Get Big Press For Your Small Business- Part 1: HARO
Getting press as a small business may seem like an impossible and expensive task but there are simple, cost-effective measures that you can employ to ensure your brand is seen and heard.
This new Ri Web mini-series will explore a number of ways to gain press in a cost-effective manner. In fact, this article focuses on using a free tool known as HARO to get press. [vc_empty_space height=”50px”] “Invisibility kills” said Entrepreneur Olly Monks during his interview with me last year.
Truer words have never been said yet how do you make your small business visible in a world saturated with competition?
The obvious way of making your business stand out from the competition is to get press.
That’s far easier said than done. I won’t profess to have all the answers here, there are too many variables at play to suggest an exact formula for gaining press exposure.
What I can do is write from the perspective of someone who receives hundreds of press releases each month and crafts a few of my own from time to time.
Based on that experience, I’ve created this mini-series to show you how I get press for Ri Web and Twenty One Twelve Marketing.
If you employ the points in this mini-series, you will start to see a change and I’m betting it will help your business too.
This first article focuses on HARO, a free tool that gives small businesses access to top journalists.
It’s incredibly easy to use and I’m going to make it even easier by showing you how I’ve managed to get myself featured on 30 different publications in the past six months.
That includes a website ranked in the top 10,000 sites in the world. Read on to replicate my strategy and take your small business to the next level. [vc_empty_space height=”50px”] [bctt tweet=”Want to get your #SmallBusiness in the press? Read this article to find out how.” username=”Ri_Web_”] [vc_empty_space height=”50px”]
[vc_empty_space height=”50px”] HARO is a superb tool for journalists and businesses alike. We could write a pretty expansive guide to HARO because it’s brilliant but I’ll try my best to keep it short and sweet.
HARO or Help A Reporter Out, is a platform that allows journalists to send out ‘Queries’ to experts. These queries concern a wide range of topics and HARO sends an email out multiple times a day.
These concern a wide range of topics and HARO sends an email featuring these queries multiple times a day.
Journalists that are using HARO have to be writing for a publication that is ranked in the world’s top million websites. This is based on a site’s Alexa ranking, you can check your site’s ranking here.
The good thing about this is it means when you get an answer published you will get a link to your site from a high authority website, which will help boost your site’s SEO.
It’s not uncommon to see journalists from national publications like Forbes, Huff Post, The NY Times, Guardian etc. sending out requests.
So how do you go about getting yourself published?
[vc_empty_space height=”50px”] Visit HARO’s website and setup an account. Subscribe to all the areas that relate to your area of expertise and then you will start to receive emails each day from the categories you have subscribed to.
Scroll through the queries and find the ones that relate to your business.
Here’s one I received recently. [vc_empty_space height=”50px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner]Back to the process…
From the list above I picked out number 15 as a query to answer. I’m going to use it as an example as it is my most recent, successful response.
Once you’ve identified a query you wish to respond to you simply scroll down the email to the corresponding number for more details.
It will look something like this- [vc_empty_space height=”50px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner]Hi Guys,
I currently run a digital marketing agency that specialises in luxury brands called Twenty One Twelve Marketing. Here’s my answer, hope it helps:
Marketing a digital marketing agency is much the same as marketing any other type of business in that it’s important to employ a varied strategy to achieve optimum results. Alongside digital strategies such as writing guest posts on high authority websites, advertising across search engines and social media and maintaining exceptional social media profiles and website, it’s important for digital agencies to be aware of their niche. My company specialises in luxury brands and many of them remain reliant on traditional marketing methods, this means we won’t always find our key demographic in the online setting, so we employ traditional strategies such as attending plenty of luxury networking events and partnering with key companies to reach potential clients. People buy people and it’s important to get face to face with key stakeholders rather than bombarding them with cold calls and emails. If you can back up your real life charisma with an exceptional digital portfolio people will take note.
Hope this is OK. Here’s some more info about Twenty One Twelve and myself:
Name: Henry McIntosh
Position: Co-founder & Director of Content Marketing
Let me know if you need anything else, should you use our answer we will share it across all of our channels!
Why did they use this pitch?
[vc_empty_space height=”50px”] Because the answer is short, succinct and only provides the information that the journalist requested.
NEVER pitch irrelevant information, always just stick to the brief.
What you’ll find is that writing about something so familiar won’t take much time at all.
This answer took me ten minutes and I sent it on the 26th of September. By the 28th the article was published featuring my answer and a nice link to Twenty One Twelve. You can see the article here. [vc_empty_space height=”50px”] [bctt tweet=”Ri Web’s new mini-series focuses on getting #SmallBusinesses press. Give it a read and join the conversation.” username=”Ri_Web_”] [vc_empty_space height=”50px”][vc_empty_space height=”50px”] OK, I hear you say but that response is probably only of interest to digital marketers.
Why would your ideal client (someone who doesn’t have the time or knowledge to do their digital marketing) care about that answer?
They wouldn’t. But that answer got me a high authority link back to our website, great for SEO.
So let’s look at a different query that demonstrates us showing our expertise giving an answer that a small business owner would really appreciate.
Remember that top 10,000 website I mentioned earlier?
HARO- Example 2
That was CIO.com, who probably receive hundred of thousands of visitors each month looking for digital help.
So it’s a good place for us to showcase our expertise. Here’s the query they sent out- [vc_empty_space height=”50px”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner]
33) Summary: How to use Google Analytics to increase revenues, sales
Category: High Tech
Email: [email protected]
Media Outlet: CIO.com
Deadline: 2:00 PM PST – 27 April
How can SMB and enterprise marketers use Google Analytics to
increase revenues and sales?
I’m looking for your best tips and strategies about using GA to
get the maximum benefit from PPC campaigns, organic search
campaigns, social media marketing, or other initiatives, in
order to boost sales and revenues.
If you’re a digital marketer or advertiser with tips and
strategies to share, please email them to me and be as specific
as possible. If you are describing how to use GA for something,
please describe the steps required, so I can replicate your
If you have any anecdotes about how the tip or strategy helped
you or your organization, please share them.
Also, please tell me the following about yourself: – Full name
– Job title – Company name – URL of the company
Thank you for your help!
You are a digital marketer or advertiser who is highly
experienced with Google Analytics. [/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space height=”50px”] As you can see there are a fair few more requirements in this query but the value in spending a bit of time and sharing one of my tactics is manifold here.
This answer didn’t take me ten minutes, I thought about the best answer to give. It couldn’t be too obvious,
It couldn’t be too obvious because someone else would undoubtedly send the same thing but it also couldn’t be too technical, the journalist is working to a word count.
So I decided to go with a nice middle ground answer which you can see below. You can also see the final article here. [vc_empty_space height=”50px”] Hi James,
I hope you are well and that this answer helps-
One way I like to use Google Analytics to increase sales is to monitor which websites send my clients traffic and then increasing their exposure on those particular sites and similar sites.
The logic behind this is that if a certain website’s audience are visiting your site and buying your product then you need to ingratiate your brand with this audience on a wider scale, not solely on the one website.
To find out which websites are sending you traffic, log in to your Google Analytics account -> Visit the Acquisition tab -> click All Traffic -> select Referrals
Now you can see which sites you derive the most traffic from.
Pick a highly relevant one, then get in touch and offer them access to your product/service in exchange for a review. If this isn’t possible offer to share your expertise through a guest post on their site.
You don’t have to be a great writer if you are knowledgeable about your field. Chances are, if their audience is already or potentially highly interested in your business, they will be more than happy to accept free content.
Now expand your exposure by using Chrome’s Scrape tool. Simply search for it in the Chrome store, it’s free to download. Select the URL where you derive your most relevant traffic from and select ‘scrape similar’.
Chrome will populate a list of similar sites, export these into a spreadsheet and get in touch with the most relevant in an attempt to solicit reviews and offer guest posts.
This will allow you to expose yourself to highly relevant audiences who are likely to buy from your business on a much wider scale.
More traffic doesn’t mean more sales. But increasing the amount of highly relevant traffic visiting your site will increase your sales. You just need to use Google Analytics to point you in the right direction.
Tip: No sites sending traffic? Find a relevant publication your target demographic read and scrape their URL. Create a press pack and send it to the most relevant, use Google Analytics to monitor what’s working and gradually optimise your technique based on this.
Name: Henry McIntosh
Title: Director of Content Marketing
Company: Twenty One Twelve Marketing
Twitter: @HenryMcIntosh2 / @2112_Marketing
Henry [vc_empty_space height=”50px”] Once again, the answer is to the point and doesn’t include anything off topic. Follow this principle and you will soon amass press for your small business. [vc_empty_space height=”50px”]
[vc_empty_space height=”50px”] Don’t get disheartened with HARO, depending on your niche your results will vary. With a generic query, journalists will be inundated with requests.
To give an example, I received 67 responses in one evening when I asked to interview top execs at luxury brands.
So you need to stand out, don’t give generic answers make sure you’re truly answering the journalist’s questions and providing insightful and original solutions.
Digital marketing is one of the most saturated fields of all and we still manage a 70% success rate on our HARO responses.
Sometimes you need more than ten minutes to provide true value to a journalist.
So never be afraid to research and always back your answer up with evidence or facts- it will help them.
If you employ this strategy you will soon start gaining your business an enviable level of exposure.
Tip: When you are successful, the journalist will always notify you in the hope you will share their article. Make sure you save their email and make a note of their specialism. You’re building a database you can contact will relevant story pitches and press releases.
That will come in useful in the second part of this mini-series which will focus on finding journalists who are relevant to your business. [vc_empty_space height=”50px”] Got something to add to Henry’s article? Let him know in the comments below and he’ll get straight back to you! [vc_empty_space height=”50px”]