Reverse PR is like being the victim in a puppy swarm. How so? Read on.
Ever tried to pitch a story you have to the press? It’s hard. That’s why people pay PR firms $5,000 and up per month to do it for them. PR professionals have the personal connections and experience to make things happen, and it’s even hard for them sometimes. But if your goal is to get a certain story out within a certain timeframe, it might be the only way to go. However, if your goal is merely to get in the media as often as possible, without a hard deadline, try reversing the process. That is, get the journalists to come to you. As a journalist, there are a few ways I find people to quote in the articles I write. If you want to be found by me and other writers, here are my top four recommendations.
1. Use HARO
I know, I know, I talk about HARO all the time, but that’s because I get so much value out of it, from both sides. For the uninitiated, HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out, and it’s a website where, if you are an expert, you can sign up to receive requests from journalists who are working on articles. If you’re a journalist, you can use the website to find sources for articles. And it’s all free. Want to get quoted in the press? Just sign up at HARO, start receiving the emails they send out three times a day, and when you see a request and you think “Hey, I could respond to that,” then respond. More on how to use HARO here and here.
2. Use Twitter
I collect lists of people on Twitter. I search on Twitter. I am frequently inspired by things I see people say on Twitter to write articles. Here’s a secret: Journalists tend to be some of the most active people on Twitter. If you want to get exposure to journalists, be active on Twitter, follow journalists, get to know them, retweet their tweets when you like what they’re saying, answer their questions, ask them questions, and otherwise engage them and get to know them.
3. Write a Book
Journalists want their articles to be credible. Quoting someone who said something interesting is one thing, but quoting someone who said it in a book is more credible. There’s something about being a published author that gives whatever you say more weight. Maybe it’s just that anyone can easily say something on a blog or Twitter, but publishing a book takes a bit more work, so that alone makes someone who has put a book together more believable than someone who may just be spouting off and hasn’t thought it through. By the way, I’m not exactly a fan of Tucker Max’s books, but he has an interesting venture for aspiring authors called Scribe Writing.
4. Publish Online
HARO is a bit like fishing–you have to wait for the right opportunity to come along. Twitter takes time. Writing a book is hard. Publishing online is easy. I recommend setting up your own blog, but don’t stop there–there is a goldmine to be had in putting your content on Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, and SlideShare. I’m going to write an entire post about syndicating content on these in the future, but the short version is that you post to your blog, then you copy and paste it to Medium and LinkedIn. Duplicate SEO penalty? Don’t worry about it. As Google says:
Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article [emphasis added]. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.
Here’s an example of how I do it, first on Medium, and here on LinkedIn. This was actually syndicated from one of my Forbes posts. What’s interesting is that the Forbes version (where I arguably have the largest audience) has, to date, generated fewer than 3,000 views, Medium has only generated 25 views, and yet on LinkedIn Pulse I’ve had over 13,000 views and 217 comments! Wow, what if I had stopped with Forbes and Medium and said “Ah, nobody cares about this, might as well not bother doing it on Pulse.”
With SlideShare I frequently take my articles, especially listicle ones “7 Way To Improve Your…” and turn it into a slide deck and put it up on SlideShare. Sometimes I get thousands of extra views this way. Just check out my latest How to Get Press For Your Startup. Almost 2,000 views in just a few days. That’s mostly not coming from my own built-in audience, that’s traffic SlideShare is sending to me.
But here’s the main thing about how this leads to press–if you’re actively publishing, your content is getting out there in front of a lot of people. Chances are, it’s going to get in front of journalists and they’ll start quoting you, especially if you know what you’re talking about and you focus on a niche. Plus it will give you more to tweet about, it can act as material to write your book, and so it feeds your other efforts. If you can get all these working together, then you’ll be covered by journalists like a puppy swarm victim is covered with minimalist canines.
If you’re a journalist, what are other ways you find sources for your articles? If you’ve become an expert at getting in the press without directly reaching out, what are your secrets? Tell us in the comments below.
[Note: This post took me a little less than half an hour to write. Just throwing that out there as a bit of random trivia.]
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