Being mentioned in media outlets can be a good way to get free promotions, but how can you do it effectively? If you are a busy business owner, you do not have the time to run after journalists.
I have experimented using sites connecting sources with media outlets, primarilySourcebottle, to land free promotional opportunities. In this article, I will share what I do, step-by-step, so you can promote your business, or maybe just yourself, for free. If you are in the US, you might like to check out HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
Here are three key points to getting free promotions:
Sign up to a free promotion website
There are two main sites to focus on: Sourcebottle or HARO. Sourcebottle is a good alternative to use if you want to get free publicity in Australia. HARO provides greater opportunities if you want to get publicity in the US. Try to keep in mind that journalists are more likely to reach out to you if you are in their time zones because they may need some quick assistance with their stories.
After you have gotten an account, it is time to set up preferences regarding which opportunities you want to be connected with. Both Sourcebottle and HARO send out emails twice a day with promotional opportunities you can take advantage of. All you have to do is specify what you ideally want to be contacted about.
Regularly check your email
Make sure the daily email is not caught by your spam filter. If it is, then simply move the email over to your inbox and you should get the emails in your regular folder. After that, simply read through the headlines for each story in the emails you get. Once you get into the habit, it should only take you a minute or two.
I have noticed that one or two fitting opportunities come up every day through Sourcebottle. However, I am mindful that not all opportunities are a good fit for me. If the outlet does not have the right audience, or no audience at all, then I am much less interested in using it. You might also find that some companies are looking for ongoing free content in exchange for little, if any, promotion.
Write valuable replies
Once you have identified a few good opportunities, try to address everything that is mentioned in the call out. Journalists often do not have a lot of time, and you need to be considerate to their situation by making them feel you have read and understood their request and given a thoughtful reply. Keep in mind that you want to come across as the perfect fit for their specific request.
If you can, try to format your reply in simple bullet points with spacing between points to make your reply easy to read. Then, as you get replies, consider if you are dealing with an inquiry that will only cost you a little time and can give you a great promotional return. The best situation can be a thirty-minute interview over the phone leading to national coverage.
Your challenge for the next 15 minutes
- Sign up to a free PR site like Sourcebottle or HARO
- Specify the type of opportunities you want
- Search the platform(s) of your choice for opportunities you can take immediate advantage of.
I was featured in Business Review Weekly by having a free account on Sourcebottle. Currently, I am testing the paid version of Sourcebottle, which allows me to have a profile that journalists can view first before reaching out to free subscribers. I have not noticed a significant difference yet, so it might be best to just start with a regular free account.
About the author: Bjarne Viken
Bjarne is a conversion optimisation strategist, who works with marketing managers and business owners to scale up their businesses by analysing how they can improve their online conversion rates.
He has worked extensively with many growing companies, helping them drive customer acquisition, push conversions and increase sales.”
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