Whether you’re looking for expert sources, research or even Average Joes and Janes for your article, ProfNet can help -- and we’ve made it easier than ever to submit a query.
Following is a step-by-step guide for submitting queries, some including tips and advice from our editorial group:
Open the Query Form
You can find the query form in two places:
- On PR Newswire for Journalists: After logging in, click on the ProfNet Experts tab.
- On ProfNet Connect: On the right-hand side of the home page, you'll find a green box that contains the alternate query form, which does not require a login
Fill in Your Personal Information
The form will ask for your name, news outlet and email address. If you are accessing the query form via the PR Newswire for Journalists site, your personal information will automatically be filled in. If you are using the alternate query form, which doesn’t require a login, you will need to enter your personal information for each query you submit.
You can change the publication name and email address as needed for each query. However, your name cannot be changed. If you need to update your name, or any other personal information listed in your profile, please email email@example.com to make changes.
Tip: Some reporters prefer to use different email addresses for different queries to help them organize their responses. If you'd prefer not to publicize your email address, we suggest creating a temporary one using sites like Jetable.org or SneakEmail.com. If you submit queries regularly, consider creating a secondary address just for ProfNet (via Gmail, Yahoo, etc.).
Choose an Opportunity Subject
"Opportunity Subject" is the title of your query. It is not necessarily meant to attract readers' attention like a news headline; it's meant to inform experts concisely and clearly about who or what you're looking for.
Example: Tips for Small-Business Marketing
In addition, ProfNet editors will add a subject “tag,” e.g., Science, Health, Business. So your query’s headline will ultimately look like this:
BUSINESS: Tips for Small-Business Marketing
Explain the Nature of the Expertise You Seek
"Nature of Expertise You Seek" is the area where you can explain, in details, what kind of expertise you’re looking for. Queries typically begin by stating what type of experts the reporter is interested in, and why: "I'm looking for IT managers for an article I’m writing on high-tech security in the workplace."
Be as specific as you can -- the more details you can provide, the more relevant your responses. Also, feel free to include any information you have about your assignment, including what you'd like experts to include in their responses. Please note: Queries cannot exceed 2,000 characters (including spaces).
Include Your Phone Number (for ProfNet only)
We ask that you include your phone number, in case ProfNet editors have any questions about your query. We will never publish this information without your permission; it's for our purposes only.
Choose a Workable Deadline for Responses
Your query deadline should be the date by which you'd like to receive expert responses -- not your final due date for the article.
While we do distribute the majority of queries on the same day we receive them – if not within minutes – we ask that you give members at least two hours to respond to your query. Members receive queries at varying time intervals (some get them every half hour, others every six hours, depending on their preference), so you may lose out on sources if you don’t give everyone time to reply.
To Cloak or Not to Cloak?
If you are concerned about the confidentiality of your query, you can choose to “cloak” it, which hides the name of the publication for which you’re writing.
If you are a freelance writer, ProfNet editors will remove the publication name and instead include just a generic description of the publication, e.g., top U.S. daily, national health magazine, Northeast newspaper. (Please note: Your name and email address will still be listed in the query; cloaking only masks the publication name.)
If you are a staff writer, cloaking will remove all identifying information (your name, publication name, email address) from the query. If a ProfNet member wants to reply, they will do so via our password-protected website, rather than directly by email.
Please note: Feedback from reporters indicates that cloaking does tend to reduce the number of responses you get. We suggest only using this option when necessary.
Accordingly, we advise you always to frame your opportunity in a way that does not divulge your story's proprietary focus. We also encourage you to use our 'cloaking' option whenever you have a concern about confidentiality.
Query Distribution Options
One of the great features of ProfNet is that you can choose to filter your query by institution type and category.
There are 14 types of organizations to choose from, ranging from small businesses to colleges to government agencies to PR agencies.
You can also limit your query by geographic region. While the majority of our members are U.S.-based, we do have members in virtually every region of the world.
Tip: Even if you are writing for a regional publication, we suggest sending the query to all of the U.S. The reason is that PR agencies often have clients all over the country, so while their client might be based in, say, New Jersey, they might not be, and would not see your query if you limited it to the Garden State.
Instead, we suggest sending nationwide and listing your limitations explicitly in the text of the query text (e.g., "I'm only interested in experts from New Jersey").
The “Additional Instructions” box at the bottom of the query form is for any extra thoughts, details or concerns you might have regarding your query. If you'd like to send this information to experts, then check off the box that says "Please select this box to share above comments with members." If you are including info that is for ProfNet’s eyes only, then do not check off the box.
After checking through your submission, click "send" to deliver it to ProfNet editors. We will check the query for errors and omissions, and will distribute it to our members.
One last tip: Make sure you click on “Send,” not “Save,” or your query will not be sent to us!
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Questions? Email us or list them in the comments below.