Shaheen Samavati is a former American newspaper journalist turned Spain-based entrepreneur, and creator of VeraContent translation and content agency, and The Content Mix community, podcast and blog. With her international experience in journalism, corporate communication, marketing and translation, she has a unique perspective on the content field as an employer and mentor, as well as former job seeker and hustling freelance writer. Here she answers a question from a member of The Content Mix Facebook group.


I’m new to PR and could use some advice. After sending out a press release for a campaign we are running, seven media outlets wrote a piece on our work. However, NONE of them linked to us. From an SEO point of view, this is so depressing for me. Is this common in the industry? I figure journalists/editors don’t want to put external links so that people don’t leave their sites. Or maybe they’d want money for it? Can anyone confirm my assumptions? Would it be rude of me to ask them to link us?

Thank you in advance! – Daniela P., Madrid


As someone who has worked both as a newspaper journalist and in corporate communication, my advice is that it generally doesn’t hurt to ask. 

Just keep in mind that if you’re going to ask for a link, it has to be relevant to the article and to readers. Asking for a link to your company website is a reasonable request if (and only if!) the company itself is what the news is about. If a source from your company was quoted for their expertise in an article about something else entirely, you shouldn’t ask for a link. Not for risk of seeming “rude,” but more importantly, because it may make the journalist question your judgement as a professional, and trust you less in the future.

When I was a journalist I was happy to do a small favor for a source if it met my criteria for being “reasonable”: it was something that could benefit readers, was within the policy of the publication, and wouldn’t take up a lot of my time.

Of course, how well you know the journalist and how important a source you are to them will determine how likely a journalist will go out of their way to help you. PR is all about building relationships; so building a rapport with the journalists you’ll be working with often is key to getting great results. 

I wouldn’t worry too much about seeming “rude.” Journalists know it’s your job to promote your client, and journalistic publications are also constantly working to improve SEO. A journalist can empathize with a reasonable link request. 

I’d recommend sending a super concise email just simply stating: “I would really appreciate it if you might be able to add a link to “xyz” into the article about my company you published today.”

The worst that can happen is they say no, or don’t reply to your email. In general, that’s either because they are busy and it’s not a priority for them; or because it’s against their editorial policy. Journalists ignore hundreds of emails a day, so you shouldn’t take it personally. If it’s a reasonable request, they are not going to hold it against you for asking.