What to Ask Reporters


As a PR pro that works remotely, I have to say that email has changed my life, and work opportunities. Our digital ‘barriers’ have become necessities in the working world. Without social media, email, or voicemail, we’d never be able to get in touch with journalists and reporters.

Now we have things like HARO, which provide opportunities right in your inbox. If you start to think of yourself as a friend or partners to journalists, you may find that your emails will get more opens because you’re seen as a serious resource to them. Not just another publicist trying to push a crappy client for just about anything.

Make friends with them, and become an adversary. Here are some questions you can ask them in order to see how you may be able to help them out of a story slump.

What are you currently working on?

Asking a reporter this right off the bat may piss them off. But only if you haven’t done your research. Let them know what latest articles of theirs you’ve been following, and let them know you are just checking in to see if they need some holes filled for a current urgent story.

What challenges are you facing at this moment?

Perhaps you have a client with a new line of hats coming out, and they have some hats that they need to test out. You’ll never know until they ask. Or maybe another publicist friend reps a client that you can help them placed.

How can I help you?

Instead of offering a few solutions that just won’t help, ask them straight out what you can do for them.

What can I do differently?

Journalists and reports work with PR pros all of the time. And they know who their favorites are for different reasons. Ask them straight up, what don’t they like about other pros, and how can you approach them differently. The answer will not only help you with this one reports, but with many others in your Rolodex as well.

How do you like to be pitched?

This is perhaps the most important one of all. This will give you an insight on how to communicate with certain reporters.