The concept of earned media (i.e. PR) often scares entrepreneurs away, and not without cause—in order to get media coverage, many business owners turn to PR firm retainers ranging from $5,000-$20,000 per month.
That’s not “earned” media anymore—it’s paid media. Expensive paid media.
The truth is, most entrepreneurs can’t get their business off the ground while paying through the nose for press release syndication, content creation, and journalist outreach. PR is time consuming, difficult, and expensive.
Here are three ways to land press hits for yourself or your company, and they’re completely free.
HARO, or help-a-reporter-out, is a gold mind of media possibilities. Journalists, reporters and writers post questions and ask for potential sources to respond with answers. The list of questions is sent out to HARO subscribers three times per day. If you see a question that you feel qualified to answer, send the media outlet your response, If they quote you or use your input, you’ll get a citation (and usually a backlink).
I’ve had tremendous success with HARO. My personal music history project, Backstage Podcast, scored a mention on HowStuffWorks. That was certainly beyond my expectations! Another business media outlet featured Broadview Networks—one of my clients—after a simple pitch to a writer through HARO.
It’s free to sign up for HARO, and anyone with specific industry knowledge can be featured by a media outlet. Yes, it’s highly competitive and you have to put your best foot forward, but the payoff is worth it.
Just like HARO, JournoRequests publishes a daily digest of queries from bloggers and journalists, accessible with free sign up.
I will say this—the quality of the publications represented on JournoRequests is far inferior to those on HARO, but it’s still worth your time. I once ended up in an email interview with a journalist from the Daily Telegraph, and if I hadn’t been too busy to respond in a timely manner, I would have been featured there.
An added benefit of JournoRequests is that you can interact with the writers directly on Twitter, so there’s no need for encrypted email addresses and anonymous publications.
3. Twitter Advanced Search
Not many people use Twitter’s advanced search features, but writers and journalists use the platform prolifically. If you want media coverage, you had better get comfortable in their environment.
I use the “All of These Words” part of the advanced search. If you have something more specific in mind, feel free to dig into the other text fields.
To start off, try plugging “looking for entrepreneurs for story” in the text field. Next, select a date range—now you’re ready to click the search button. This method takes commitment to daily Twitter use, but like the previous methods, it’s free!
After investing some time into monitoring these free PR tools, you’ll realize you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars each month in PR agency retainers. If you don’t have the time to do PR yourself, you can hire this work out to a freelancer for a fraction of what a PR agency would charge. Business writers and bloggers love talking to entrepreneurs. You just have to put yourself out there.
Adam Gingery is a digital marketer at Majux Marketing in Philadelphia, PA, and he’s the co-founder of Backstage Podcast. When he isn’t earning media mentions for Broadview or Mitchell and Ness, he’s probably freelance writing or catching some pick-up hoops at the Palumbo recreation center.
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