Media requests, editorial requests, PR requests, #JournoRequests – it doesn’t matter what you call them, they’re are a fantastic way to engage with journalists, responding directly to queries they have posted. However, many businesses can fall short by making common mistakes in their response.
So how should you respond to maximise your chance of being the one the journalist uses for their article?
To help you along the way, we’ve written up the top 5 dos and don’ts on how to respond to a media request:
- Keep it short
A journalist could be receiving upwards of 300 emails a day, they won’t want to read an essay.
- Keep it relevant
The journalist will likely make up their mind in the first few sentences. If they aren’t explaining who you are and why you are relevant to their story you could potentially lose their interest.
- Tell them why you’re different
You need to tell them what makes you and / or your business stand out from the crowd and why they should feature you above anyone else.
- Read the request
What is the journalist looking for in the media request? Have you read the request properly? Have you checked if there is further information? Have you checked the deadline? It doesn’t hurt to take your time and check that you are certain you know what is being asked for by the journalist.
- Include contact details
Make life as easy as possible for the journalist and include your email address and phone number.
- Be boring or dull
You and your business are different, unique and interesting. Make sure the journalist knows that.
- Respond if you’re not relevant
If a journalists asks for something specifically, don’t try to shoehorn your business into that model if it just won’t fit. You’ll be wasting their time and yours.
- Ask questions
A journalist doesn’t have time to answer your questions, they are looking for help with theirs. A response to a media request is not the time to ask about readership, forward features, other opportunities etc.
- Sell to them
This is your opportunity to get your story told, not a sales pitch.
- Expect a response
Probably the most important, do not expect a response. A journalist will respond if they want further comment, they most likely won’t if they don’t. Don’t take this to heart, if you had 300 emails a day and were expected to respond to each one you wouldn’t get much work done outside of this.
Here is a great example of how to respond
Request: Seeking female-owned companies selling tech.
Further info: Any female-owned small business specialising in electrical, tech or digital products? (lamps, mobile accessories, video restore etc) looking to feature in our gift guide?
Dear Journalists name,
I am Jane Doe, my company XYZ Entertainments is an electrical retail platform focussed on promoting entertainment where it is a woman / women who are the lead roles; such as female-centric computer games, movies where the heroes are women and empowering music by female artists.
My two sisters and I created the company after realising that during our childhood only men were being portrayed as the heroes and women as the prize at the end of the movie or computer game and we wanted to highlight that this common narrative shouldn't be the norm.
The latest computer game Super Lady could be a great addition to your gift guide, you can contact us at TELEPHONE and EMAIL.
Why is this a good response? It is short, it tells the journalists who she is, why she is relevant, why she is interesting and how to contact her all in a few sentences. This can potentially get Jane into the gift guide, but also make her memorable and the journalist may contact her directly in the future if they feel that Jane is relevant to another story.
*While this is a real example of a request, it is a fake response.
By adopting the above strategy and following the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ you will not only be maximising your chances of getting a response, but also you’re more likely to be remembered and in future the journalist may just directly approach you.