How to Reach Out to a Journalist (Step-By-Step Guide)

Journalists are notoriously busy and overburdened with assignments, meaning they can sometimes be unresponsive. If you think you have a good story that a reporter should cover, consider following these steps:

Ask yourself “Am I choosing the right journalist?” Most journalists have a particular specialty they cover – like healthcare, or local government. If you contact the wrong journalist for your story, they won’t help you, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll share your information with the right person inside their organization. Do a little research and make sure you’re contacting the right reporter. Once you think you’ve found the right journalist, dig in deeper and take a close look at their previous stories to see if your story idea would be a good fit for them.

Reach out to them, but don’t pitch. When you have found the right journalist, reach out to them by email to quickly introduce yourself and explain your story idea. Share your information in a way that demonstrates you’ve thought about your company from their perspective. Reporters are interested in finding compelling information for their audiences. Frame your conversation that way and you increase the likelihood of success.

Send the right news at the right time. If you’re going to send a news release, make sure you have something truly important to announce. Don’t overwhelm reporters with mundane news releases. Instead, wait for the right time, when your company is doing something truly significant. In addition, keep these other factors in mind for a good news release:

  • Send the news release out first thing in the morning. This allows reporters and editors to consider it as they plan their day.
  • Paste the news release in the body of an email instead of sending it as an attachment.
  • Provide all the detail needed to write an article, but also give the reporter your phone number and email so they can easily contact you if needed.

Keep it VERY short. When journalists ask you to “keep it short,” they mean it! A reasonable length for an email to a journalist is about five sentences. They will appreciate your concise pitch as being respectful of their time.

For more public relations tips from the experts, visit our Resource Center.

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