John Burfitt is a highly qualified media industry specialist. He is a freelance journalist/editor for a dozen national publications including Escape, News.com.au, TV Week, Restaurant & Catering, International Traveller and Bite.
1. What is the most important thing you look for in a media release?
Every good media release must have a clear point. It has to be a valid news story, not just an ad for your business. You should also include two quotes that I can pull out and use in the story. Finally, if you want me to take you seriously, it must be well written — and that doesn’t mean just doing a spell check in Microsoft Word. If you can’t write, find someone who can.
2. Do you often request a sample or to trial a service before you write about it?
It depends on the story. If you’re asking me to review something, then I will need a sample to test. However, if it’s a news-based angle or a think piece, then a product sample probably won’t be relevant.
3. Do you expect the pitch to be exclusive to you and your publication?
No. The media is so large that multiple outlets are going to want to cover the same story and it’s up to me to find the angle that’s relevant to my readers. However, I’m not a big fan of shared talent. That is, I don’t want to see 10 interviews with the same talent from your company. Rather, try to give me some interviewee options.
4. What is the best time of the week/day to contact you?
I’m usually looking for material at the beginning of the week, so Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays are usually best. And I tend to go through my emails in the afternoon.
5. How do you feel about follow up?
I welcome follow up and give 10 points to anyone who is willing to invest the time in it. I’d actually say don’t bother putting out a media release unless you’re prepared to do the follow up. But wait at least two days after you’ve sent the release, and respect business hours. I’ve been called at night and on the weekend, which isn’t the best way to get our relationship off on the right foot.