If you know where to find journalist requests, this can be an affordable way to achieve press for small businesses, thought leaders, or budding entrepreneurs. If it’s maybe not the right timing for a full-scale PR campaign, finding journalist requests is a great way to land yourself a small mention in an article. By familiarizing yourself with how to find requests, you can discover opportunities to contribute a quote that is relevant to your expertise or industry.
If you know exactly where to look, act quickly, and have value to offer, you can find great timely opportunities from journalists who are looking for someone just like you.
What is a journalist request?
A journalist request is typically a public request by a reporter or writer currently working on a story that needs a particular source, case study, or expert opinion. When they don’t have access to someone in their immediate network, they will put out a request. Usually, the request will outline what exactly they are looking for (and sometimes what they aren’t looking for), with a deadline and an email address. They are especially common when the topic is very niche or specialized, and it may be difficult to source that contact online.
Why are journalist requests useful?
Finding journalist requests can result in a very organic form of PR for entrepreneurs or businesses. Being cited as a quote or expert in your field helps build your credibility, trust, and reputation in an industry. Not only this, but it shows that you are a vocal and active leader in your industry who keeps on top of relevant news. It might even result in a backlink to your website.
What types of requests do journalists make?
Journalists will typically make requests for real-life case studies, expert opinions, or people affected by a story. This could range from needing the opinions of a business owner who might be impacted by a new tax law, or the insight of an entrepreneur in a struggling industry.
Sometimes journalists will outline questions they need to be answered or request a quote about something newsworthy. Other times the story will be less clear and they simply request the expert before sharing more details.
How to find journalist requests
Reporters and writers are always working to a deadline, so thankfully there are a number of platforms that have been built to help people find journalist requests. There are various media inquiry services, hashtags, and other methods that allow journalists to source people quickly — and allow sources to find them back.
Media inquiry services
A media inquiry service is an online subscription platform that allows journalists to make a request for a relevant person. Rather than you pitching yourself cold, it lets the PR or source find a journalist request to respond to any that are relevant to them. The benefit for a journalist is that the request will go to a large network of people who are either a good fit themselves or can refer someone they know. Some media services will be better served to particular locations, so it’s important to check what the relevant demographic of the platform is. The most popular ones include: Response Source, JournoLink, Gorkana/ Cision, PressQuest, PressPlugs, and Press Hunt.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a very popular media request service that is free to use. All it requires is for sources to sign up online, and in return, they will receive three emails a day full of journalist requests. It is widely used by platforms of different sizes, from smaller blogs to national newspapers, to trade publications and national TV stations.
Every request will outline what they are looking for, a deadline, and usually specify what outlet it is for. The requests vary widely from samples for gift guides and beauty professionals to expert medical opinions and political commentators. It’s a great free resource that anyone can use, including small businesses, self-employed professionals, and startups who don’t necessarily have the time to find journalist requests manually.
Many journalists are active on Twitter and will use it to make requests for niche stories. Searching for the hashtags “#JournoRequest” and “#PRRequest” will bring up recent tweets from journalists looking to speak to someone for a story. Regularly searching the hashtag will allow you to find recent journalist requests and keep on top of stories that may be relevant to you. It will also give you an opportunity to follow the journalists who write about your industry so you can keep on top of news and other opportunities.
Follow relevant industry journalists
While journalists don’t always put out specific requests, they will sometimes tweet about stories they are working on. Following them on social media will allow you to get in touch about relevant stories before they necessarily even put a request out. Journalists may also use your expertise for more than one story, or keep you in mind when a relevant piece does come up.
Set up Google alerts
Sometimes when a news story is unfolding or evolving, journalists will include an email at the end of their article. It might say something like “Have you been impacted by X? Get in touch via this email”. Other times, the invitation won’t be explicit, but many publications will welcome guest pieces or op-eds (usually opinion pieces from people not associated with the publication) related to a news story. A good way to keep track when finding journalist requests is to set up Google alerts for keywords or phrases related to your industry. This will allow you to quickly respond to news and opportunities as they happen.
How to respond to a journalist request
While you may feel like you are the perfect match for the request, it is likely that dozens of similar contacts like yourself are thinking the same. As a result, you need to show why you are the right person to comment on the story. Your response to a journalist’s request should be written in the form of a shorter pitch. It should start with a short paragraph outlining who you are, what your experience is, and any relevant information that shows why you are a good fit for the request. If the journalist is requesting answers to questions, make your answers concise and to the point. They will be looking to pull quotes, so responses that are well written and focus on the topic will be prioritized.
How to get featured by a journalist request
Ultimately, going the journalist request route is more of a long game. You will read many requests that are not relevant to you, and maybe not even be chosen for ones that are. But by tracking journalist responses and knowing where to look, it will improve your news sense and understanding of the media landscape.
For these opportunities, you should always offer expertise and prove your standing in the industry. Journalists are not looking to help out businesses with free marketing opportunities, but instead, want to add real value to their stories. Consider starting your own blog or Medium page to prove that you are invested in your industry — it will show journalists that you can contribute thoughtful, timely comments on trends or news.
Incorporate journalist searches into your routine each day, and you might just find that you land some mentions in great publications.
Find out how Otter PR can help you find regular journalist requests and media opportunities by booking a free consultation.