How to respond to a media request
How to respond to media request
Media alerts are one of the best, and easiest ways to get featured in the media. They are sometimes posted on twitter with relevant hashtag, they may be sent to PR’s who respond on behalf of, or pass them onto their clients. We even send them our on our newsletter from time to time too.
But there is a knack to getting your replies right. Journalists may be inundated with replies which means you may not even get a reply or acknowledgement, this is perfectly normal and you may need to grow a thick skin to stop feeling despondent, so to give your reply the best chance of being considered over the rest, here’s some points to remember:
Please note that these recommendations have come from our experience when wearing a journalist hat. We have received press releases containing all the errors we mention below.
1. Can you follow instructions?
To respond to the media alerts, always do as the journalist has asked, if they say only email using the address provided, don’t find a number and call, if they’ve asked for a specific way to contact them – do it.
Sometimes they may ask you to enter a specific phrase in the subject line of the email, this makes it easier for them to find you in their overflowing inbox. If they ask you to do this – do it or you risk not being seen.
2. Do you meet the details requested in the alert?
Only contact a journalist if their posted request is actually relevant to you and or your business. They get tons of responses so make sure you fit what they want. The more people reply with obscure references to what they have asked for, the more the journalist will roll their eyes and will simply delete your reply out of annoyance – and bang goes any chance of a positive relationship with them.
3. Be specific
Always give the journalist what they have specifically asked for, if they have asked for a specific product DO NOT, repeat DO NOT simply send them a link to your website and expect them to go find what they want.
4. Be succinct and to the point
Make sure you get to the point quickly in your reply, don’t ramble on giving them more information than they need, give them what they have asked for being as straight forward and professional as possible.
5. Build a relationship
Try to put your personality across – this will help build a relationship with the journalist. Just like being in business or sales, sell yourself without being pushy, and be friendly at all times.
6. Keep attachment sizes small
Don’t send huge files, the journalist may well want to see images, so send them but make sure they are small photos. It’s annoying when your phone slows right down because an email has (what feels like) a million whopping great files attached.
7. Grammar alert!
Watch your grammar. These are journalists – professional writers 😉 Don’t mistake your for you’re.
This is the difference between knowing your grammar is acceptable, or not knowing you’re rubbish at it.
8. Personal case studies are good for business too
Quite often you’ll see personal media requests but even so you can get a name check in for your business so don’t dismiss them:
The first one I did was in 2009 when a leading parenting magazine were after ‘quick & easy labour stories’ which I replied to because I’d recently given birth and it was a glorious hour long labour. Although it was a personal story, they still printed my website address, so I was then able to say I’d been featured in a well known magazine. I got on really well with the journalist and as a result I was featured again, and again. And as she was a freelance I made it into other publications too, it really helped my business back then.
9. Always check deadlines
The deadlines can sometimes be very tight, so it’s worth checking the date when you see one that is relevant to you and worth following up. But, even though a deadline may be a few days or even weeks away always respond as quickly as you can. If a journalist has enough replies to a request they may move on with the feature and won’t accept anymore. So always be as quick as you can to get considered first.
10. Want to know where media alerts come from?
If you want daily media alerts, you can join MumsClub Premium from as little as just £5 a month. Daily media alerts are available, you’ll be able to build your own media contacts database and Premium comes with tons more benefits too.
Good luck and have fun!