Using a VA for free PR - Lesson 1: Getting in the News
In the first of a series of posts on the benefits of using a Virtual Assistant for some FREE PR, today I am going to touch on how I have used a VA to help with getting in the news.
Nobody doubts the need for a long term online strategy, such as Search Engine Optimisation, for example. However, whilst you wait for a few months for your SEO strategy to kick in it doesn’t mean you cannot also be pro-active in bringing your story to the attention of the world?
What story? Well, you do have a story...
… why did you set up the business? What is your mission? Can someone use your expertise? What is unique or different about your business or your product? How have you evolved as a business?
If you run your own business you have a story and there might be someone out there who could use it.
I have done it myself. In late 2016 I set up a blog and then set about publicising it. I got on a podcast, in online and print publications, I have been interviewed on video, done some promotional work and some informal coaching off the back of it. I even won a few awards last year simply by getting my name out there - talking to people for whom my story could be useful and interesting.
You see the internet is not like the high street. Nobody will amble past your shop window by accident. But there are people out there in the business of publishing who are looking for help and perhaps some element of your own story can be of use to them.
So here are couple of little hacks to help you on your way.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO hooks up journalists and sources. It is a great resource for journalists looking to source elements for their articles and stories and is used by some of the largest media outlets on the planet.
By signing up to HARO as a "source" you can configure what sort of requests you receive, by selecting the subjects that might best cover your business (e.g. Travel, Business, Lifestyle, Finance, etc.).
TOP TIP: You will receive daily emails alerting you to stories you can pitch to contribute to. Now, going through the emails is a job of about 20 minutes a day. Writing a short email pitch to a couple of them could be another 20+ minutes so you are looking at a little over half an hour a day, which is time you don't have but your Virtual Assistant does. Although, in truth it is unlikely you will pitch every day.
By following Twitter hashtags like #journorequest, #PRrequest or #BloggerRequest you can find people looking for relevant contributions to their stories. Scheduling a little time each day to do this can work out for you.
In return for contributing you will get a link to your website and your name or product in front of a relevant audience.
Now, this can be a little time consuming but it is easily structured and easily documented in a process which means… that’s right, your virtual assistant can do it for you.
TOP TIP: Set an exact amount of time to be spent on this stuff (15 mins, 30 mins...). If you are doing it yourself it ensures you don't go down a social media rabbit hole and if your VA is doing it (and they should be) then it provides an important guideline in their working day.