Seven tips for sending a successful media request

The ResponseSource media enquiry service distributes hundreds of media requests every week, and we’ve picked up a few tips from both journalists and PRs about what makes a successful media request. By successful, we mean a request where the journalist gets prompt and complete answers that work for their story.

The media and its needs are changing almost daily so we’re not claiming this is the definitive guide, and your own tips are very welcome. Meanwhile, we hope these pointers will help you get more out of your next request to PRs.

1) Make it easy for PRs to understand what you needResponseSource_Enquiry_Service_UK_-_YouTube

If your enquiry has a lot of detail, try to put a quick summary at the top. For example a list of the kind of people, products, or organisations you have in mind that you’d like to hear about. Many PRs have to scan emails and may see only the preview screen on their email client or the first few lines on their phone or tablet. Your enquiry may need a bit of background but kick it off with a list of keywords or bullet points, or a couple of questions, and you may be more likely to catch the attention of that busy PR exec and help them understand that they can help you.

2) Examples, examples, examples

If you’re working on a new version of a regular piece (for example a product top 10, or “five minute guide to…” or a profile page) then linking to a previous article provides both reassurance and guidance for a PR professional. They can see what kind of information you might need and they can show it to their client to encourage them to respond quickly because they’ll understand the kind of coverage they might gain.

3) Name names

Sometimes it’s just unavoidable to say “national press” or “can’t say yet”. It’s always better to give names if you can – PRs still work with target press lists and may be able to help better if they know for sure that the title their client might appear in is on that list. With this in mind give them as much evidence to work on as you can, for example which titles you’ve worked on the past. If you’re freelance link to your JournalistDirectory profile or your own website, if you’re staff link to your media outlet’s website.

4) Spell out the benefits

Even if you name your title, adding a bit more detail about the number and nature of your readers is really helpful. For example “parents of school-age children”, “IT directors in medium to large UK businesses”, “20k readers each issue”, ABC figures or monthly unique views. And even if your request is for a well-known title like The Guardian or Computer Weekly, there’s no harm in sharing your own take on your readership and their needs (providing you keep it polite and factual!).

5) Think laterally

If you’re using a media enquiry service like ResponseSource look carefully at the categories you can choose from, our category guide, and the other options like Enquiry Type. Consider all the kinds of PR professional who might represent someone who can help your feature. Looking for an expert? Lots of book publishers receive our Leisure & Hobbies category. Question about someone in a specific job? Education & HR reaches recruitment specialists and academics who might know just the person. If you’re not sure, give us a call and we’ll be happy to suggest the best categories for a particular request.

6) PRs are people too – help them and they’ll help you

All these tips are aimed at giving PRs the information they’ve told us they need – if you can help them out they can do their job even better. This means you’ll get not just more results to choose from, but replies that are better targeted to your feature and your audience or readers. If you find yourself getting regular requests for the same information from your enquiries try to include that in future requests (even if it’s “no, I don’t know when the piece will appear either”).

7) And a PR professional does have a sense of humour

A number of our journalists inject a spot of humour, even surrealism in to their enquiries (we’ll spare their blushes and not name names). As well as pepping up a busy PR’s day it can help catch their attention. Not everyone will appreciate a stream of puns and YouTube links but judging from feedback on Twitter a lot of PRs enjoy the occasional lighter touch in their enquiries. When they’ve finished laughing – you’ve got their attention for the meat of your request. So unleash your inner comedian occasionally and see how it works for you.

Finally, if it all goes wrong, don’t keep it to yourself…

Nine out of 10 journalists tell us they get the results they want from ResponseSource. If you send a request and it doesn’t work for you or you’re not sure if an enquiry will work, drop us a line on hello@dwpub.com or call us on 0345 370 7777 and we’ll listen to what you’re looking for, and try to help you get the answers you need. Or send an enquiry now and let us know what you think of the response.

 

Are you a PR professional who thinks we’ve missed something essential you wish all ResponseSource users would do?

Or are you a journalist with your own tips for fellow hacks?

Please comment below to tell us what you think makes a media request work well for you.


Newsroom tips part 1: add your social media feeds

Everyone who has distributed a press release through SourceWire has a complementary SourceWire Newsroom. Are you making the most of yours? Make your SourceWire Newsroom engaging to journalists and stakeholders … Continue Reading →


10 best General Election 2015 press releases

Get yourself a nice strong cup of tea and somewhere to sit down, SourceWire has got something to break to you…there’s a General Election on its way. Easily missed, we … Continue Reading →


PR missing a trick with parent bloggers

They are responsible for around 70% of household purchases and $20 trillion of consumer spending worldwide, and yet, when it comes to engaging with ‘mum bloggers’, the PR industry is … Continue Reading →


Research reveals PR industry divided over brand journalism

Brand journalism. Is it an oxymoron? Many of you think so, according to our research published today in association with content agency Collective Content. Regardless of the debate over the … Continue Reading →


10 surprising stats from SourceWire press releases

Inspired by a tweet from @Cathman: We thought, our SourceWire News Distribution archive must be a goldmine for entertaining facts and statistics. A quick furtle in the SourceWire news archives … Continue Reading →


What are journalists writing about this month?

To ensure your PR campaigns and press releases are topical and relevant it’s always useful to plan ahead. To get insights into what journalists are writing about I’ve taken a … Continue Reading →


How ResponseSource works for journalists – explainer video

DWPub is growing ResponseSource Enquiry Services in France and Germany. To introduce ResponseSource to journalists in Germany we asked 2wmedia to produce an explainer video for the www.responsesource.de website which … Continue Reading →


Another fantastic journalist party at the Cheshire Cheese

Each year we host journalists in the spiritual home of British journalism – a good old boozer on London’s Fleet Street called the Cheshire Cheese. This gathering is somewhat of … Continue Reading →


Three become one: thoughts on the media database market

They were three. And now they are one. After Cision’s private-equity-fuelled acquisition of Gorkana this week, hot on the heels of the announcement of the company’s merger with Vocus, the … Continue Reading →


0845 370 7777 More about the DWPub Media Suite.