“I thought you would want to know I just filed several pieces for the WSJ, HotelNewsNow, City & Shore and more – and, as usual, I found most of my sources from ProfNet.” – Robyn A. Friedman, freelance writer
Well now, who doesn’t like being on the receiving end of that kind of email?
A longtime ProfNet user, Robyn is an award-winning freelance writer and copywriter who has been covering the real estate and hospitality industries for over two decades. She has published over 1,000 articles in print and online in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, HotelNewsNow.com, The Robb Report, NewHomeSource.com, Unique Homes, Florida Trend and Bankrate.com. She was the real estate columnist for the South Florida Sun Sentinel for seven years and now writes a column on personal finance for City & Shore magazine. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.
I sat down with Robyn to find out more about her ProfNet experience, and to hear her advice to PR pros when replying to queries:
How do you choose which ProfNet experts to work with when you submit a query?
I look for sources with expertise in the specific topic I'm addressing in the story. Many times, I receive responses to my queries from sources who have general knowledge, but it's not specific enough for some of the articles I work on. For example, I spend most of my time covering the real estate industry. So if I'm looking for a commercial broker to comment on the apartment market, someone with expertise in office properties may not be familiar enough with the subject matter to be able to provide expert commentary.
I also try to select sources who are recognized experts in their field but haven't been over-quoted. And, I look for geographic diversity for my national stories to make sure that different parts of the nation are represented in the final product.
What do you look for in responses?
First, I look for a response that is well thought-out and tailored to my query. A "canned" response or just a one-sentence email from a publicist (and yes, that happens) cannot possibly provide me with enough information to make an educated decision about a source. The response should tell me who you are, who your client is and how that person can contribute to my story.
It's surprising, but many responses just contain the name of the client that the publicist is proffering. That does me no good because I can't determine from just a name whether that person is appropriate for my story. Including a brief bio, and perhaps even some of the points the proposed source can make for the story, is very helpful.
Do you have any tips for PR pros and experts for responding to ProfNet queries?
Definitely. First, please read the query. I often get pitches from publicists who are pitching me for an entirely different story altogether. For example, I recently was looking for sources to comment on a real estate redevelopment trend. I received a pitch from someone who didn't read it carefully and who pitched me a client who could address trends in furniture design.
Second, seek to establish a long-term relationship with the journalist you respond to. In other words, think about the big picture. I have relationships with certain publicists that go back 20 years. If I need a source, I can pick up the phone and these people will do their best to try to help me. Conversely, I will always take their calls and read their emails. Those are very valuable relationships -- for both sides.
Do you have a ProfNet success story, either as a journalist or subscriber? Let us know and not only might you be featured in our next Success Story post, you might also see yourself in Times Square!
And if you’re a journalist who has not yet used ProfNet to find sources, give us a try – it’s easy and free! Just fill out this quick query submission form and we’ll take care of the rest.