What is your system for leveraging free publicity along with your social media marketing efforts to get optimal exposure for your company? In this post, I share how to persuade top media reporters to feature you and your business. All it takes is one simple email – and following best practices so you avoid the rookie mistakes I made.
One of my favorite tools for building a business owner’s media presence is HelpAReporter.com (better known as HARO). This is a free resource that connects media reporters to sources to be featured on web, television, radio, and podcasts assignments. There are over 35,000 journalists from prominent media outlets like Huffington Post, Fox, Wall Street Journal, ABC, and more. These reporters are seeking qualified sources every day to quote and highlight in their pieces.
What’s the benefit to you and your business of using HARO? Quite simply, being quoted by a reporter gives you instant authority and positions you as an expert. It’s so much more powerful when someone else brags about you and your company than doing it yourself!
The best part? Once quoted, you can legitimately place those media logos on your website and state, ‘As seen in’. Use these same logos on all of your social media headers – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to increase your credibility. Most reporters will also provide valid link-backs to your website which helps with SEO rankings.
It’s easy and free to be a HARO source. It only takes about 20 minutes to register and populate your profile. Definitely take the time to build a complete profile that has your website, social media links, and contact information. Reporters will check your profile to ensure you are legit before they choose to feature you. HARO can be competitive, so make it easy for a journalist to select you over someone else who didn’t create an optimal profile.
Easy Steps to Becoming a HARO Source
- Register to be a Source at helpareporter.com.
- Populate your complete profile.
- Watch your inbox for weekday emails from HelpaReporter. The sender is ‘HARO’.
- Skim each email for the major categories that match your knowledge and experience – healthcare, business, entertainment, high tech, lifestyle, fitness, sports, education, general, travel, and more.
- Respond to the specific email address provided in the request with your valuable input.
- If a reporter features you, he/she will email you a link to the story. Update your web site with the media logo to show you were featured and add the link to the story.
HARO really works when you know how to capture a reporter’s interest. Some of our Elite Coaching clients have been featured in Reuters, Fast Company, and Inc. Magazine. Personally, I’ve been quoted in LearnVest, SpringLeaf, Trulia, All You Magazine, CafeMom.com, and others. I’d love to brag that I got picked up right away for my submissions, but I’m embarrassed to say it took almost 3 months. To help you fast track your success, here are several tips (aka … my own mistakes) to accelerate your results:
Avoid 7 Common Mistakes and Get Featured
- Responding from an Unregistered Email Account - your submission will get rejected if you don’t use the email address on file with HARO. When this happens, you will have to cut and paste your original submission into the right email and re-submit. Make this mistake just once and you won’t do it again since it’s extra work. (I know, I did this a few times before I learned the lesson).
- Ignoring Time Zones and Deadlines – some responses are due the same day as the summary email arrives. Other requests allow longer response times. Twice I spent time writing a great submission only to learn the deadline was an hour ago because I converted the time zone incorrectly. When this happens, HARO sends you an automated email immediately telling you the query is closed. Miss a deadline and you lose out on that submission.
- Thinking You Aren’t Smart Enough, Experienced Enough, or Good Enough to Submit - HARO says ‘Everyone is an Expert at Something’ so own it! You likely know more than the reporter which is why he is asking for help. Be confident and own your answers. Act like the expert they know you are.
- Getting Impatient and Giving Up – it takes a little while to get the knack of HARO, but then the results are explosive. It took me months of constant submissions and revisions before I was selected by a reporter. I just kept submitting until I was chosen. My pitches got better each time and then finally I was getting featured. My best week had three reporters pick me on the same day. I would love for that to happen to you.
- Being Selfish and Pitching your Company Instead of Providing Value - mention briefly what you do in the opening line, then jump right into serving the reporter. It’s about them, not you. This is an easy way to get disqualified and pegged as a source who is only self-serving.
- Not Systemizing Your Submissions - many reporters have similar requests, so save your responses so you can reuse them with some slight modifications (this is one of the tips we do with our Elite Coaching clients to save them time and effort.). HARO can be overwhelming as you get 15 emails every week with up to 100 journalist requests per email. You need a system to find the most powerful media outlets, submit quickly, and track responses so you get optimal media exposure. Don’t skip this tip or you may end up dismissing HARO as too much work. It’s easy – when you have the right systems in place.
- Not Following Up With Reporters When Featured - thank the reporter for selecting you and suggest he keep your name for future articles. Many reporters will add you to their source list if you were credible, cooperative, and had original ideas. You never know what might come up down the road. It’s easier for them to reconnect with you than to dig through hundreds of emails to find a new source.
HARO is a great compliment to your social media marketing. It’s a simple tool to get featured by the big names and increase your credibility for free. If you are having challenges getting selected, let’s jump on a complimentary 15 minute call and smash through the issue. One of my clients tried to get selected for nearly six months. After one quick call with me, he was immediately selected for an international piece that brought him over $20,000 in new clients.
When you use HARO to land free publicity from this blog, please leave a comment and share the news so we can all celebrate your success!
- How to Get Free Media Exposure – With Just One Email - May 16, 2019