News

Broad topics of interest

One of the goals of Dot Star Media is to make journalist requests on social media work for you.

To help businesses achieve that aim, we watch social media channels for requests from bona fide journalists, we then classify those enquiries into one or more relevant topics and then fire them off into your email, MSTeams or Slack channels.

When we designed the registration system, our goal was to make it as simple as possible to start receiving these enquiries. To start a trial, all we required was a name, email, and company name (fun fact: the very first implementation was based around per-user subscriptions so we didn’t even ask for an organisation name. On review, we quickly decided that per-company billing was the way forward so we added the extra field. I know I’ve stretched the definition of ‘fun’ there, but hey).

One of the common bits of feedback was ‘we’ve had some great requests come through but there’s a lot which aren’t relevant too.’ and that’s because when signing up for a trial, by default we were subscribing you to all 29 topics.

Dan and I talked through various options and none of them were appealing. Adding 29 checkboxes to the registration page could intimidate some (including me; I’d take one look at a form like that and find somewhere else!)

We’ve settled on adding our broad topic groupings to the registration page and we feel this is a fair balance between usability and function:

So if you choose ‘Lifestyle’, you’ll get Fashion & Beauty through to Travel & Holidays. Of course, having registered you can always fine tune your topics, or even add some keyword filters to further target your feed.

Since we put this live, we’ve seen every single person customise their topic selections, compared to just one in ten before this so we’re confident this change is improving the service for new users.

Everyone gets keywords!

When we started developing the functionality for enquiry keyword filtering, we thought it should be a Gold level feature, providing our subscribers with more reason to upgrade to our even-more-featureful top level.

We launched the feature a few weeks ago and from talking to the many people using it as part of their subscriptions or trials – and using it ourselves – it quickly became clear: everyone should have access to this.

There’s a lot of noise on #journorequest. Some days, as much as 90% of what’s posted is irrelevant, or simply spam (analysis: Dot Star Media).

From today, we’re happy to make keyword filtering available to all subscribers so you can further harness the power of Twitter, without spending all day on twitter.

keyword filters

Filter your media enquiries with keywords

Your feedback on Dot Star Media Request Service has got us working eagerly behind the scenes to bring some improvements.

Social media is a great source for media requests but with the noise – spam, spoofs and suspicious characters alongside other irrelevant posts – it can quickly become overwhelming. On average there are ~1500 posts a day to #journorequest alone; of these around only 10-15% are genuine media requests from established journalists.

#journorequest signal to noise graph

The first thing Dot Star Media has done is reduce the noise. Simply by signing up to the service you can receive the quality 15% directly to your inbox, Slack or MS Teams, identified by the relevant topic.

Some companies have provided feedback saying that whilst these per-topic requests are great, there are still a lot of requests to sort through for relevance to their clients.

This weekend we’ve taken that feedback and implemented keyword filters within your subscribed topics, meaning you can streamline your requests even further by only emailing ones which contain keywords you’re looking for. This feature is available to our ‘gold’ level subscribers and those on a trial.

How could this work in practice? If your interest is specifically around gym equipment rather than general team sports, you can subscribe to ‘Sport & Leisure’ then add some relevant keywords – e.g. ‘gym’, ‘spin class’, ‘squat rack’ – and your inbox will only go ding when there’s a sports & leisure request mentioning those keywords.

You can start using the keyword filters right away, by clicking the link from your profile page.

keyword filters

Please let us know what you think of this new feature by sending us an email.

If you’re not currently a subscriber, register now to start receiving quality enquiries right away. If you’ve previous had a trial and would like to try out this new feature, send as an email and we’ll get you up and running again.

Receive media request alerts in Slack

Dot Star Media ‘gold’ tier subscribers can receive noise-free journalist request notifications in Slack.

Receiving media request notifications in a Slack channel offers 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.

How to set up alerts in Slack

In the Slack application, add a new channel and call it something like ‘journalist-requests’. Once the channel is created press ‘Add an app’.

Search for ‘ Incoming WebHooks’ and press the install button. This will take you to the Incoming WebHooks app in the Slack App Directory.

Press the ‘Add to Slack’ button.

Choose the Slack channel you created earlier (or you can create a channel from here).

Slack will then provide a WebHook URL. Copy this URL to your clipboard.

Then, as an account administrator, visit the Dot Star Media website and navigate to the distribution channels page. Paste in the endpoint URL created in the previous step. Click the checkbox to enable the service.

You’ll now receive journalist requests in Slack, making it easier to work on replies with your colleagues. Please let us know if you would like support setting this up or if you have any feedback on receiving requests in Slack.

Receive media request alerts in Microsoft Teams

Dot Star Media ‘gold’ tier subscribers can receive journalist request notifications in Microsoft Teams.

Receiving media request notifications in a Microsoft Teams channel offers some advantages over receiving alerts by email: delivery to Teams is quicker than email and it’s easier for your team to collaborate on the best way to respond to a request.

How to set up alerts in Microsoft Teams

1. In Microsoft Teams create a new (or choose an existing) team to place a ‘Dot Star Media’ channel in and add a new channel for Dot Star Media request notifications.

In the newly created Dot Star Media Requests channel click the three dots to the right of the channel name, click on ‘Connectors’ and search for and add an ‘Incoming Webhook’ connector.

2. Provide a name for your webhook, upload in image if you wish, and press ‘create’ to create a webhook URL. Copy the webhook URL for pasting into the distribution channels page on the Dot Star Media application.

3. Now visit the Dot Star Media website and log in. You’ll need to be an account administrator. Visit the distribution channels page and paste in the endpoint URL created in the previous step. Click the checkbox to enable the new endpoint.

4. You’ll now receive journalist requests in Microsoft Teams, making it even easier to work on replies with your colleagues. Please let us know if you would like support setting this up or if you have any feedback on receiving requests in Microsoft Teams.