How To Get Free PR To Drive Traffic To A Website

by Dawn Fotopulos on July 7, 2010

How to get free PR to drive traffic to your website is easier than you think if you use Help A Reporter Out. I’ll tell you a little about “HARO”, and then I’ll tell what happened to Best Small Biz Help when we responded to an article request.

First, do you know what HARO is? It stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. The website link is listed below in the resource box. The site functions like a marriage broker between reporters doing stories on particular topics and subject matter experts they can quote in their stories.

Sometimes the reporter is on a tight deadline writing articles on  Bio Tech and Healthcare, Business and Finance, Education, Entertainment and Media, High Tech, Lifestyle and Fitness, Public Policy and Government, Travel, and General. They need to interview subject matter experts for article content. They often need to find qualified people quickly.

I wanted to learn how to get free PR to drive traffic to a website, so signed up to receive the HARO feed. It’s really easy. It’s the sign up on the right side of the homepage. The left side is for reporters to sign up.

Once you’re a member (which is free to you), you’ll receive requests from reporters doing articles that might be relevant to your experience.  Here are some of the topics from today’s feed:

Weird/ Funny Roadsigns

Looking for  A Handwriting Analyst

Seeking An Expert on Construction Accounts Receivables

Quick Tips for Landlords

Education Issues

IT Careers in the Financial Sector

Need Experts on Time Management

Healthy Snacks for Summer Camp

Cancer and Nutrition

Everyday, the topics change. Last month, I received a HARO feed. One query came from the owner of CommuniquePR. She asked, what small business websites did people like and trust? Two colleagues who know Best Small Biz Help well and who have attended my talks and seminars answered with glowing testimonials.

Communique PR checked out Best Small Biz Help and saw we were all about content-rich training and support for solopreneurs. They named us one of their Top 10 Websites for Small Businesses last month as a result of the testimonials. This gave us tremendous credibility for a website that has only been out for less than three months.

Free PR is very powerful; far more powerful than paid advertising. Why? Because it’s an objective source that has nothing to gain by touting who you are. That’s true in the print world. It’s true online. It builds credibility and trust a lot faster with broad audiences.

How to get free PR to drive traffic to a website?

Step One: If you want to get mentioned in an article, sign up to receive the HARO feed see live link below.

Step Two: Scan the feed when you receive it. You’ll know which categories your expertise tends to fall into. Scan the whole list to see if you feel qualified to speak to any of the subjects the reporter needs to write about. Sometimes, your personal life experiences or hobbies qualify you to speak on subjects. It’s not always just the professional work you’ve done.

Step Three: If you see an article on a subject that might apply to you, click on the email that is always included in the request, and give a three line blurb about you. Don’t make it too long. Make it compelling. You’re selling yourself.

Step Four: Wait for the reporter to contact you.

Step Five: Set up a time for the phone interview.

Step Six: The article gets published and your name is read as an expert by hundreds, maybe thousands of people.

When I find an article that could use my experience, my response includes an introduction and little about my street creds.  Something like this:  “I’ve taught hundreds of small business owners through the Levin Institute in NYC across dozens of industries. I know what small business owners are going through. Would love to discuss some case studies with you.”

I give the reporter a reason to call me. When he or she reads my quick introduction, he/she knows I have relevant, valuable experience. Reporters won’t waste their time if they interview me. Think about the things that make your experience stand out. Is it your education? Is it a project you worked on? Is it a company you worked for that has high brand recognition? Reporters are always looking for the unique angle. Give it to them when you respond to a query.

It’s gold to a reporter. It’s interesting. I don’t give information, I tell stories that illustrate ideas. It’s all real-world, based on first-hand knowledge.  It’s also interesting for the writer. It’s new content for them. That’s a compelling read for the visitors who will read the final article, right?

For every three  inquiries you respond to, you might get one reporter to actually interview you. I think those are pretty great odds considering what you’d have to pay a PR agent to get that interview.

Does it take a little time? Yes, but it’s sooooo worth it. After a while, you’ll become expert at scanning the list of proposed articles. It won’t take but two minutes to scan the list. Then add another two minutes to respond to one or two requests. I also have created a standard response I can just cut, paste and customize for a query.  Now it takes me even less time to respond.

Once you’ve been interviewed a few times, a beautiful thing starts to happen. Reporters begin to call you directly. That’s when you know your free pr is really working. The more you’re interviewed, the more your name and brand shows up in cyberspace.

The more your name shows up in cyberspace, the more backlinks your website will get. The more backlinks your website gets,  the more people know about you. The more people know about you,  the more traffic will show up to your website.  All that for maybe ten minutes a day, total.

Did this process cost you any money? No. Not one dime. What’s the value of being quoted in an article? Ask a PR agent. They’ll tell you it’s worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you had to hire an agent to get a single interview for you.

It’s a great investment of your time. Help A Reporter makes it super easy for you. The automatic feed, the email addresses to respond to, makes it almost fool proof. I’ve been interviewed five times in the last two months. Love that!

How To Get Free PR To Drive Traffic To A Website? Help a reporter out by signing up for the HARO feed and responding to requests to be interviewed. You’ll be considered an expert in no time.


Dawn M. Fotopulos is Assistant Professor of Business at The King’s College in New York City and Founder of Best Small Biz Communique PR just named Best Small Biz Help as one of the best small business websites online. Best Small Biz Help is the only training and support portal for small businesses and solopreneurs. Need help? Don’t Panic. No cost. No kidding. At Best Small Biz, we are The Solopreneurs Lifeline tm.

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