How much would your sales be impacted if your company, product or service were featured in an article in a well-known publication? What would it mean to your career if you were quoted by the media as an expert in your field? As you likely already know, great public relations can grow your business and change your career overnight.
But many people -- even PR professionals -- struggle to do more than send pitches to the inboxes of every journalist they can find. Most of these pitches end up being deleted without being read. Thankfully, though, there are easier ways to get the attention you want and deserve.
I asked 10 experts who have generated amazing results for themselves, their companies and their clients to give me one tip each on how individuals can spend 15 minutes a day working toward great PR results, and here’s the valuable advice I got back.
1. Subscribe to HARO.
"Sign up for the free subscription to HARO (Help A Reporter Out). You’ll start receiving three emails each business day with reporter requests for quotes, advice and expert opinions. Scan the HARO queries as soon as they land in your inbox to see if there's a request you can respond to.
If so, respond to that query ASAP. Reporters are usually on a very tight deadline, and they often get so many responses that they look only at the first few."
-- Spencer Smith, Spencer X Smith Consulting
2. Film short and sweet YouTube videos.
"As soon as you can, get yourself a filming set-up that allows you to make a one-minute video on a topic that you can provide expertise for and that ties into your company brand. It might be a tip, an idea or even an announcement, like this. Create a good description, add sensible tags, put it onto your YouTube channel (you have one, right?) and share it via your social media channels.
"On the very next day, use your 15 minutes to make a transcript of your video and turn it into a blog post. Then copy and paste it to LinkedIn Pulse and Medium, and embed the video. Also share those posts on your social media channels, as well.
"By producing two-to-three of these videos and accompanying blog posts each week, you’ll have well over 100 within one year, and hundreds of social media posts that will have spread the word on your brand, taking up just a few minutes each day.
-- Cheryl Conner, SnappConner PR
"Twiangulate is the coolest tool I use for influencer/blogger outreach. It's a precise Twitter bio search tool that lets me find journalists among my own followers, or the followers of my good friends. This way, I have a common connection to refer to whenever I need to reach out and I get a much better response rate."
-- Ann Smarty, MyBlogU.com
4. Play tag.
"One tip that is still somehow way underused is tagging journalists (including their @Username) when you share their articles on Twitter. It's a good way to get on someone's radar. If you are going to be sharing their work with your audience anyhow, you might as well let them see you do it.
This goes triple when they include you in an article. Media is an incredibly competitive business and journalists rely on their communities to help promote their work. Long before you hit someone up for a favor, you should make yourself a part of that."
-- Laura Fitton, Inbound Evangelist, HubSpot
5. Create Twitter surveys.
"Ask a survey question on Twitter every day. The results of this will give you unique information to pitch to the press. I sometimes go after topics that are happening at that exact moment and then shoot the results over to journalists. They really love that type of unique and timely information."
-- Chalmers Brown, CTO, Due.com
Related: How Social Media Can Help With PR
6. Connect to journalists on LinkedIn.
"According to the Arketi Media Group, 94.2 percent of reporters and editors are now on LinkedIn, and the number one challenge they all face is not having access to key experts. Write down the top three publications you want to be featured in, find journalists at those publications and then connect and build a relationship with them on LinkedIn.
"Using this strategy, my company has managed to get featured in more than 50 media publications; and I now write for The Huffington Post, Hubspot and Entrepreneur."
-- Alex Pirouz, Founder, LinkFluencer
7. Use Twitter lists, reverse HARO and social media followers.
"Build a Twitter list of PR people you have relationships with. Then, using Tweetdeck, create a column that shows only those people in the list who have asked a question or are using words like 'for a story' or 'a story.' You'll then get alerts when they are prepping for a story you might be able to help with.
"HARO is fine, but reverse HARO is even better. What's reverse HARO? Using Gmail search, search HARO backwards to find people who have asked for leads for a story every year at the same time.
"This enables you to get in front of them before they post to HARO (this requires you to have been on HARO for years and save the emails). You can also search back years for topics, as well, which helps you build a target list of people to contact.
"If you have someone in your company who has a sizable following on Twitter, use Followerwonk to pull all that person's followers into a CSV and then search their bios for words like TechCrunch, HuffPo, etc. That way, instead of going in cold, you'll have people inside your company send DMs. The same thing will work with Facebook.
"Using graph search, you can search for 'friends who work at New York Times,' or 'friends of friends who work at Techcrunch.' If that effort produces nothing, try friends of friends who worked at those places in the past to help you expand your search."
-- Wil Reynolds, SEER Interactive
8. Automate your searching with Google Alerts.
"Sign up for news about your brand and industry, via Google Alerts. It takes just a few minutes of your time each day to see an overview of news updates and act on any relevant opportunities."
-- Belle Baldoza, consumer PR manager (APAC) at Netflix
9. Pitch a journalist (the right way).
"Indirect PR pitches are the best way to increase your chances of a media placement. Rather than talking about yourself, explain a larger trend that might interest the journalist or publication you're pitching, complete with stats, anecdotes and data.
"Your contribution should be only part of the story. Doing so not only makes the press's job easier but demonstrates greater objectivity, further increasing your chances of a placement."
-- Blake Snow, brand journalist to top media and Fortune 500 companies
10. Just tweet them.
"Tweet journalists you want to talk to. Don't email them. Writers and creatives often have an aversion to email, but for some reason they'll respond to a tweet. I've personally gotten in touch with lots of awesome people through Twitter that I could never talk to via email."
-- Benjamin Hardy, Journalist