3 Services that Connect SMBs to Journalists

SMBs often have a limited public relations budget. In such cases, the most effective use of time and money is to have the journalists come to you instead of you continually pursuing journalists. How do you do that? Well, there are 3 services that I know of which do a great job of compiling journalist requests from myriad sources – television, major newspapers and magazines, bloggers – and sending them out to those who can quickly and appropriately respond to those requests. These services provide a win-win situation. Journalists get connected to the sources they need to complete the research for their articles and SMBs get the exposure they seek. And who is to say that the SMB cannot then leverage that initial usage into an ongoing relationship?

Here are the 3 services and their descriptions, in order from cheapest to most expensive:

HARO – Help a Reporter Out, a service provided by Vocus, Inc. www.helpareporter.com

(Check out http://facebook.com/helpareporter, where HARO posts all the completed-with-HARO-sources stories.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a Vocus service that brings 10,000 reporters and bloggers, over 100,000 news sources and thousand of businesses together to tell their stories, promote their brands and sell their products and services.  HARO takes requests from journalists looking for sources and compiles them into three daily publicity alert emails. Subscribers reply to requests that match their expertise. Since its inception in 2008, the service has placed thousands of organizations in news outlets ranging from the New York Times and CNN to local blogs and industry publications.”

The basic HARO service is free. The upgraded HARO service is $19.99 per month. Due to the cost, this service is superb for smaller businesses. The 3x/day emails can get highly annoying so I recommend paying the $19.99 per month once you have adequately satisfied your curiosity.

PR Leads – publicity for experts. http://www.PRLeads.com

Per its website, PRLeads provides

  • “The chance to get quoted in newspapers and magazines
  • The opportunity to build your credibility with the endorsement of the print media
  • Dozens of leads each month targeted to fit your key areas of expertise
  • Training on how to respond effectively with reporters”

I used PR Leads successfully before. The cost is $99 per month. There are some discounts for 6-month and 1-year packages.

ProfNet – a service of PR Newswire, http://www.profnet.com or https://profnet.prnewswire.com/ProfNetHome.aspx.

“Benefit from the full range of ProfNet services. Receive a feed of opportunities from journalists, organized by industry or subject. Post profiles on ProfNet Connect, where reporters search for leading experts. Plus, submit unlimited Expert Alerts and Topic Alerts (Roundups) to alert reporters to experts who can address timely topics.

Services included with a ProfNet membership: ProfNet Opportunities: Receive a daily feed of: email opportunities from reporters looking for sources to provide expert commentary on stories they are working on.

Expert Alerts and Topic Alerts (Roundups): A proactive way to pitch experts and story ideas directly to the media.

ProfNet fees are assigned on a sliding scale depending on the type of organization, number of “seats” occupied by information officers, and number of ProfNet industry categories to which an organization opts to subscribe.”

ProfNet is expensive but thorough. Call 1-866-776-0942 for pricing. ProfNet is used by many larger corporations.

All of these recommend the following: When communicating with journalists, give them a knockout punch upfront. In an email or on your profile, provide your name, what you or your company does, why you should be referenced/what makes you a stand-out. If it’s an email response, then answer the reporter’s question using a 3 item bullet point and description method. This enables a reporter to quote you directly without the need for additional contact. Because of this, make sure you signup for Google Alerts on your name, your company’s name, your book, or whatever you consistently feature in your responses. This way you can make sure you are aware of most, if not all, of your media mentions.