Whether you’re a fledgling entrepreneur, an established business owner, or simply a thought leader looking to generate more press coverage about you or your brand, knowing how and where to find journalists’ requests for media is crucial to gaining valuable PR. The good news is that you don’t even need to necessarily be ready — or have the extra capital needed — for an all-out PR blitz, as finding the right journalist at the right time can even lend you a brief mention in an article for a journalist’s media pipeline.
Journalists will routinely post calls for stories they plan to publish that require an expert opinion or credible source when these are not immediately available from within their own network. These are especially common for publications or articles that are centered around an extremely niche topic, which can quickly translate to organic PR coverage for entrepreneurs or their business’s brand by highlighting you as a relevant expert within your specific field through a short quote or backlinks to your website.
Typically, most requests made by journalists or reporters will have a set of guidelines to follow when responding to their request and tend to be time-sensitive depending on the journalist’s deadline, meaning the sooner you respond to their request with credible and relevant information, the better chances you have of landing yourself organic media coverage.
Thankfully, there are plenty of services and platforms out there to help journalists market these requests and that will help you find them.
Use Media Inquiry Services to Search for Requests Made by Journalists
As the name suggests, media inquiry services are platforms through which journalists can make inquiries or requests for a relevant source of information on a specific piece of media they intend to publish. These allow journalists to find you rather than you trying to cold pitch to them for coverage by sending their request to a larger network of potential sources, or people who can direct them towards a credible information source. Some of these services are targeted towards more specific audience demographics or geographical locations, so it’s important that you know precisely who the request is targeting, what for, and why.
Some of the more popular media inquiry services include:
Each of these services operates using its own unique platform, so be sure to familiarize yourself with each to see which ones are best suited to your media and PR goals.
Short for “Help A Reporter Out,” HARO is one of the simplest and most effective ways journalists use to seek out content to report, and it’s completely free to use. All you need to do as a potential journalistic source is to sign up for an account and select which types of requests you wish to receive from reporters. You’ll then receive emails up to three times each day with requests made by journalists through HARO’s service.
The requests typically have everything the article will be about and what the journalist needs, including deadlines, editorial/writing guidelines, and what outlet their coverage will be targeting. The requests you’ll find through HARO can vary between topics from gift bundle ideas for holidays to expert political or legal insight, self-care and beauty tips, and more, making it a great free service for entrepreneurs and business owners to utilize when looking for media coverage.
Oftentimes when a certain story in media is still unfolding, journalists will include an email at the end of an article they publish on the topic that might include a line such as:
“Have you been impacted by X? Get in touch via this email”.
Sometimes, however, the inquiry for more information or additional interviews won’t be as explicit, but many editors and outlets will welcome guest pieces or independently-written opinion pieces by guest writers not directly associated with their publication related to a specific story in current news cycles. In these cases, setting up Google Alerts for certain keywords or phrases related to your industry and/or the story in question can be a great way to find and keep track of journalists’ requests pertaining to that story or industry. Doing so will allow you to respond to inquiries made by journalists or reporters much faster as those opportunities appear in real-time.
Unsurprisingly, an increasing number of journalists and reporters have begun to use Twitter more effectively in recent years by following trending hashtags pertaining to certain topics in news.
When they need a credible source to help craft or write a piece on that topic, they will sometimes post a tweet along with hashtags like “#JournoRequest” or “#PRrequest” which means you can search for these hashtags and respond to them accordingly. This is a great way to not only search for recent requests made by journalists, but also to stay updated on trending media topics relevant to you or your business, as well as to introduce yourself to a greater number of journalists you can then establish credible rapport with and begin building valuable relationships with them.
Responding to Requests Made by Journalists and Reporters
Whenever you find and read a particular request made by a journalist or reporter, you might initially feel that you or your brand can be the best match for them. The caveat here is that, if you feel this way, it’s likely that tens, dozens, or even hundreds of other potential contacts are thinking the exact same thing. As such, it’s your responsibility as a credible source to show the journalist why you are not only the right person to help write or comment on their story, but the best candidate to do so.
The first thing you’ll need to do is capture the journalist’s attention in your response to their inquiry. Perhaps the best way to do this is to craft your response to each request in the form of a short-form media pitch structured as follows:
- In the first line of your response email, include your niche “hook” to keep their attention
- A short paragraph outlining your personal “Who/What/Why”: who you are, what your experience was or is, and why you are the best fit for their request
- A concise conclusion thanking the journalist for their time and consideration as well as your most updated contact information
Your pitch response to them shouldn’t be longer than 200-300 words total, and the bulk of the information you provide should be done in an easily readable bullet-point format. Remember that most journalists are looking for quotes from experts, so the more well-written and customized your response pitch is to them and their needs, the better your chances of getting selected will be.
It’s worth noting that responding to requests and inquiries made by journalists is more a long-term strategy for gaining news coverage and media attention. You’ll undoubtedly have to read through dozens of requests that are irrelevant to you before you find one that is, and you’ll likely have to respond to just as many requests with custom, personalized pitches before you’re selected for one. This is what makes knowing and understanding how to navigate the ever-changing media landscape all the more important when finding where to look for journalists’ requests.
You should also keep in mind that while these requests can provide you opportunities for essentially free press coverage, you won’t be chosen unless your specific expertise can add value to a journalist’s own story. But by proving that you can do this through showcasing examples of prior writing that show journalists your relevance, and through including request searches into a part of your daily routine, you’re already giving yourself a greater opportunity to land more media placements at virtually no cost to you.