For example, you know that consistently publishing high quality content to your blog, in your weekly newsletter, and on your social media accounts is one way to up your exposure so that when a potential customer goes online to search for that thing you do, they find you.
But there’s another way to gain exposure that doesn’t cost a dime, and can seriously propel your business visibility to the next level, and that is some good ol’ fashioned media coverage.
Getting quoted or profiled in a local, regional — or heck, even national — online or print publication confers the kind of third party validation that money can’t buy.
Anyone can pay for advertising, but getting coverage in a publication read by your target audience puts you on a whole other level, one that carries a lot more weight than a big, pricey ad could ever do. You’ll simply never get the same kind of credibility from paid advertising.
Media coverage can raise your profile, create awareness around your products and services, build credibility for you in your niche, get more traffic to your website or bricks-and-mortar location, and ultimately get more sales in your business, if done correctly.
The best thing is, you don’t have to have a big PR budget, or any PR budget at all, to do this; we’re talking DIY PR here, and today I want to share a great resource to help you get started.
This resource is HARO, and it can help you get press for yourself. You will have to learn a few things about media relations protocol and etiquette, but you’re a smart cookie, so no worries there, am I right? ; ) Plus, I’ve linked up a couple of articles below that will help you in that department.
What the heck is HARO, exactly?
HARO is an email list you sign up for to receive queries three times daily from reporters who need sources for their stories.
HARO gives you real-time media opportunities, straight from journalists on a deadline needing a source.
There are advanced and premium versions of the service, but the no-cost option is perfect for getting started, and includes dozens of queries each week from reporters looking for expert sources on a variety of subjects and topics.
Simply identify the queries that are appropriate to your products and/or services, choose queries to which your knowledge and expertise are an appropriate and exact match, and reply.
(It’s critically important to give the journalist precisely the kind of information they’re asking for, and well within their stated deadline. No off-topic or late pitches – take it from someone who used to pitch reporters on a regular basis!)
Sharing your knowledge and expertise using HARO queries can be a powerful marketing tool for your small business. You’re in business to serve a specific audience and need, so there’s no point in hiding in plain sight waiting for someone to discover you – get out there and make some noise about your awesome business!
You’ll find all kinds of helpful information on how to make the best use of HARO queries and the ins and outs of media-pitching etiquette in a good ‘ol Google search, but in a nutshell , you’ll want to keep these helpful hints in mind:
Pitch on topic, respect the deadline, and be brief/don’t waste the reporter’s time. (Also see the articles I’ve linked up below under “More Resources” for help here.)
Visit the link below and click the “Become a Source” button to start receiving your own daily HARO queries:
Here’s a terrific article called “How to Pitch HARO Successfully”
And here’s an example of how an educator – not a professional marketer or PR pro – replied to HARO queries and got hundreds of media interviews (you read that right – hundreds).
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