User guide to sending journalist enquiries

Here are some general guidelines for ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service users. We reserve the right to withhold any enquiry that does not meet them.

The guidelines have been created in response to feedback from subscribers to the service. By following them you are likely to get a better response to your media requests.

ResponseSource is an evolving service and so we reserve the right to update these guidelines according to feedback we receive from our subscribers.

Guidelines for all users

Our approach to ResponseSource moderation can be summed up in the following question: ‘Is there a clear media opportunity for the subscriber?’. Subscribers use the service to gain coverage for their clients and this is the most important thing for us to consider when moderating the service. If you can keep this in mind when submitting enquiries it will help the system run more smoothly.

  1. Be specific in your enquiry – this helps avoid vague or irrelevant replies. It often helps to specify information you don’t want, or already have.
  2. Name the publication – you’ll get better results as it’s crucial for PRs that they know who you are writing for.
  3. Instructions for replying – for instance “please use the subject line ‘ResponseSource – reply for XYZ feature'”
  4. Get your enquiry in early – use a reasonable deadline that allows you time to fine-tune your request if you need to.
  5. Play nicely – PRs are human too and will be more helpful if you’re polite in your enquiry.
  6. If your first enquiry doesn’t generate the response you need you can send another, being more or less specific, as you wish and making it clear that you are resending. But avoid sending the same query too many times – if you aren’t getting responses it’s probably just something the PRs can’t help with. Contact us if you’re not sure or if you’re unhappy with the response to a particular enquiry.
  7. Select categories carefully – succumbing to the temptation of selecting everything going is not likely to help your response. If you’re looking for case studies for a women’s magazine, pick Women’s Interest and Beauty – PRs subscribing to that category will be expecting your enquiry and be much more able to help than those subscribing to Business & Finance or Construction & Property! Take a look at our guide to categories if you’re having trouble choosing, or contact us.

Guidelines for Bloggers

Feedback from our subscribers has shown they want more information from bloggers using the service before responding to their enquiries. We therefore ask that bloggers provide extra information when submitting enquiries.

For all enquiries we request the following (please put this information in the ‘Media outlet description’ box):

  1. Readership information: monthly unique user figures for the blog are essential. It will also help you get better responses if you can supplement this information with social media stats.
  2. A description of the blog’s readers: Business people, a particular profession or interest group, students, parents, etc.
  3. Blog reach: where are people reading from? UK only or international reach?

For enquiries for review products provide the following:

  1. Links to previous reviews on the blog
  2. Details of extra coverage, if any, that you offer e.g. links to company’s Twitter page, tweets, video, Facebook, other communities.

For enquiries requesting competition prizes please provide the following:

  1. Links to previous competitions on the blog
  2. How many entries can be expected
  3. Will the competition use specially designed software e.g. Rafflecopter and will this benefit the subscriber’s client in any way?
  4. Details of extra coverage on social media and other communities

We will not accept enquiries from blogs that are less than three months old, appear inactive, or, in our opinion, are inappropriate for the ResponseSource service.

Guidelines for PRs

Another benefit of a current subscription to ResponseSource for PR professionals is the opportunity to send relevant requests to fellow PRs. The same principle applies as for journalists: Is there a clear media opportunity for your fellow subscribers? You can ask for the same input as journalists (for example, case studies for an article your client is featuring in, or celebrities or experts to participate in a campaign that might help their profile as well as your client). PRs may also ask for goody bag products and competition prizes for events, which can be a good opportunity for product promotion but you need to make the opportunity for publicity clear.

For goody bag and competition prize requests please provide the following:

  1. Details of the coverage companies providing products can expect e.g. inclusion in press materials, associated websites/newsletters, social media coverage
  2. Details of the audience that partners will reach. Journalists, bloggers, and other media attending your event, celebrities and other influencers, charities
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