Gaining coverage for your company in the regional or national press can be a total game changer in terms of attracting new customers or opportunities. However, actually securing that article can be tricky.
At JournoRequests we help journalists find sources for their stories, whether it’s an economist to be interviewed about Brexit, or a psychologist to discuss the magic of birthdays. Journalists come to us desperately searching for a particular source, and yet the most common question we get asked by our customers (PRs and entrepreneurs) is why the journalist never got back to them.
Journalists are extremely busy, and their email boxes are constantly bombarded with pitches, follow ups, and questions. If you can stand out from the crowd or catch them at the right time you’ll be far more likely to get the coverage you’ve been craving.
Here are our handy tips for how to get an email response from a journalist:
Any major coverage, but often smaller coverage too, will be heavily oversubscribed with applicants to feature as a source. That’s why it’s really important you get in touch with the journalist as soon as possible. In this social media age many journalists will write and publish an article all in the same day – so don’t miss your chance.
Getting in touch on Twitter is a great way to grab journalists’ attention, as most are extremely active on the platform. However, all tweets are not created equal. Give a quick summary of why you’re relevant and exciting. Here’s examples of the right and wrong ways:
Journalist: “Looking for female founder with a startup in London affected by Brexit #journorequest”
What not to say: “Interested! Email me – email@example.com”
What to say: “Yes! Founded @Journorequests in 2014 at 25yo – now 6k users. Shoreditch based. Brexit big problem for our recruitment & customers. Emailed you”
In an email the subject line is arguably ten times more important than the actual message. Make sure yours references the story and the key headline you envision. Don’t let your email get buried in all the other “Hello” or “Your story” subjects they got that day.
What to say: “Female startup founder in London – Brexit comment”
Once you’ve decided on a subject you’ll need to make sure your message is snappy, packed with useful information and paints an exciting picture. As with the Tweet it should include some interesting angles they can use (such as celebrity links, physical location, major achievements, etc). The best way to judge this is to imagine you’re the one buying the newspaper – what would make you pick up an article and read it? That’s the magic that journalists are looking for.
Journalists’ time is short so keep the email very brief (bullet points are great for this), use hyperlinks to lead them to further information, and include plenty of ways to get in touch. If you want to attach images then make sure they’re low res so they don’t fill up their mailbox, or link to a Dropbox folder instead.
Sometimes a journalist will reply, but with bad news. Maybe you were too slow or you’re “not the right fit”. In this case all is not lost. Try to bag future coverage as they will be looking for new sources again soon, and they love to fill their ‘Little Black Book’. Try creating a brief summary of future topics you would be happy to comment on. For example:
Not to worry, thanks anyway for the invitation.
If you need another source in future I can also give comments on:
- running a bootstrapped business
- female founders in tech
- the London startup scene
- millennial/alternative careers
- digital nomad life
Happy to work on stories with you any time.
Hopefully, with these tips, you will hugely increase your chances of being chosen for a story. Of course being the right fit is the most important factor, but that can easily be lost underneath text-heavy emails, boring subject lines, or poor timing. Put your name out there, make life easy for the journalist, and watch the exciting coverage roll in. Good luck!
To sign up for a free account with Journorequests, visit www.journorequests.com and start getting incredible opportunities delivered direct to your inbox. You can also contact the author directly on firstname.lastname@example.org