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Pouncing on Reporters' Leads

You see a notice from a reporter seeking examples for an article. You ... Ignore it.(B) Reply ... to say you have a good story for ... Reply ... with your complete story

You see a notice from a reporter seeking examples for an
article. You should:

(A) Ignore it.
(B) Reply immediately to say you have a good story for
(C) Reply immediately with your complete story.
(D) Consider the request for a few days rather than acting

For more than two years this question has been part of a
quiz at my Web site, and a majority of those taking the quiz
have guessed the answer was (B). Wrong. That means that most
people who see a reporter's query, either through a leads
service such as ProfNet or PR Leads or on a discussion list,
may miss their chance for 15 minutes of fame.

A reporter's notice might look like this:

For an article for a national business magazine, I am
seeking businesses that have turned less than a thousand
dollars in initial investment into more than a million
dollars in annual sales in less than 10 years. Respond by
this Friday to

My quiz respondents think the thing to do is to reply
simply, "I fit your criteria. Here's how to reach me..." The
correct answer, though, is (C), replying with the complete
story. Why?

Assume that the reporter receives a flood of replies, as
usually happens. Most likely, enough of those have supplied
a full, enticing and relevant story for the reporter to
complete his or her research without contacting you.

Factor in the deadline, too, and you'll understand you can
lose your chance for the spotlight because of the delay
created by making the reporter write back, "Tell me more"
and wait for your reply.

In addition, to some reporters, the reply "I fit the bill.
Here's how to reach me..." shows a self-centered lack of
common sense and courtesy. You set up a hurdle for them to
cross rather than making it easy for them to perform their

In recommending that you reply to a reporter's appeal with
your complete story, I don't mean that you have to spend an
hour typing detail after detail. Rather, provide the basic
facts that demonstrate that you are what they're looking
for, along with the fundamental who, what, when, where and
why or how of your situation. For instance:

My name is Kathy Kaminar, and I own a cotton candy company
in Missoula, Montana, with $1.5 million in annual sales. I
launched the company in 1993, when I was 17 years old, at
the Missoula State Fair, with an investment of $200 for
supplies. I now have 27 employees, mostly part-time.
Although all my sales are offline, I do have a Web site: Here's how to reach me...

The Web link provided there is excellent, because it enables
the reporter to obtain further information about your
organization and a general impression before interviewing
you. Don't send any attached files, much less a gargantuan
history of your firm, previous press clips, photos and so on
unless and until the reporter requests them.

You might still strike out following these suggestionsBusiness Management Articles, but
you would have upped the odds of success as high as

Source: Free Articles from


Marcia Yudkin is the author of the
classic guide to comprehensive PR, "6 Steps to Free
Publicity," now for sale in an updated edition at
and in bookstores everywhere. She also spills the secrets
on advanced tactics for today's publicity seekers in
"Powerful, Painless Online Publicity," available from .

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