What's in this round up?
For anyone looking to get a client or their own brands in the press, media enquiry services can be game changing.
In short, they work by connecting businesses with journalists looking for expertise or product that the said businesses might have.
For example, a journalist who isn’t medically qualified but who has been commissioned to write a piece on cancer risks, is likely to need someone medically qualified to comment. A journalist commissioned to write about divorce may want a family solicitor to comment on some of the legalities. And very often, we see journalists looking for product ideas and inspiration for shopping guides and other round ups (“best Christmas gifts for Mum” type round ups we see all the time).
This is where media enquiry or journo request platforms come in. Journalists go to these platforms and list whatever it is they need help with. PR agencies and brands who are subscribed receive an email alerting them to the request and they can pitch their own expertise or comment.
It’s pretty simple but highly effective when done well.
I won’t be going into the ins and outs of the process today, but I will be sharing some excellent media enquiry services outside of the market leader – HARO.
Alternatives to HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Let’s just be clear. I LOVE HARO. I’m not suggesting alternatives because HARO isn’t good. But most people I know who do this sort of work are already very familiar with it.
It’s also very US centric, so for those looking for media enquiry services in the UK, HARO isn’t always the best bet.
So as much as we love it, we’ve compiled a different list for those looking to diversify where they look for their journo request opportunities.
The Best Media Enquiry Services in Summary
Here’s the ones we’ve covered in this piece (with more details on each one supplied within).
A few points to note:
- We’ve only included any platforms we have used ourselves. I don’t believe you can effectively recommend something without having used it
- As such, any omission isn’t a statement that we don’t like a tool – just that we either don’t know it or haven’t used it
- If we’ve missed an amaaaaaazing one you think we just have to try, get in touch and let us know
Without further ado, here are the media enquiry service alternatives to HARO we reckon you should try out today.
Here’s the quick summary and you’ll find more detail on each within.
|Tool||Free/Paid?||Find Out More|
|Dot Star Media||Paid||https://dotstar.media/|
|Qwoted||Limited Free Account Available. Paid for all featured||https://www.qwoted.com/|
|Help a B2B Writer||Free/Paid?||https://helpab2bwriter.com/|
Response Source is the platform that my agency gets most of its media enquiry coverage and links from. There are just SO many opportunities. It’s a much UK centric alternative to HARO. Almost every enquiry that comes through is UK specific.
Here are some pros and cons to consider.
Response SourceA Personal Favourite
Real time emails! As soon as a journalist submits an enquiry, you get an email
Large volume of opportunities, most of which I only see on Response Source (not just lifted from elsewhere)
Very UK centric
This is the single most expensive media enquiry service we use. It definitely represents value for us largely down to the fact we work on lots of brands and sites. But if you only have your own site, it might be a point to consider
Lots of bloggers on the system submitting enquiries (very oten looking for product). Personally, I'm not doing much work directly with bloggers, so I'm just not as interested in blogger enquiries as journalists. You can opt out of emails for blogger enquiries though.
This is a premium priced product. I don’t mind telling you spend in the region of £2,000 a year on it but it does generally represent good value for us.
You sign up by category, with the categories available as listed here. There’s some cross over between categories so you may well find you don’t need to be subscribed to as many as you might have assumed.
You can generally get a week’s trial of any category to work out how many requests come through and how relevant they are to you – so there’s an element of try-before-you-buy if you speak to an account manager there.
You get an email in real time when a journalist submits an enquiry. So unlike HARO free, where you get 3 emails a day summarising all the requests since the last email, this is happening as they get submitted. In turn that means you can respond faster.
Warning: your inbox will get busy. Perhaps consider setting up folders or a dedicated inbox. But also do go and mess around with your Response Source settings. I saved myself a ton of emails by switching off alerts when bloggers submit requests. That’s not to say my inbox isn’t still hectic with requests from journalists though:
But I like it. It enables me to respond faster.
It’s also worth me saying that you can add colleagues with a company email address from your company to it. So we’re able to divide up responsibilities for responding to these as a small agency ourselves.
It’s also great for logging into the platform and looking at previous requests you might have missed on email (or even just analysing trends from past enquiries).
Response Source is a cracking media enquiry service and the internal search is great too.
Use cases for having such a good means of searching back through old journo requests:
- Looking up old enquiries in any category (you can get a view even of categories you’re not subscribed to but just can’t click through to individual requests) so you can get a good idea as to whether you’d benefit from subscribing
- Looking at trends in terms of what sort of enquiries are coming through in different areas. Working with a family solicitor? A quick search for “divorce” will show you all the previous requests where someone has looked for expertise relating to divorce, so you can start to get an idea of what might come through and begin pre-preparing comment and content on behalf of clients
All in all, this is my go-to system for media enquiry type work for clients in the UK. Not cheap, by any means, but certainly delivers value.
A lower cost alternative to Response Source, Press Plugs works much the same way.
- It has fewer requests coming through right now
- BUT it costs significantly less
Press PlugsUK Centric Media Enquiries
You can get emails through when journalists submit enquiries
Generally all UK centric
Fewer requests than you see coming through Response Source (but it's growing)
Again, it has a really handy dashboard you can login to.
What I also see in PressPlugs is the team there often going through #journorequest Tweets, filtering and putting the best in PressPlugs. So this could also save you some time in filtering through Twitter.
We use this alongside ResponseSource as there are opportunities that come up in Press Plugs that we do not see come up elsewhere. So for us as an agency with multiple brands and clients, it makes sense for us to invest more and cover all bases.
If you’re a single brand looking for a low cost platform to win some opportunities, this is one to look at.
Dot Star Media
Dot Star Media is one of the newest HARO alternatives I’ve come across and used. In terms of how it works, it’s very similar to Press Plugs and Response Source. Again, pricing is excellent value.
Dot Star MediaUK Centric Media Enquiries
Real time emails as journalists submit their enquiries
Incredibly transparent pricing starting at just £40/month
Quality of enquiries is excellent
Fewer requests than Response Source overall at present - but again growing.
I am a big fan of transparent pricing and Dot Star Media is one of a minority of media enquiry services that shares pricing information.
Honestly, it’s very uncommon. HARO itself shares pricing but many of the alternatives operate with a “contact us,” approach to pricing, which can be a little off putting. Dot Star Media is completely transparent though.
£80/month gets you absolutely everything but you can start for as little as £40 a month with limited topics.
There’s a free trial too, so again you can give it a go before committing.
Press Loft is a little different. It’s specifically aimed at retailers with interiors or other very visual products. Yes, it has a media enquiry service and it also has a press release distribution service. But the thing that’s most interesting to me is the product gallery feature, which allows you to upload product photos and information for journalists to browse and download.
Press LoftFor retailers of interiors products
Has a media enquiry service included in the top level package or available as an extra in small packages
A unique offering with showcasing products in a gallery
Some excellent opportunities in here for the right type of business
Could end up costing over £4,000/year if you pay monthly and want the biggest package
Press Loft is incredibly transparent about its pricing, which again I love.
And if you only have a small product portfolio and could make it work at £20/month then this could be excellent value.
But in reality, most retailers are likely to need the £150/month or higher version in my view. And agencies would certainly need Standard or Premium.
Pricing can add up here quickly and if you’re on anything other than Premium, then you need to pay extra for the media enquiries element (the bit that is most similar in nature to HARO).
BUT, that said, this can pay dividends if you have the right product.
Invest time at the start in uploading all your product photos and information and you can end up with relatively passive coverage thereafter.
Here’s an example of the types of emails you can get when journalists login, download your product images and prepare to use them in their features:
Sometimes you don’t even have any back and forth with the journalists. It is perfectly feasible to just land coverage without much input from you once you’ve invested the time into uploading the products.
So if you have an interiors type of ecommerce business (or you represent such businesses) this one is one to look at. And if you’re questioning whether you could make the fees represent value, then contact them as they do offer quite lengthy free trials.
Qwoted is the media enquiry service that is most similar to HARO in how it works and also in the fact that it is very US centric.
QwotedUS Centric with a free offering
There's a free offering which could be enough for many
Some really high quality enquiries from great publications
Growing numbers of enquiries
US Centric - probably not a great option for those looking for UK coverage only
With a free account there are, of course, limits. But it can be enough to give you a flavour of what’s there and even land a bit of coverage or two.
The quality of the enquiries really is excellent. Here are some examples of recent queries from a free email digest:
If you’re looking for US coverage or international coverage then this is one worth trying.
Help a B2B Writer
So there’s every possibility I’ve saved the best until last here.
Help a B2B WriterFree right now. Amazing quality.
At the time of writing, Helpab2bwriter.com is free
Incredibly high quality requests coming through
Number of enquiries and categories is growing
I see no cons whatsoever with Help a B2B writer. I’ve only been using it a few weeks myself, but the quality has been immediately noticeable.
The biggest difference between this one and HARO or many of the others in this list is this… it’s not journalists writing for big national media outlets that are submitting the requests, but instead it’s writers who have been commissioned to write on big business websites like Shopify, for example.
So the quality of the sites these writers are writing for is consistently incredibly high. It’s less competitive to get your pitch seen right now too, though I imagine this will change as I anticipate a lot of growth for this one!
Here’s an example of a recent query.
Go and sign up. You have literally nothing to lose.
Other Media Enquiry Services
I’ve only included platforms I’ve used. I don’t buy into recommending products you’ve not yourself found useful. So this is by no means. an exhaustive list of media enquiry services.
So if we’ve missed something you think we’re mad to miss, give us a shout! We’re always happy take a look at other options and hope this list will expand.