In another article we talked about how important it is to get on the good side of journalists in your niche, so that you can become the go-to person when they’re looking for information. You can set up this kind of strategy on an ongoing basis, working with your virtual assistant. It’s important to remember that the media industry is very dynamic however. Styles change, media resource management can change very often and the relevant journalist can also move on to pastures new. Make sure that such a list is updated and refreshed every month at least.
We can energise this type of approach by engaging with a little-known organisation online run by Vocus. Known as Help A Reporter Out, or HARO, this website seeks to proactively connect new sources and media outlets and this can definitely augment any manual process that you engage in the meantime.
There are three different packages available to you. At the low end and at only $19 per month is the standard package where you can sign up to receive media opportunities three times per day, delivered to your e-mail inbox. You can filter your alerts according to specific keywords. Furthermore, you can have alerts sent directly to your mobile phone via SMS for instantaneous action. Sometimes it’s necessary to move very quickly when it comes to news.
HARO has over 30,000 reporters and bloggers on the books. They have facilitated nearly 7.5 million media impressions since the organisation was founded in 2008. No matter what type of niche you’re in, it’s likely that there’s opportunity here.
To kick things off it will be necessary to build a profile. This is your opportunity to sell your sizzle and specifically inform journalists why you should be classified as an expert in your niche. You are “the” trusted resource for any journalists who are looking for help with a story related to your line of business. It should be noted that if you opt for the advanced package, which is $49 per month, then you can establish up to three different profiles, useful if you have different lines of business.
You can engage your virtual assistant to search the database each day for opportunities as and when they arise. While the alert system should notify you of potential opportunities you may well be able to catch an additional advantage by being proactive here. You may also find opportunities that aren’t necessarily covered by the keywords you enter into your profile.
There’s a good chance that your nearest competitors aren’t using this service, as it still tends to fly a bit below the radar when it comes to online marketing and PR specifically. In the grander scheme of things the amount of money required to sign up for HARO on a monthly basis is very manageable for most budgets.
Remember also that even though your business may be geographically local in terms of your target client, there’s much to be gained from being seen as a national or even international resource, in PR terms.
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