How much does ProfNet cost?
ProfNet, along with all of PR Newswire's services for journalists, is always free for reporters, authors, bloggers and other content creators in need of expert sources.
How do I register for ProfNet?
To register, go to www.profnet.com and click on "Sign up as a Journalist," which will take you to the PR Newswire for Journalists registration form. After registering, click on the ProfNet Experts tab to return to the ProfNet site and submit a query.
If you're already registered, you can also send a query via our "quick query form," which does not require a login. Just go to www.profnet.com and click on the green "Submit a Query" button. That will take you right to the query page without logging in.
I'm registered, but I can't seem to log in. What do I do now?
If you have forgotten your login or it isn't working, please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. While we are investigating the issue, you may submit a query via our "quick query form," which does not require a login. Just go to www.profnet.com and click on "Submit a Query."
I filled out the query form. How do I know it went through?
Once a query is submitted successfully, you'll see a confirmation page on your screen. You will also get a confirmation copy by email once the query is distributed to our members. If you don't see either of those, please feel free to drop us a note at email@example.com to confirm.
I sent out a query and got a great response, but would like more. Can I resend it?
You may resend any query up to three times. To resend a query, log on to the site at www.profnet.com and click on "Inbox," then on the query subject. Once the query is open, click on "Resend Opportunity." You will have the option of changing any of your original query preferences, such as deadline, regions and institution types. You may also edit the text of the query as necessary. Once you're done editing, click on Submit.
If you prefer, you may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request a resend, and we'll take care of it.
How long does it take for a query to be sent out?
Queries are distributed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Provided our editors don't have any questions on your query, it can usually be distributed within an hour. You will receive a confirmation copy by email once it is distributed.
Are ProfNet members vetted?
All ProfNet members must also be members of PR Newswire, which verifies that members are legitimate businesses. In addition, all ProfNet members must sign our Terms & Conditions, which state:
1. ProfNet Opportunities (queries) are not to be used as stepping-off points for pitches that have no relevance to the request.
2. Contact with reporters submitting Opportunities is to be made only via the channels specified by the reporter in the request.
3. ProfNet Opportunities are to be treated as confidential, disclosed to others in your organization only on a need-to-know basis.
4. Opportunities are never to be posted to an electronic mailing list or shared with others on a public site.
5. ProfNet members shall in no way attempt to badger or coerce a reporter into contacting or quoting a given source.
6. E-mail addresses obtained through ProfNet are not to be used in any list for unsolicited, mass-distributed messages.
7. All Opportunities are to be viewed as exclusive to the writer or organization submitting the request.
8. ProfNet Opportunities are not to be used to advance personal interests or agendas, except in cases where reporters explicitly request responses that are personal in nature.
Also, ProfNet members may edit their query preferences to receive queries in specific categories and subcategories (e.g., a member can sign up to receive only technology requests). This means they are less likely to receive -- and reply to -- queries that are not in their experts' specific areas of interest, and you are less likely to receive off-topic replies.
What do I do if a ProfNet member violates one of the rules listed above?
If one of our members sends you a response that violates our Terms & Conditions, please alert us at email@example.com and we will investigate.
I'm a freelancer. What should I put in the News Outlet field?
In the News Outlet field, list the publication/program/etc. for which you're requesting experts. If you would like us to omit the outlet name from the query, you may "cloak" your request (see below).
What is cloaking?
Cloaking means we omit the publication name from the query. Instead, we only provide a generic description of the publication (e.g., national women's magazine, Northeast daily, regional business journal).
If you are a freelancer, we do still include your name and email address in the query. The only information we cloak is the publication name.
If you are on staff and your email address identifies the publication/news outlet, we will withhold your name and email address. When members respond to your query, they will do so via the ProfNet website.
I'd rather just email my queries to you. May I do that?
Absolutely. You may submit queries by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put "Query" in the subject line so we don't mistake it as spam. You may also use our "quick query form" at www.profnet.com -- click on "Send a Query." We're happy to take them either way.
How can I search your Experts Database?
Our Experts Database is now part of ProfNet Connect, an online network of PR practitioners, experts and media professionals. To access ProfNet Connect and search for experts, log on to the ProfNet site and click on "Search Expert." You will be redirected to our ProfNet Connect.
You don't have to register separately for ProfNet Connect to search expert profiles -- if you access it through the regular ProfNet site, the system will recognize you as a journalist and will give you access to view and contact experts. However, we do recommend you register separately for ProfNet Connect as well, to take advantage of the site's added features, such as the ability to create lists of experts, post and comment on blogs and forums, and more.
My registration information is outdated. How can I update it?
To update your registration information, simply email your new info to email@example.com.
May I submit a request for products?
If you are on staff at your publication, you may submit requests for products for review. If you are a freelancer, we will ask you to provide documentation confirming your assignment. (Usually, we ask to confirm it with your editor, but alternate forms may be acceptable.)
What are Expert Alerts?
An Expert Alert is sort of a "reverse query" -- instead of a reporter asking for an expert, a PR person will compile a few sentences "alerting" reporters to an expert who is available to discuss a timely topic. Example:
LAW: NEW PATENT RULES EQUAL NEW STRATEGIES FOR LAWYERS, COMPANIES. Jim Murphy, intellectual property attorney with Thompson & Knight: "New rules designed to make the government's patent examination process more efficient likely will force significant change in the way some companies and attorneys manage the process. The rules essentially place limits on the number of continuations that can be filed and on the number of claims that can be made for each application without penalty. It will make it much more expensive and more difficult to justify stringing cases along as a protective or competitive strategy, requiring firms to make a more precise initial set of claims." Murphy cautions that it may take at least a year to assess the full impact of the new rules, which go into effect Nov. 1. Contact: …
Sometimes, ProfNet editors will put together a roundup of experts on the same topic. Examples: Presidential Election, Gulf Oil Spill, Legalizing Marijuana, Same-Sex Marriage.
Alerts are sent to reporters according to the following feed schedule*:
Mondays: Business, Finance & Technology
Wednesdays: Government, Law, Education & Science
Fridays: Health, Entertainment & Living
Alerts are distributed by email, posted on PR Newswire for Journalists, and sent to more than 5,000 news organizations via PR Newswire's US1 newswire. They are also available on the ProfNet Connect site, as well as via ProfNet's Twitter feed.
To receive Expert & Topic Alerts in any of the above feeds, email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to indicate which feed(s) you want to receive.
* Subject to change, depending on volume and breaking news.
I'm a blogger. Can I use ProfNet to find sources, products, etc.?
Absolutely. Bloggers can use ProfNet to send out queries for experts, products for review, etc. We do require that blogs be live for at least six months in order for us to send the query out. We will also review the blog to ensure it is appropriate for our audience.
For product requests, we also require that the blog comply with the FTC blogger guidelines regarding reviews and giveaways, and that there are no fees associated with the request (e.g., ProfNet members will not be asked to pay any fees or purchase advertising in exchange for having their products reviewed/featured).
Whenever possible, please also include any site stats available, such as the blog's Google Rank, number of followers, page views per month, etc. Because members are understandably wary of product requests, the more information you can provide upfront, the better your response rate.
Have a question that's not answered here? Leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.