This article isn’t so much for my fellow bloggers and freelance writers as it is for the many people who are trying to get their information in front of my eyes. On most weekdays I receive several requests to publish business or personal information on any one of my sites, averaging between 20-30 of these requests each week.
I’m not your average blogger nor am I your typical freelance writer. I maintain six active blogs, four of which are updated daily, with the remaining two updated once or twice a week; I’m also currently serving as the automotive columnist for a pair of print publications.
Most particularly as when the news has something to do with cars, I’m often the recipient of requests to review a product, make an announcement, tell a story or share something else with my readers. Admittedly, I can’t respond to every request personally and I sometimes miss the announcement completely.
To that end, I want to share some tips with those of you whose responsibility it is to disseminate news, particularly when you’re trying to see if I will follow up with what you have.
Not all news is equal, but not all press releases and announcements are either. This means that you have a better chance of getting a “read” and an eventual article placement if you follow my advice:
Contact me carefully — I no longer publish a phone number where people can contact me. My current clients have that number and I also give that information out to people who are part of my trusted circle of news providers. For everyone else, contacting me via my on site contact forms or direct email address is the best way to go.
I put a lot of weight on those contacts who provide all of the information I need from the get go including at least one related photograph. I just don’t have time to play email tag — be thorough and I’ll have a clearer understanding of what you want and can make my decision based on the information you supplied.
Please be patient — I don’t always respond to contact requests as quickly as I probably should. No excuses, but life does happen to get in the way. Juggling a number of responsibilities means that some tasks get pushed to the side. Plus, there are times I am on deadline and absolutely nothing will get me to stop what I’m doing to focus on your news.
More often then not, I’ll go through my inbox several times during the week to catch up on my messages. Yes, if I detect that something is spammy or isn’t relevant, I’ll simply delete it and move on.
Follow up with me — If someone has something that is very interesting or truly believes that what would benefit my readers, I have no problems with receiving a follow up note. Pushy people are usually ignored while polite folks get moved to the head of the line.
Just to let you know that I’m from the old school: I value personal relationships and I enjoy long term business dealings. I’ve been online steadily since 1995 and have managed my own sites since 2002. I like to think that what I do now will be something that I’ll be doing the rest of my life. I love my job!
I need your people — Got people? I hope so. From time to time I’ll rewrite a press release and add my thoughts to the conversation. However, I prefer the human contact (remember, I’m old school) and am much more likely to go with your story if I can speak to the name behind the story.
This means the person who designed the automobile, runs the division, created the concept or is heading up the ad campaign is of interest to me. I won’t take up a lot of their time (we’re all very busy these days) but if I can have ten to fifteen minutes, that will certainly help your cause. In some cases I’m satisfied with a brief quote sent to me via email.
The bonus round — Last of all, you can increase your chances of having your news published by writing a jam up press release in the first place (I toss away anything smacking of self promotion) and by offering to cite my article somewhere on your website or blog.
I’m not looking for a “pay to play” exchange but if I’m publishing something newsworthy about your organization, product or personnel you can bet that I’m providing a valuable path to your site, one that my readers will likely travel frequently over the weeks, months and, yes, the years ahead.
Photo Credit: Sanja Gjenero