When most people think about getting publicity, they think in terms of luck or dollar signs. The former is unreliable, and the latter isn’t always accessible.
Whether you are a startup or a small business, I will share how to increase your website traffic in just five minutes a day.
KOYA, a startup delivering magical moments, increased monthly website traffic by 21% through one successful HARO (Help a Reporter Out) pitch.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
What is HARO? It’s a FREE online service for journalists to receive helpful feedback from the public.
Initially, HARO can feel overwhelming. After signing up, dozens of queries (journalists looking for sources) appear in your inbox three times daily. Just breathe and quickly scan through them to see if there is a good fit for your company.
Pro tip: when it comes to pitching, less can be more. In fact, it usually is.
If you find an exciting query, read up on the journalist and publication to see if it is still a good fit. Once everything checks out, it’s time to craft your pitch.
Your pitch is your story, which means that no one knows it better than you –making you the expert. Your job is to quickly and effectively catch the journalist up to speed on why you are the best source for their story. It’s not rocket science.
Here is what a query typically looks like:
As you can see, most journalists are clear about their expectations. After skimming HARO, if you are strapped for time, I recommend copying relevant pitches and pasting them into a draft. Whenever you have a moment, you can begin the process of replying.
- Add Value. It’s good to be personable and helpful. Ultimately, your pitch should feel as though it is adding value.
- Make your pitch easy to skim. Aim to make your pitch easy for the journalist to skim. If this proves challenging, use bullet points to recap your main points at the end.
- Double-check the qualifications. Nothing is worse than receiving an off-topic pitch. Word of advice, double-check the query to ensure that you give the journalist what they asked.
- Make a simple email signature. Email signatures make it easier for journalists to find the sourcing details they need.
- Spend time crafting your subject line. In some cases, your subject line might be the only thing the journalist will read. Make it count.
- Create a pitch Document. Keep a running document of previous pitches to help craft your pitches quicker. You can use this as a guide, but keep each pitch personal and unique to the publication.
It feels fantastic to send off pitches into the abyss. The worst part is waiting to hear back. While some journalists will let you know that they included you in their story, most don’t take the time to send you an email. There is silence if your pitch is accepted or rejected, which can make the waiting game feel a bit eerie.
So, you’ve sent your pitch. Now what?
- Create a Google Alert for your company name to be notified of any mentions. This approach isn’t foolproof, however, so please make sure to follow the next step.
- Use Ahrefs’ FREE backlink checker to find recent backlinks. I do this once a month and have found several articles that I knew nothing about until I searched.
- Don’t follow up. Instead, wait patiently.
- If you are cited, be sure to share the article or blog. When you do this, I recommend tagging the writer and the publication. Why? Sometimes the writer or publication will reshare it, which leads to organic traffic.
- Take a moment to thank the journalist for including you. If you build a good rapport with the journalist, sometimes they will ask you directly to participate in future articles. Now, this isn’t the main reason to thank the journalist. Gratitude is truly the best posture, and if someone decided to include you in their article, why not take an extra five minutes to share how thankful you are.
After being cited, I highly recommend repurposing articles on your social media. Create images with the journalist’s direct quote about your company or take a screenshot of the publication and share it to drum up excitement. It can look something like this:
After posting to your socials, keep in mind that if a well-known publication chooses to share about you or your company, you can add this to your website. Adding a logo to your website is easy to do and adds credibility to what you are creating. You can also share it within your Company’s Twitter or an Instagram bio (i.e., “Recently seen in ____”).
In less than a year, KOYA has been featured in more than 20 articles and has also appeared on a few blogs. A few of these have driven a large amount of monthly traffic to the website, most noteworthy being a feature in Women’s Health Magazine. This publication, in particular, consistently drives 21% of all monthly traffic and has done so for more than six months.
While this might seem like a lot of information, it gets easier. If you found this to be helpful, you can find me on Twitter. I am happy to answer your questions.
Courtney is one of the co-founders of KOYA Innovations, a company aiming to initiate moments of intentional connection. She is also a samba admirer, marketing fanatic, and adventure enthusiast with a background in Psychology and Global Communications.