Welcome to Famous in Your Field! Enjoy your free weekly tip to boost your fame factor. (Be sure to sign up in the box on the right to get on The VIP List for free tips and training, delivered straight to your inbox.)
One of the easiest tools for do-it-yourself publicity is to subscribe
to reporter query services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), Reporter Connection, Source Bottle and the like.
(Those are services used by journalists and bloggers to find experts and information for their publications.)
Just sign up, scan the daily emails and respond to those that match your experience. For a lot of professionals, it’s not as nerve wracking as cold “pitching” (contacting a journalist or blogger and suggesting a story yourself.)
A few weeks ago, I saw a HARO query that I thought would be a great opportunity for a woman I’d recently met at a business conference, so I sent it to her.
Next, she and I had an email exchange.
She said she was nervous and had no idea what to do.
I gave her some advice.
Then I thought that these quick tips might be handy for my fellow business fame seekers, too. Here’s the dialogue, along with the actual query.
Me: “Hi Amy, I saw this item on today’s Reporter Connection email (it’s like HARO, a list of reporters, radio hosts & bloggers who are seeking experts to interview for stories.) I thought this would be perfect for your expertise (especially since you are somewhat recently married, too!)”
Actual Reporter Connection query (with names and links removed):
Your Guy On His Wedding Day
Submitted By: Writer’s name
Title: Freelance Writer
Media Outlet: National Women’s Magazine
Deadline: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 – 06:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
Hi, I’m looking for a beauty expert and/or author (published in 2010 or after) to talk about four or five things you can do to make sure your guy looks and smells good when he walks down the aisle — since to-be wives won’t be there to help him out. Think: book a professional shave and eyebrow trim, buy him a bottle of new cologne. For a beauty website, on deadline. Thanks!
Respond To This Listing: [Link]
What I wrote to Amy:
“This is for a national magazine, so it’s a long shot. The writers get TONS of responses. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear a response. You won’t, unless she wants to use you.
In your case, I’d mention that you’re a licensed medical aesthetician who writes a column on skin care for Examiner.com. As a recent bride yourself, you can share…[your tips.]
It’s a good idea to Google the writer (if the name is mentioned) to read some of her work or see where she’s been published.
This particular writer is pretty successful; she has a monthly column in Cosmo, has written her own books and co-written books with Howard Stern’s wife, as well as Guliana and Bill Rancic.
From her book titles, she’s witty, so I might try to be a bit witty with my response.”
I want to help you get more publicity hits to boost your business fame, so I’m sharing a few DOs and DON’Ts to help your response make it to the top.
The ironclad rules:
- DO respond quickly, definitely by the deadline. In the national news magazine example above, the writer will be inundated with responses. She’ll probably read the first 30 or so with relish. But then, she’ll get burned out. Too jaded to keep plowing through. Wouldn’t you?
- DO respond with *exactly* what the reporter is asking for.
- DON’T ever respond by suggesting a different story. This is actually the second of the Five Rules of HARO. “2) Don’t SPAM reporters with off-topic pitches in response to their queries.” Why? Often, it’s because an editor (the journalist’s boss) has assigned her the specific story you see in the query. Responding with something off-target just adds to the email overwhelm.
- DO be concise, not long and ramble-y. Make your point quickly.
- DO let the reporter know at the outset who you are, why you fit what she’s looking for (your expertise/qualifications) all in one to three sentences, and then share your tips (or whatever she’s requested.)
- DO include your specific tips in your response – three to five work well. Follow the instructions and provide exactly what’s requested in the query.
- DO let the reporter know how to contact you directly if she or he needs more information.
- DON’T write, “I’ve got great tips for you. Visit my website at —-.” Instant <delete>.
- DO include a link to your website’s About page or other section, IF it offers additional information that would be helpful to the writer. You can also link to other places you’ve been featured, to boost your credibility as a source.
There’s no magic formula that guarantees your response will make it into print or online. But you can increase your chances by following a few simple guidelines.
Your fame boosting assignment:
Schedule a few minutes on your calendar each day to review emails from HARO, Reporter Connection and others. When you find one that fits your expertise, craft your hot response and send it off. Boom! On your way to business fame…