Many subscribers are successfully using our keyword filtering system to receive fewer, more relevant journalist request alerts. Sometimes we see fairly complex phrases, of three, four or more words being used in subscriber keyword lists. These more complex phrases are unlikely to match what journalists write in their requests – and so will return few matches.
To provide guidance when entering keywords we’ve added a contextual warning banner that pops up when a complex keyword is entered.
Some related posts on keyword filtering of journalist requests
Dot Star Media technology monitors tweets posted to #journorequest and other related hashtags on Twitter. We identify which tweets are requests from journalists and send prompt alerts to subscribers – by email, Teams or Slack.
Frequency of hashtags appearing in journalist requests can give an indication of what subjects are in journalist minds.
Many themes are seasonal or recurring. Knowing what typically gets talked about through the course of a (normal) year can help with campaign planning.
Here’s a month-by-month look at top hashtags used by verified journalists over the last few months. I’ll continue to update this post for the next few months.
Cost of living crisis and the HRT shortage emerged as topics in April 2022.
Seasonal themes around Travel, and Valentines Day.
Covid and Omicron were unwanted themes in December with NHS and Mental Health featuring regularly as related topics.
November sees Black Friday which is an annual event in the UK now, usually occurring on the fourth Friday in November.
October 2021 saw the COP26 climate conference, with Christmas and Travel themes also strong.
In the early Autumn the data from #journorequest shows journalists turning their attention to Christmas stories, with product reviews, gift guides and Christmas stories.
The Dot Star Media journalist request service is one year old. We’re proud to have helped journalists find sources and subscribers earn media coverage. Over 1,000 media relations professionals at PR agencies, businesses, charities, and universities are receiving journalist requests via Dot Star Media. Here are some testimonials.
We’ve enjoyed bringing innovation into the journalist request space. Here’s a round-up of some of the developments from our first year.
Super fast automated #journorequest alerts (Jan 2021)
Speed of journalist request alert delivery matters. Busy journalists with looming deadlines will often go with the first (good) responses they receive. Thanks to automated text scanning and classification of journalist requests most of the alerts we distribute are received by subscribers within seconds of being posted. This gives Dot Star Media customers an advantage in responding quickly.
Journalist requests in Microsoft Teams, or Slack (Jan 2021)
Some subscribers use Slack or Teams to manage workflow. Depending on how your organisation operates, receiving media request notifications in a Slack or Teams channel can offer some advantages over receiving alerts by email: delivery to Slack is quicker than email and it’s easier for your team to collaborate on the best way to respond to a request.
Journalist request keyword filtering (Jan 2021)
Keyword filtering means that niche businesses and single issue campaigning organisations can receive relevant journalist requests without being distracted by alerts that are irrelevant to them. Keyword filtering of requests benefits journalists too because it means a wider pool of sources find value in monitoring journalist requests.
Journalist request digests (March 2021)
In March 2021 we added Journalist Enquiry Digests. These emails group requests – still filtered by topics and keywords – into a single periodic alerts sent at pre-determined intervals. Digests alerts look like this:
What sort of tech company would we be without using a bit of AI? When entering keywords for keyword filtering, we’re using a Semantic Network Robot for finding words that are related to the original keyword. This is useful for building a keyword list because it’s quite hard to predict what words a journalist will use in their requests.
Journalist request submit form (May 2021)
In May 2021 we added a journalist request submission form for journalists. This means we can support journalists who want to send more detailed briefs than Twitter allows or prefer to avoid the public nature of social media.
Block individual senders (Jun 2021)
For those that monitor #journorequest on Twitter the ‘mute’ option is useful for hiding Tweets from twitter handles that are not relevant to their work. We’ve added similar functionality to Dot Star Media journalist request alerts. It’s easy to exclude any individual sender from an alert feed.
Enquiry search (June 2021)
Sometimes it helps to look back. The enquiry search page provides a keyword search of historic journalist requests. If you want to find a list of journalists who have recently requested input on a particular subject, enquiry search can help.
See the effect of keyword filters (Aug 2021)
This development came out of a conversation with a customer who wanted to toggle their filters on and off. The customer wanted to which requests their keyword filters were removing from their feed, and to scan the unfiltered request stream for possible new keyword filters to add.
Advanced filtering with word boundaries (Sep 2021)
For more precision on keyword filtering we enabled regular expressions on the filters. In the image below the word ‘ai’ is given a word boundary, performing a whole word search. This stops alerts on ‘airport’, but continues to alert on ‘AI’. Occasionally very useful.
See a journalist’s previous requests (Oct 2021)
We added a page that gathers together an individual journalist’s previous requests. Looking through earlier requests helps in understanding a journalist’s style and the subjects they have previously covered.
Recent article links on journalist request alerts (Dec 2021)
We improved the journalist information links section on journalist request alerts with the addition of links to Muck Rack ‘recent articles’ pages.
We’re including links in our journalist request alerts to journalists’ recent article pages on Muck Rack. Reviewing a journalists’ recent articles can provide information on their typical content and writing style. Familiarity with a journalist’s work can help when tailoring a pitch. For example, you might be able to see how a journalist has used quotes from spokespeople, or the way in which brands have been mentioned, or if the outlet the journalist is writing for has provided outbound links.
Recent article links on alert emails
You’ll find the links to recent articles in the ‘Links’ section on the journalist request email alert. Recent article links also appear in the Slack and Microsoft Teams journalist request alerts.
After reviewing a few possible options we decided to link to Muck Rack’s public journalist profiles because they provide recent article coverage for most of the UK and Irish journalists who are posting journalist requests.
Journalist request: information links
Most Dot Star Media journalist request alerts include four ‘additional information’ links.
Working on media coverage for your organisation or client? Here are six reasons why monitoring #journorequest can help you get better results. If you haven’t got time for all 6 reasons, the super reason is: #journorequest is where journalists are.
1. Journalists at high profile media outlets use #journorequest
The appeal of Twitter to journalists is obvious. A journorequest tweet is a quick and effective way to access a massive network of sources. People know people and will tag in experts they know. ‘Twitter magic’ creates interesting and serendipitous connections – helping journalists produce original content. These are the most frequently mentioned outlets from the biographies of the thousands of journalists using #journorequest.
2. Journalists choose #journorequest because it’s so fast
One of the reasons journalists choose #journorequest is because it’s fast. When all a journalist wants to finish a piece is a quick chat and a short quote, then using Twitter as a rapid response service is helpful. Here are examples of journalists using #journorequest to look for quick comment in ‘the next hour’. All were high profile media coverage opportunities.
3. Journalists work odd hours; #journorequest is open all hours
In the real world journalists work odd hours and shifts. They send requests in the evening and at weekends. Granted, this might not be ideal for work-life balance, but having a #journorequest monitoring service working in the background can give peace of mind that you can see relevant media opportunities whenever you’re at your desk (or smartphone).
4. Requests can be delivered to your inbox
You don’t have to be constantly monitoring Twitter yourself to find your journalist requests. Tools like IFTTT or Zapier can be used to monitor Twitter and trigger alerts. It’s possible to have tweets populate a Google Sheet. An easy and reliable way to keep up with #journorequest is to subscribe to Dot Star Media and have requests come straight to your inbox (or Slack or Microsoft Teams). As part of our journalist enquiry service we track the hashtag and deliver notifications for requests from verified journalists. You’ll also receive the requests that journalists submit directly on our submit form.
5. Tweeted requests are concise
Brevity is highly valued by anyone who has to scan hundreds of media requests every day. Twitter lends itself to brevity and 280 characters is usually enough space for a journalist to say what they need. Journalists are pretty good at saying what they want to say within finite word limits.
6. You can filter #journorequest to receive requests relevant to your sector
#journorequest is a popular hashtag full of media requests in many sectors. Dot Star Media classifies requests into topics. This means you can receive sector based requests, without noise. Here are the topics, showing request volumes over a 6 month period.
As well as classifying requests in to topics, Dot Star Media lets you filter requests by keyword. Keyword filtering works particularly well for single issue specialists, or niche organisations who value relevance over the volume of requests.
It’s just a number, same as every other number. But this one feels good because it’s a round number. Dot Star Media has reached 1,000 confirmed recipients for its journalist enquiry service. Here’s a week by week chart showing recipient growth since our January 2021 kick-off:
Thirty UK university press offices receive journalist requests delivered by Dot Star Media. We received testimonials from two of them this week:
We’ve had some really good results so far and there’s a wide range of outlets and journalists reaching out on a whole host of topics.
Victoria Tagg, University of Bristol.
This type of resource is an excellent way to share the university’s expertise and support journalists to produce informed and well researched content.
Jack Stott, Robert Gordon University.
University Press Offices are able to use keyword filtering to receive journalist requests that are relevant to their areas of expertise. Press office teams can review the media opportunities, contact journalists for more information, and if appropriate connect their institution’s academic experts with journalists to generate positive media coverage for their institutions.
A well-balanced network of sources
Meeting the needs of the journalists submitting media requests is just as important for us as meeting the needs of the organisations receiving their requests. We’re putting together a truly diverse range of sources to form a well-balanced network of recipients drawn from commercial, academic and not-for-profit organisations.
Sending a journalist request
If you’re a journalist and would like to send a request to the Dot Star Media network, use the journalist enquiry submit form. It’s free to submit requests.
We’ve added a page on the Dot Star Media service that gathers together an individual journalist’s previous requests. This includes requests sourced from Twitter and any that a journalist has submitted directly on our journalist enquiry submit form.
Why previous journalist requests are useful
Looking through earlier requests can help you better understand the journalist’s typical style and the subjects they have already covered. This is especially useful if you’ve never pitched the journalist before and can help you improve your pitch.
How to see previous journalist requests
To view a journalist’s previous requests click on the ‘Previous Requests’ link in the alert email.
If you are receiving your media request alerts in Slack or Microsoft Teams click the ‘View previous requests’ links that appear at the bottom of each alert.
How to find previous journalist requests in your Dot Star Media account
We’ve added text to the profile page to indicate whether filters are active and affecting your journalist request feed.
Keyword filters, when applied, reduce the number of requests that you receive by excluding all requests except those that include your keyword. The new indicators serve as a visual reminder that filters are being applied.
Keywords are great for ‘single-issue’ organisations
Keyword filters are particularly useful for single-issue organisations who can find the individual Dot Star Media topics too broad. Say you are looking to get some media coverage for a nature reserve you might choose to receive only journalist requests that include words like: ecology, ecosystems, environment, trees, plants, bio-diversity, biology, wildlife, nature, reserve, environment, etc, etc
Using keyword suggestions
Getting into a journalist’s head and thinking of all the possible keywords that you want to be alerted on isn’t easy. To assist with the process, as you enter keywords we’ll automatically suggest possible related terms – click on these to add them as keywords.
For help and advice on getting your keywords right please contact us. We’d like to help.
When your interest is in a specialist subject, or you have niche clients to promote, our individual topics can deliver a range of journalist requests that is too broad for your needs.
For example, a wildlife conservation charity may find requests delivered in the ‘Pets & Animals’ topic deliver domestic dog and cat related requests that aren’t relevant for them. In these situations we recommend keyword filtering to improve the relevancy ratio of journalist requests received.
The wildlife conservation charity could enter a long list of relevant keywords around the topic of conservation and only receive journalist requests that include one of their keywords. A simple keyword list could look like this:
Basic keyword filtering works by matching from the beginning of a word. For example, ‘restaurant’ would match ‘restaurant‘, ‘restaurants’ and ‘restauranter’. But the keyword ‘restaurants’ wouldn’t alert on a request including the word ‘restaurant’. So it’s important to take care when entering keywords, and think about the words entered.
Using regular expressions
In some sectors, like science and technology, acronyms are popular. Filtering on acronyms can return false positives. Take ‘artificial intelligence’, which can appear in requests as the acronym ‘AI’ or ‘#AI’ or ‘AI/ML’. If you use the simple keyword of ‘AI’ you would also receive matches on words that begin with ‘ai’, such as ‘aircraft’, ‘aim’, ‘aid’.
To get round this we have enabled regular expressions on the keyword search. In the image below the word ‘ai’ is given a word boundary, allowing us to perform a whole word search. This stops alerts on ‘airport’, but continues to alert on ‘AI’.
Usefully, the word boundary ignores non-word characters such as slashes and hashtags, so this will still trigger alerts for mentions of ‘AI’ when it appears as ‘AI/ML’ or ‘#AI’, like this request:
Some people find regular expressions are fun, and this includes the team at Dot Star Media. We’re happy to provide support and advice on getting your keywords working well. If we can help – please get in touch.