shared every day. However, small business owners often miss the mark when responding to a request, meaning their story or comment doesn't get picked up by the journalists or even replied to.
Have you ever responded to a media request but heard nothing back? Here are four mistakes you might have made when sending your reply.
1. Not providing enough information
One mistake you may have made when responding to a media request is not giving the journalist enough information. They want to know straight away whether you’re relevant to their request, therefore sending one-liners such as ‘Happy to help’ or ‘This is me’ won’t receive much attention. Therefore, you need to make them aware of who you are, what your business is and why you’re relevant in the first few lines of your response.
Furthermore, if they’re looking for comments, send them a pre-written quote with attribution, or if they’re looking for products for a gift guide, send them high res images along with all the relevant information i.e. price and stockists. This way the journalist will simply be able to copy and paste these into their features. Making it easy for them gives you a higher chance of being included.
2. Giving too much information
Visa Versa the journalist may not be interested in your response because you’ve overloaded them with information.
Many requests are often urgent and coming up to the journalist's deadline, therefore sending them a copy of your whole business history isn’t going to help them pick a business quickly. As long as you’ve provided them with all the key information and summarised why your relevant (using bullet points can be helpful) they can then decide whether to get in contact for more.
However, if you really feel like they need to know more attach a press release to your response, this way they’ll have the option to continue reading.
3. Forgetting to include contact details
In some cases, your response might be perfect and exactly what the journalist is looking for, however, you haven’t provided them with any information about how to get in contact with you.
By providing your contact details, such as email and telephone, the journalist is then able to get in touch to find out more information and ask for further imagery. Meaning you’re more likely to get picked up.
In addition, it is helpful to tell the journalist when you would be available to discuss the request further, meaning they won’t chasing you when you’re unable to talk. For example, if you have a meeting that afternoon let them know so they can work around it.
4. Replying too late
Media requests are very popular therefore it is best to respond as soon as possible, I’ve spoken to many journalists who say sometimes to comes down to ‘first come first served’ when choosing business comments or case studies. This is often due to tight deadlines or the amount of responses received, therefore it is best to get your reply in quick.
Remember the response doesn’t need to overload the journalist, sending a short, simple and concise will help the journalist when making their decision.
Here's a response template to get you started:
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