If you have signed up for my e-mails and gotten publicity opportunities, you may be wondering how to best respond to reporter queries for sources.
Here are some tips:
1. Always follow the media contact’s specific requests. So, if you are told to put “Jane Doe Story” in the Subject Line, do that. Why? Because the reporter might have a filter that sends all of those queries to a specific e-mail folder. Otherwise, those replies might get lost.
2. Don’t pitch unless you are truly a good candidate for the story. If you make fat-free dog biscuits, and that’s what the reporter is looking for, then by all means reply. But if you make great-tasting ones and want to prove that yours are just as great as the fat-free ones, don’t bother. You’ll just annoy the reporter, making it unlikely that that person will consider you for a future piece that would be a perfect fit for you.
3. Include all of your contact information in your e-mail pitch. That includes your full name, business name, title, day, night and weekend telephone numbers, location (for time zone purposes and in case the reporter is looking for a specific geography) and e-mail address. Including your Web site is also good – it shows credibility and can provide additional info that the reporter might use.
4. Do not send attachments, unless they are specifically asked for. E-mail filters sometimes delete e-mails with attachments automatically. If a picture if requested, send a link to a .jpg on your Web site.
5. Put the title of the query in the Subject Line, if no specific title is given by the reporter. Something like “Source and Information for Credit Crunch – John Doe” should work.
6. Give ‘em some information. If a reporter is looking for ways employers are helping employees with high gas prices, don’t just say that you have the answers, and can be contacted any time. Give a couple of bullet points with your ideas. Enough to whet a reporter’s appetite, without writing the entire piece.
7. Always respond immediately to a reporter query, even if the deadline is far away. Why? Because the reporter has also asked other people for sources, and if they get responses from other sources quickly, they may stop considering other sources.
8. If you are submitting a product for consideration, include a link to a photo, the price, listing of colors available and a description of the product.
Hope this helps. Good pitching!
Margie Zable Fisher
Zable Fisher Public Relations