Write & Promote PIN Queries - Getting the query to sources

Michael Caputo -

Now we’ll get those questions to your targeted sources – using AIR's email function.

First, don't forget Twitter and your own media megaphone

At this point in the work flow, we encourage you to use a few means to get the questions out to sources and potential sources. Use social media as a way to promote your form. And put that form link on your website and do targeted call-outs on your air or in your news pages to get responses.

Tips for effective emails 

But the main method of reaching those in the PIN will be using email. It’s worth noting that the principles behind writing a strong email apply to drafting a call-out or a tweet or a Facebook post. And just like Twitter, or a back announce points you to a query form link - so, too, will the email you draft and send to source inboxes.

Effective emails make a connection between the questions you ask and the news. One example in the tutorial, a query about adoption, makes the link by noting that November is National Adoption Month.

The message should clearly state why your news organizations wants this information. It can be for an immediate story, to influence coverage or to test conventional wisdom. The words KPCC used with the adoption query “to allow us to do a better job of covering stories that matter” do just that.

The effective email also provides context around an issue, pointing to links with information. The message can illustrate the story with a photo. And it can have a personal touch that lets sources know that human beings are behind the news reporting. The analyst in the tutorial example includes a photograph of her grandmother who adopted three girls from South Korea. A visual that is also a personal touch.

Starting to build the email

Let’s look at the tool for bulk emailing – the email service in AIR. Click on the green plus button along the top toolbar and choose "Email". Then you’ll give your email an internal name, choose what type of email it will be and make sure your organization is correct. Once you click save, you can craft your email.

Editing the email

In order to edit your email, just click on the little pencil in the Contents panel. Update your subject line. And then you can draft your email using a WYSIWYG editor. You can include links and photos in your email too.

Next you’ll want to put a signature on your email. The first email you ever create in AIR will be with a new signature. Again, using a WYSIWYG editor, draft your email signature. Once your subject line, email content and signature are drafted, just click the green save button at the bottom. You can create a signature for yourself or any reporters you may send emails on behalf of.

Most of the rest of this page is completed in advance. So at the bottom of the page, you will go to the button marked "save and next"and click.

Link the email to a query

Next you can associate a query, or several, with this email for tracking purposes. Just click on the green plus button in the Queries panel to find and add the query you want. Once it is added a copy link appears that you can use in your email content to link to this particular query.

Preview your email

Click the Preview button in the Summary panel to review what you've written. Enter your own email address to have an example sent to you. If you want to make any edits, just click on that pencil in the Contents panel again to make those. Once you are satisfied with your email you’re ready to send it. Click the send button in the Summary panel.

Link your source bin with the email

This is where you’ll choose what sources to send your email to. You’ll have already created a bin of sources based on your selected criteria. Select this bin to send your email to. The default is to send the email now, but you have the option of scheduling it for a later time.  (All times in AIR are recorded and displayed in Central time.  If you are in Eastern time zone and tell AIR to send an email at 4pm, AIR will interpret, and display, that as 3pm Central time.) Click the blue "send" button. AIR will send your email messages.

Send individual emails to sources

AIR gives you the power to send an email to a single source. Create one by clicking the email address anywhere you see it in AIR, or the "reply" button in the submission reader. Then draft your email with a simplified form that also includes a WYSIWYG editor. You send the email by hitting the green "send" button.

The email dashboard

This space will allow you to see all the emails you have created. At a glance you can see the type of email, when it was created, if/when it has been sent, and initiate the duplication of an existing email. You get here from your main page in AIR by clicking on your total emails in the "Emails" panel.

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  • 0
    Linda Lockhart

    How can I find out who did what with the email? In Lyris, we could click on links for such things as "clicked" or "bounced" and find out which sources were involved. I'm not seeing any live links here:

     Sources Exported in Bin 252  
     Emails Sent 248 ?
     Opens 45 18%
     Clicks 7 3%
    Bounces 4 2%


  • 0
    Annie Anderson

    You're right. The information AIR provides is not as deep as that of Lyris, but most users in Lyris were not using this feature. We can put this in as a feature request to provide even more detail about the email statistics. 

  • 0
    Linda Lockhart

    Thanks, Annie. That would be great if you could make those links live. Maybe few others used that info in Lyris because Lyris was so user unfriendly.

    In these cases, I would love to see, for example, what people clicked on, who opened, and especially with the bounces, I'd like to be able to check for typos or other boo-boos. While not critical to the whole operation, I think others might also find this info useful

     Sources Exported in Bin 326  
     Emails Sent 328 ?
     Opens 92 28%
     Clicks 19 6%
     Bounces 4 1%


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