How to use media enquiry services effectively

You've read about the different media enquiry services in this post. You've done the set-up, you're scanning the Twitter hashtags and you have journalist requests pouring into your inbox. There is a brief that's perfect for you!

Now what?

DO

  • Only reply if you meet the brief! The journalist is in a hurry, on a deadline and reading through dozens of replies from hopeful sources. This is not the time to do a bait-and-switch pitch (as in, I don’t actually know much about X but let me tell you why should interview me about Y!)
  • Tailor your pitch to the brief (and if you know who it is, to the readership of the media). Don’t just copy-and-paste a standard reply
  • Answer quickly! Monitor your inbox, don’t overthink your reply. They aren’t waiting for the very best reply, just the good-enough one. 
  • Be concise. 
  • Establish your expertise. Who are you and why are you qualified to speak on this?
  • Provide contact information.  
  • Have extras if possible - photos, tips, articles you’ve written on the topic. Tips on providing the best photos.
  • If appropriate, direct them to a YouTube video of you speaking (useful for TV and radio, to prove you are articulate and telegenic.)

DON’T

  • Be taken aback by the flood of enquiry emails not relevant to you - filter into a separate folder, quickly browse and delete each day. 
  • Demand to know who the publication is before you offer your help (the publication in questions does not want to be flooded by direct PR pitches).
  • Expect to be told when they are not interested in your pitch - they are too busy. If you don’t hear back, move on. 
  • Be affronted if your interview is reduced to one-line, or cut from the article, or the article itself is never published - you are not the only element in the article, and the fate of the article is not controlled by the journalist.
  • From SourceBottle: 10 Easy Ways to Annoy Journalists and Bloggers

Journalist Russell Working gives his perspective on the hit-and-miss responses he's received from sources. 

When do most media enquires come in?
According to ResponseSource, “there is a gradual build up during the day to a significant peak between 9am and midday” and most enquiries come in on the first three days of the week. 

[Our post listing possible media enquiry services adventurers can use.]


Australian journalist Nina Hendy @NinaHendy talked to Source Bottle about how she used their media enquiry service.  Her top tips on how to respond to a journalist’s brief.

  • Read the brief! Only answer if you are a good fit. 
  • Tell the journalist briefly who you are, what you do, and where you stand on the issue (have an opinion!)
  • Highlight your qualifications to speak out about the brief
  • If you sound interesting, the journalist will google you and check your website & LinkedIn - your online presence must be good
  • Your website must reflect the expertise you are trying to sell the journalist in your pitch
  • If you attach anything, it should be your bio and any recent articles / blog posts by you on the topic in question
  • Don’t attach photos, but say you have them
    • Photos must be high resolution (300 to 600 dpi, around 1-2MBs)
    • get your headshot photos redone at least once a year, by a professional
    • Don’t submit photos that were recently featured in another publication
Nina Hendy, freelance journalist in Australia.  Watch the video of the talk or read the transcript.  

Nina Hendy, freelance journalist in Australia. 

Watch the video of the talk or read the transcript.  


Given the time involved and low chance of success, what’s in it for you?

  • Profile - get your name / brand / expertise out into the wider world
  • Building relationships with journalists - today’s one-line quote may lead to next month’s feature article
  • Great SEO - try to get a link back to your website
    “Google places a lot of trust in what it calls ‘authority’ sites and these are simply high-quality websites that are respected by knowledgeable people in that particular industry. … Having links to your website from external prominent publications are absolute gold dust for your search ranking. ”

Other articles on the web about using media enquiry services


What to do with the media coverage you get?

  • Thank the journalist!
  • Share the article! On Twitter, include the journalist’s handle.
    According to JournoLink: “Whilst the journalist has written the piece, it is up to you to help promote it to get maximum exposure.  Online publications often track the success of an article by its reach, so not just how many people read it but also how many times it’s been shared or how many comments it has received.”   
  • Let people know IRL - employees, brand partners, new contacts.
  • Add links to the coverage to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Add the links under a In The News tab on your website.
  • Think about adding an ‘as seen in’ logo to the front page of your website.
  • Save any relevant quotes and information from the story that you may be able to repurpose for other content. 
  • If you are being interviewed for a podcast, record the call (using a service like CallRecorder), have it transcribed (hire someone on a service like UpWork) and repurpose the content for blog posts.

media enquiry services are not a magic path to publicity 

Stavros Rougas, founder of Expertise Finder, said “I was a journalist looking for experts on a daily basis. There is no magic bullets to capture media attention. HARO has utility but it’s not in proportion to the internet hype.”

He recommends getting active on LinkedIn, Twitter and Quora, and working your Google SEO.
[Our LinkedIn intro blog post]
[Our Twitter intro blog post]
[Our Quora intro blog post]


Other ways to look for media opportunities

Identify media and journalists who cover your kind of adventure, share their content, build relationships

  • Do a search on Google for ‘articles on….’
  • Buy your speciality magazines and look at who writes about what
  • Create Twitter lists of both journalists and media and follow along
  • Always check if a contact is still working in that job before emailing your pitch - people in media move around
  • If a journalist is local, offer to take them out for a coffee - build a personal relationship
  • When sharing on Twitter, add the handle of the journalist rather than of the publication (but do both if you have space)

Set up Google Alerts for keywords related to your area (and for your own name, and brand). 

  • reply to tweets about your areas of expertise
  • comment on articles about topics you know about

[Our post listing possible media enquiry services adventurers can use.]