Want to get media coverage but don’t have the budget to pay a professional PR agency?
Do you know how to write a press release but want more opportunities for exposure?
We’ve got the perfect tool for you.
Introducing Response Source.
This is an online platform that is designed to connect busy journalists in the UK with people that can help them with stories.
Reporters are always looking for experts, case studies, thought leaders and insights to use as part of their work. Response Source is the place where they can post those requests.
It’s a goldmine for people like you who have industry insights and an expert perspective to share with the world.
How does it work?
As soon as a journalist posts a request about a story that is relevant to your experience, you can respond and offer your help. And if you’ve had some media training you may even secure a few interview slots.
What’s great about Response Source is that you will know exactly what the journalist needs, rather than sending a story you hope might be of interest to them.
It’s also a great way to build relationships with writers working in your sector. The next time you have a great feature story example, you can go directly to them.
Response Source is an affordable service that helps you find great opportunities to get your business into the media. The platform also has a comprehensive media contacts database and a press release distribution service where you can release your stories.
So, if you want to get national media coverage without using a PR agency, Response Source could be your new best friend.
You can sign up for a week’s free trial so let’s give it a go.
Here’s Our Step-by-Step Guide On How To Use Response Source
Click here to go to Response Source’s website and you’ll arrive at the home page. You’ll notice at the top of the page there are sections for either PR Services or Journalists.
Choose PR Services. Click on there and you’ll arrive at a page where Response Source invites you to ‘Reach the media.’
You’ll see that Response Source offer a variety of different PR services.
They include the Media Contacts Database, Press Release Wire and Media Bulletin.
However, choose Journalist Enquiry Service as this is the place where you can start connecting with UK journalists to get the media coverage your business needs.
Can you connect with journalists?
What’s really useful about Response Source is the sheer number of journalists who use the platform.
There are literally thousands of reporters posting requests. They are covering national press, consumer titles, trade publications and local news too.
There are so many opportunities for you to offer insight and to help a reporter out.
This is the place where Response Source offers you a free trial. Click to take advantage of the offer and fill out the form with your details.
Once you’ve submitted your details, you’ll get confirmation of your request and Response Source will get in touch soon.
After you complete this process, you’ll get an email from one of the Response Source sales team. They’ll ask for some information about your business and invite you to have a demo of the platform.
It’s a really useful way to familiarise yourself with the platform and to understand how best to make it work for you.
One crucial step is to set up the categories that you want Response Source to send you journalist requests for.
They have 25 different categories and price their service accordingly. Please note the prices are for a yearly subscription to that category.
If, for example, you are running a vegan cake business, you’ll need requests in the Food and Drink category.
But if you’ve designed a new app for money management, you’ll want to subscribe to Consumer Technology and Business & Finance.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what the best category for your business would be.
During your chat with the Response Source agent, you can get their advice and guidance on the right categories for you and your public relations campaign.
Once you have spoken to the agent and set up your categories, then you’ll get your 7-day free trial.
This is where you get to see the power of this public relations platform.
Using The Response Source Platform For The First Time
Here’s what your dashboard will look like. You’ll notice that there are three sections.
The ‘Media Contacts Database’. This feature requires its own subscription. It’s the place where you’ll find the contact details of journalists in the UK media.
This is handy if you want to contact them directly with a story, but that’s not what we are using Response Source for today. So, if you think it’ll be helpful in the future, you can speak to their team about subscribing.
The ‘Send A Press Release’ feature. This is the press release distribution section where you can send press releases you’ve written to your chosen selection of media contacts. It’s handy if you need to reach a lot of journalists in one hit, but it’s not an inbound PR strategy and it will cost you extra.
Click onto Search Journalist Enquiries to get to the good stuff.
You’ll arrive on the View Enquiries page and you’ll see that you can filter the information.
The list below this will have all of the enquiries that have been submitted, including those for sections you are not subscribed to.
It’s important to remember that if you are not subscribed to a category, you cannot view the full request. To do so, you’d have to pay extra for that category.
Remember, during your free trial, you can subscribe to as many categories as you like so you can try the full service and get free PR for seven days before you need to pay.
If you check the boxes for ‘subscribed enquiries only’ and ‘live enquiries only’ you can reduce the number of results and filter out irrelevant stuff.
A Response Source Example Enquiry
Say you have searched for the keyword ‘vegan’ because you are running a vegan shop, you’ll find a table of results like this.
Let’s run through the results by section.
Enquiry summary – you get a brief overview of the story the journalist is working on and what they are looking for. This will be the section that enables you to decide if you can offer your expert help and secure an attention grabbing headline.
Media outlet – lets you know the publication the journalist is working for. This is so useful to help you understand what the audience for the story is and if they are your audience.
Journalist – once you know who you are helping, you can find out if they specialise in your area or industry in particular. This helps you build relationships with the right contacts for your business. When you’re familiar with them you can send them stories directly and get free PR yourself.
Sender type – this section tells you if the journalist is on the staff of the publication, or if they are working as a freelancer.
Submitted – the date when they made the request.
Deadline for leads – this is the date by which you need to contact them to assist with the story.
How To Respond To A Response Source Journalist Enquiry
OK, so you’ve clicked to find out more and you’ll discover the Expertise sought section that allows the journalist to give more details about precisely what they are looking for.
You’ll also see the front cover of their publication, which you can click on to take you to their website, so you can explore more about it.
Remember, what the journalist cares about if creating a story that means something to their readership, that informs, engages and entertains them.
Scroll down further and you’ll see this.
You can contact the journalist via the link in the ‘How to reply’ section.
This is managed by Response Source, so the reporter will know that you are directly responding to the enquiry on the platform.
Here’s an example of how to reply to a Response Source Request
Dear Georgia-May [personalise this and make sure you spell the reporter’s name correctly]
My name is Kate White [YOUR FULL NAME] and I’m the managing director of the brand Food To Go [ADD THE URL OR LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE], a chain of twelve shops and an online store.
Over the past six months, there has been an 80% spike in sales of our consumers vegan lunch boxes, and a 35% downturn in purchases of meat-based sandwiches [HERE YOU ARE USING CUSTOMER DATA TO BACK UP YOUR PERSPECTIVE].
Our chains operate across the north west of the UK [SHOW YOUR TARGET MARKET AND DEMOGRAPHIC]. We recently increased our vegan section by 100 products due to demand, with 40 of them fitting into the convenience foods category. [NOTE, THE JOURNALIST IS LOOKING SPECIFICALLY AT CONVENIENCE FOODS].
Demand is only going to increase. We are currently in talks with five new vegan and plant-based food suppliers to expand our range. [SHOWING A FUTURE PERSPECTIVE AS THIS PIECE IS ABOUT THE RISE OF VEGAN PRODUCTS AND WILL PROBABLY INVOLVE LOOKING AT THE FUTURE OF THIS TREND].
Don’t forget your contact details
Please call me on [PUT YOUR DIRECT PHONE NUMBER IN] or you can email me here [PUT IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS] to arrange an interview or ask further questions.
I have some hi-resolution images. [THIS IS THE IMAGE SIZE FOR PRINT AND SHOWS THE JOURNALIST THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY NEED FROM THE VISUAL PERSPECTIVE TOO] They are of me in front of my flagship store that you can use with the story if you need it.
I look forward to hearing from you soon,
What Happens Next?
Now, you wait. If you were creating a story and pitching it to the media cold, we would encourage you to follow up with the journalist a couple of days later and chase it, for more on this learn how to write a media pitch.
But Response Source is a numbers game, to a certain degree.
You won’t get a result from every pitch you send, so it’s a good idea to send plenty of pitches to a variety of journalists to get a good hit rate.
Always make sure that your pitch is relevant and that you can genuinely add insight and value to the story. No reporters like being spammed and spamming isn’t going to get you the results you want – ever!
For every ten pitches you send, you’ll be hoping to get three or four results.
If you aren’t getting results, check your pitches against these golden rules.
- Is my pitch relevant? You won’t be answering a query from the Vegan Trade Journal if you own a chain of butchers.
- Am I paying attention to exactly what the journalist is asking for? Read the ‘expertise sought’ section carefully. What is the angle of the piece? What do they need?
- Would the readership of this publication be interested in what I have to say?
Response Source Also Sends Journalist Enquiries To Your Inbox
Once you are set up with categories, Response Source will start sending you journalist enquiries via email.
You can choose whether these arrive as individual requests (i.e when they are submitted by the journalist) or if they arrive as part of a digest email twice a day.
There are pros and cons to both options.
PRO: This means you will get the request immediately and can respond immediately. Getting in first won’t necessarily mean you’ll get chosen by the journalist, but it can’t hurt if you are a good fit for their story.
CON: Prepare to get A LOT of emails.
PRO: This is a round-up of all the requests in one place, so you can go through and judge which ones would be the best to pitch for. In doing this, you can ensure you choose wisely and have a better chance of success.
CON: You won’t get first dibs on the story and the journalist may have found the right source to help them before you’ve read their request.
It’s easy to choose the setting that suits you best. Click on My Account on the left-hand side of the screen. Then select Journalist Enquiry Service on the same menu bar.
This is what you’ll see.
Once you’ve selected the right setting for you, you will receive the requests via email in that way from now on in.
What Does An Email Request Look Like?
Just like the platform itself, the Response Source emails gives you all the information you need to make a decision on whether to reply to a request.
You’ll find the summary of the story, what the journalist wants, a description of the outlet their work for and a link to reply with your pitch.
It’ll also tell you which of their 25 categories this request is included in. This helps you understand more about how they sort the journalist enquiries.
It’s also worth noting the options you find at the bottom of the email as they can help you to filter your requests further.
In Options you can change the delivery of your emails (changing from individual requests to digest emails or vice versa).
Search, you can ask Response Source to look for similar requests if you have identified that this is the kind of request you are best placed to respond to.
And in Blacklist you can get rid of requests that don’t work for you by blocking an outlet or a particular journalist. So, if you know that Saga Magazine is an outlet that you aren’t interested in because your product is aimed at teenagers, you can exclude it from any searches in the future.
Setting The Response Source Filters
OK, so now it’s time to get really specific.
Go to My Account and then to Journalist Enquiry Services to return to this page.
It’s good to note that if you need to hit pause on the emails, you can do that here easily. This is useful if you are heading off on holiday or have another reason to want to stop receiving the emails for a time.
Response Source Categories
This page will show you the categories you are already subscribed to and the ones you don’t yet receive requests for.
You may find you want to add a new category, switch one for another or lose one altogether. You can’t do that automatically, instead, you need to speak to the Response Source team who can change that for you.
Response Source Keywords.
This is a cool function as it allows you to add keywords to your requests and they’ll be highlighted in your emails.
So, if we return to our vegan cake business. You could put in ‘Vegan’ ‘Vegan Cake’ ‘Vegan Business’ ‘Vegan Entrepreneur’ and more keywords to your account.
Like Response Source makes clear on the page, this won’t mean you only receive requests with those keywords in, or that you’ll get requests from outlets you’ve blacklisted because they’ve used those words. Instead, it’ll just be a quick way to spot them in the requests that come through to you.
Response Source Filters
In the Requested information box, you can check or uncheck the sort of requests you want to see.
For example, if you don’t want to provide products to review, simply uncheck that box. If you do want to offer competition prizes, keep that box checked.
In the Media Type section, you can choose the kind of publications you want to pitch to.
So, if you want national press, but don’t want to be on blogs, you can select the appropriate filters.
If you are happy to pitch to a cross-section of publications and reporters, simply keep all the boxes checked.
The Sender Type filter allows you to filter the kind of reporter.
You can select only Staff Journalists if that’s your preference, or be open to requests from everyone, including other users of Response Source. The choice is yours.
Response Source For Bloggers
If we go back to the top of the page, you can move to the Bloggers section.
There’s no doubt that getting a mention on a popular blog can be impactful for your brand.
But we all know there are plenty of blogs out there that don’t get enough traffic to be useful to your business.
Response Source has this section to help you make sure you are getting requests from bloggers with the reach you are looking for.
Just go to the scale to select the number of monthly unique users the blogs you are interested in.
Remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to the very top tier of blogs.
For a small business, having a mention on the blogs of a number of micro-influencers can be extremely useful and bring in new business. Influencer marketing should definitely have a place in your PR plan.
Your Final Choice Of Response Source Filters
We’ve covered the Digest section already, and you know that’s where you get to choose how Response Source sends emails to you.
The Format section allows you to choose between HTML or plain text as your email format.
In the Subject section, you can change the order of the email subject lines for the Response Source emails you receive.
You may prefer to see the type of journalist [i.e Broadcaster], then the outlet [BBC News] then the journalist’s name [Jeremy Paxman] and the deadline [19 August].
Or you might want to switch it up and get the media outlet [BBC News] and then a summary [Vegan Food expert for industry trend analysis] and the deadline [19 August].
You might want the enquiry up first [Vegan Food expert for industry trend analysis], the journalist’s name [Jeremy Paxman] and the outlet [BBC News].
Finally, you are at the Blacklist section. We saw earlier that you can add people and outlets to this section from the emails they send.
However, it’s handy to be able to get to it on the platform too.
Here you can add in reporters and outlets that you don’t want to receive requests from, and you can also manage your lists and so nobody is blacklisted forever, unless you say so.
That’s Your Complete Guide To Response Source: Journalist Enquiry Service.
Hopefully, you are now confident on how you could use Response Source as part of your public relations plan.
If you can afford to subscribe to all aspects of their service – including their press release distribution service and contacts database, it’ll give you a great foundation for your PR plan.
But if you had to pick one feature to use, we’d strongly recommend the Journalist Enquiry Service, it’s a great tool that could win you media coverage, no matter what sort of business you are in.
Many of these public relations examples will have used Response Source from time to time.
The best thing about Response Source is that the reason it works is no mystery.
It’s the place where journalists can ask for help and get responses from genuinely relevant people and businesses.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
Now get to it.
And if you’re ready to take your PR work to the next level grab our PR Starter Kit.
Our must-have kit has every template, script, strategy and guide you’ll ever need to do PR – all in one place.