Most business owners recognize the value of getting in front of writers, reporters, editors and broadcast producers, which can result in great press for your company. Media attention can help validate your products or expertise and often generates sales. For that reason, many organizations spend a good portion of their marketing budgets trying to connect with the media representatives who can provide that free publicity.
A proactive approach to pursuing publicity makes a lot of sense. However, a reactive approach to publicity can reap even bigger rewards. With this method, you find out what stories writers and journalists are working on and then try and find a way to be included.
How is that possible? It's not as tricky as it may seem. There are actually several tools available that can get you in front of editors and writers at the exact moment they are looking for sources.
Some of the best free tools for print and online media are:
Help a Reporter (helpareporter.com)
Established as a free way to connect the media with companies and consumers needed for stories in-the-works, HARO is now one of the largest of such media connection services. Sign up to receive daily notices of what reporters are working on and may need you for. Then respond via email to source requests that are a good fit for you and your company.
This “speedy media matchmaking” service offers to connect sources with journalists at no charge. Simply complete an expert profile and review the daily media opportunities that arrive in your email inbox to spot interview requests that are a match to your expertise.
Media Kitty (mediakitty.com)
Created as a networking site for members of the media, Media Kitty has grown to help connect businesses with writers and editors in need of information. Media Kitty is very popular in the lifestyle, travel, and hospitality industries, and is a respected resource that is free to use. Set up an account to learn of source needs and to disseminate information you believe will be of value to members of the media.
There are also paid tools worth considering as well, including:
ProfNet is a subscription service that, for $55/month for small businesses and up to about $300/month for corporations, will alert you to reporter needs, much like HARO. There tend to be more business writers and reporters using ProfNet than HARO, so keep that in mind as you evaluate whether to subscribe.
The website for The Yearbook of Experts, Authorities & Spokespersons currently costs between $59/month and $279/month, depending on the number of services you need. The purpose of the site is to connect journalists, editors, and reporters with experts like you when they are working on a story. As an added bonus, you can also distribute press releases through the site.
Established primarily to help business leaders and subject matter experts get expert witness opportunities, Experts is also a useful sourcing tool for reporters. So if you’re in the expert consultant or expert witness directory here, you may find interview opportunities coming your way as well. The cost to be listed starts at about $350/year.
If you’re interested specifically in radio, these resources will be a gold mine:
Radio, podcast, and TV bookers and producers on the hunt for experts to interview often turn to RadioGuestList for the names and contact information for potential interviewees. Complete a free expert listing here and then watch the daily emails for source requests, much like HARO, for the chance at more publicity.
Radio-TV Interview Report (rtir.com)
Business owners, authors, speakers, and consultants often place advertisements in the twice-weekly Radio-TV Interview Report electronic newsletter. RTIR is distributed to around 1,200 radio producers and editors and each insertion generates an average of one to five radio interviews. The average cost to buy an insertion, which consists of a headline, up to 150 words about your topic, and your contact information, is $400, and can yield tens of thousands of dollars in radio publicity.
To maximize your chances of attracting free publicity, sign up for every free service you can. Then, when you have a new product or a hot topic in your industry, consider trying out the paid services. You may be surprised at how easy it is to get your company name in the pages of national publications and on the airwaves at major radio stations.
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