Just to start off by saying a massive thank you for all the support this blog has got over the past few days since launch day. It’s had such lovely feedback from brands and PRs alike and I am so excited about where this blog is heading. Just a heads up, I’ll be sticking to a routine with this blog, so I’ll be aiming to get 1-2 pieces of really useful content on freelancing and blogging (like my 8 tips for emailing PRs) up a week (usually Mondays and Wednesdays) and then a PR and brand interview on a Friday (like last week’s with Charlotte from Smoothie PR)Then it’ll all be delivered to your inbox along with other exciting opportunities on a Sunday- which we all know is prime blogger day!
In this post, I am going to have a chat with you about http://www.responsesource.com– a tool that is so useful to brands, journos and bloggers. It’s been around for a while but isn’t widely mentioned in the blogosphere, so I am going to use this post to give you an overview of what response source is and a guide for using it for bloggers.
What is Response Source?
Response Source is a website that connects bloggers, journos and PRs/small businesses. It’s free for those in the media to send out requests, while PRs and brands pay a fee to receive all the requests in their inbox. I have used this in both capacities. Both as a freelance writer and blogger putting out requests but also as a small business when trying to promote my book and nutrition services in the media.
How Should I use Response Source as a blogger?
- Head over to http://www.responsesource.com
- Click ‘send a Journalist inquiry’
- Fill in the details of what you are looking for, any deadlines and information about your blog. Then hit preview and you’ll be taken to a page to preview your inquiry.
- Once you hit submit, your inquiry will ping its way to literally thousands of PRs and brands. It’ll be sent by a special platform so the brand won’t be given your email initially- they’ll respond via Response Source and then it will forward it on.
What kind of things should I use Response Source for?
Response source is a fantastic way to make connections, seek information about brands and find collaboration opportunities. In the last week, I’ve made connections with half a dozen brands and we’ve figured out a plan to collaborate -all from me sending out a Response Source message. In turn, when I trialed the brand/PR service, I replied to a request which led to a feature about my Instagram in the Guardian.
The key, I believe, to using response source is to use it for requests when you already have specific blog posts in mind. For example, my last two response source requests have been ‘looking for healthy frozen food items for a freezer hacks post‘ and ‘looking for easy to grow herbs for an introductory guide to gardening.’ Why are my requests so specific? Well, two reasons. Firstly, when you sign up to response source as a brand, you pay for each separate category you subscribe to. Therefore, food brands will only receive specific requests in the food category, so generic requests ‘looking for giveaway prizes’ may be less successful. Secondly, having been on the other side of using the system, I easily received 100 emails a day from Response Source when using the trial. Brands do not have time to filter through these so a specific request (which forms the header of the email) is always best.
What should I not use Response Source for?
From what I have heard, Response Source doesn’t allow you to use the service to seek advertisement or sponsorship and I am inclined to agree with them. I talk about this in my pitching toolkit but I strongly believe that the best way to sponsored posts is not just about emailing or tweeting (yes I see you in the hashtags!) that you are looking for paid work. Instead, advertising or review products should fit into existing content you are already planning. Therefore, these services work by helping you build a relationship and finding the right fit for posts you are already planning. Therefore, don’t use response source just to get freebies or paid work. Instead, it needs to be used as a journalist would, with a specific focus and aim.
Any more tips for using it?
- Plan requests around key dates. Remember PRs are used to receiving requests months ahead of dates so be proactive and send requests out early.A request for christmas content in July will be the norm for some brands.
- I’ll say it again but use the space you have to be as specific as possible about what you’re looking for.
- Also add in the description what you’re not looking for- this saves time and also shows brands you aren’t just on a freebie hunt. For example ‘looking for frozen food items, must be gluten free. No smoothie mixes please as I’ve already covered those.’
- Make a list of key blog posts you are planning and send a response request
- If you have another business on the side or are looking to get your name out there in the media, consider signing up for a trial of their service for brands. It will give you a really good insight on how the service should be used and there’s nothing wrong with putting yourself out there as a blogger for case studies.
- Create a separate email folder for Response Source emails- that way you can keep them in a file for later should you want to get back in touch with brands.