Recently, I gave myself another try with what is probably the most effective PR service for business owners and Freelancers, Help A Reporter Out . I originally signed up with HARO about five years ago, but quickly discontinued when I felt overwhelmed by the thrice-daily emails that arrived Monday – Friday to inform subscribers of 20 or so potential opportunities to be interviewed. The drill is, as soon as a topic that you can speak to with authority appears, you click the link to the reporter’s HARO request for an expert and attempt to sell him/her on your ability to provide quotable information.
You will compete with numerous contenders. But if you keep at it, the odds are that you’ll eventually speak with a reporter and get your quote. Mentions and appearances in newspapers, magazines, widely read blogs, podcasts, or television shows is effective marketing and branding. Include the link to your quote or interview on all of your social media platforms and download the full text (not just the link, which can be taken down) in your press kit.
A press kit is your brand’s portfolio of verbal, audio and visual demonstrations of your credibility. A well-stocked press kit provides third-party verification of your stature and expertise. Whenever you reach out to the press, send a link to your press kit (remember to include your bio and photo). If you take a booth at a trade show, bring along hard copies of your press kit. When courting an especially desirable client, send a link to your press kit for his/her review, as a confidence builder.
When approaching journalists at HARO as they seek insights from trustworthy experts to add credibility to an article they have in development, or if you send out press releases to inform your local media of some newsworthy achievement in your business or professional life (perhaps you’ve just signed an especially prestigious client?), it’s essential that you present yourself as an authority in your industry whose story will interest the readers of the publications that you pursue. Review your PR-worthy attributes and make sure that they’re up to snuff:
Experience and track record
Longevity in business is considered a sign of success, experience and credibility. If your client list includes one or more high-profile clients, that enhances your presumed expertise. If you author a blog or newsletter that has 5000 or more subscribers, that is another strong selling point that often persuades reporters to interview or quote you.
In fact, reporters will hope to attract many of those followers to his/her article when you provide the link to the item in which you are quoted. Freelancers who’ve built up big online followings are always attractive media sources.
If you can produce links to articles in which you’ve previously been quoted or interviewed, that evidences the approval of fellow journalists and you will be well-positioned to receive more media mentions.
Enviable sales revenues
Are you a million dollar consultant (or close to it)? That’s an attention-getting descriptive and it ensures journalists of your business acumen and therefore, credibility. Journalists will be delighted to interview you.
If you’ve earned the scholarly degree of Ph.D, M.D., Pharm.D or Esq. in your chosen field, you will quite readily be able to present yourself as an expert. Alternatively, if you’ve earned one or more respected certifications in your field, you may advertise yourself as an expert in that field.
If you own (or share) a patent for a product or process that you’ve invented or co-invented, you may as well claim that you are an expert in your industry and you can do the same if you teach a subject related to your industry at the university level, especially if you teach at an Ivy League or other large institution.
If you’ve authored a book, whether an industry “how-to” or the story of how you overcame business or personal struggles to launch and sustain a successful enterprise, that will be a brilliant marketing tactic that will convince reporters of your authority. Additionally, you can use your book to obtain speaking engagements and even teaching appointments. Plan to self-publish and expect to pay about $5000 for editing, proofing, book text lay-out, cover design, printing and professional photography.
If you’ve received a business award from a chamber of commerce, that is a noteworthy honor. A service award from a Rotary Club, while it is an organization composed of business executives who perform volunteer service, is nevertheless highly regarded in the business world. Awards and prizes that you’ve earned from national or local organizations will stand you in good stead as well. Note all official recognition that you’ve received in your bio and curriculum vitae.
Five or six years ago, I was invited to become a judge in the Women in Business category for the Stevie Awards, an organization that recognizes achievement in the entrepreneurial, corporate and not-for-profit sectors in organizations around the world. I hope to be invited to judge this year’s competition as well. If you are a member of a business or professional group that presents awards, ask to join the awards committee.
Thanks for reading,
Photograph: Powerful gossip columnist Louella Parsons (l) with bandleader – actor – producer Desi Arnaz and his wife, actress Lucille Ball at the 1956 Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles