Every business wants to grow and succeed. If you’re looking to reach your target market, increase your sales, and expand your business, publicity is necessary.
In today’s business landscape, if people can’t find your company online, it’s like you don’t exist at all. So aside from having a website and social media presence, doing public relations is also essential in raising brand awareness and building your authority.
One effective way to your PR outreach efforts is through pitching journalists. Lucky for you, public relation is relatively easier to do these days than before with the aid of various PR tools and platforms, like JustReachOut and Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
We talked about HARO in previous posts, so we’re going to focus on JustReachOut and how you can use it to contact the most relevant journalists and media outlets for PR outreach.
What Is JustReachOut?
JustReachOut is PR software that allows you to get media exposure and publicity on your own.
Many businesses either prefer to do their PR in-house for better control or save their budget instead of hiring a PR agency, so tools like Just Reach Out becomes handy.
Dmitry Dragilev founded JustReachOut in 2014 to help small entrepreneurs, and independent professionals do their own PR. It has expanded since then and claims to have helped over 5,000 customers.
What are the key features of JustReachOut?
JustReachOut has six outreach tools that can help you get PR exposure on your own.
This media outreach feature is where you get access to questions from journalists and get included in the articles they’re already working on when you provide expert answers.
You can search the platform for a particular keyword relevant to your niche, expertise, or industry.
The journalist questions are collected from 15 different sources, including Help a Reporter Out (HARO).
You can respond directly to the journalist using the platform. You can also integrate your work or personal email, whether that’s Gmail, Outlook, etc.
You pitch yourself to be a guest on a podcast. You can search the platform for your specific niche or topic using a keyword, and it will show you a list of relevant podcasts.
You can filter the search results based on different parameters like the country or region, episode length, language, and published date.bht
You can listen to a sample episode from each podcast, which will help you get to know the show and see if it’s the right fit. You can also see the podcasts’ popularity, how many episodes they’ve published, and so on.
You can add a show to a list of podcasts that you’ll want to pitch.
It also comes with email pitch templates along with some guidelines on how to write them, rewrite some old PR pitches from the JustReachOut team, and best tips on creating a media pitch or proposing something new to the podcaster.
Broken Link Building
With this feature, you can find other sites with broken links on your topic and ask them to replace them with your links.
You can search for a specific topic and it will give you a list of published articles that have broken links in them. You can see details like what the broken links are, the anchor texts, error code, and link type if it’s a dofollow or nofollow.
You can choose niche publications that you want, then reach out to the writer or the editor. You’ll pitch to them a new article you’ve written about that topic and ask them if they would like to consider replacing those broken links with yours. You can send your email pitch simultaneously to all the publications through the platform too.
This is where to pitch relevant journalists that are actually writing about your topics and interests.
This JustReachOut tool works quite similarly to the Podcast Outreach. You search a keyword, and then you’ll see the results pulled from search engines like Google, Bing, and other sources like Lexus Nexus.
You can use different filters like language and location, daily or monthly visitors, Alexa rank, and URL.
The results come with a handy button so you can easily create a list and add publications to include in your outreach campaigns.
JustReachOut also provides pre-populated pitch templates that you can use to create your outreach campaigns.
You can create your lists of journalist contacts using the platform and add some contact details manually.
When you’re ready to do the outreach, you can view different templates you can edit and customize for your pitch. You can also create follow-up emails that will be sent based on your parameters.
For example, if there’s no reply from the journalist or publication after three days, you can schedule a follow-up email to be sent later.
Guest Post Outreach
This tool helps you ask other publications if they can accept a guest article from you. Like the other outreach features, you can search for a category relevant to your niche or industry.
You’ll get a list of publications that JustReachOut editors manually curate. The details include the name of the publication, URL, domain rating, publication type, and link type.
You can send an email pitch directly from the platform.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
This feature is where you find mentions of your brand that aren’t linked to your site. You can just type in your brand name on its dedicated search channel, and JustReachOut will pull the results of articles that have referenced you but didn’t get you a link.
You can send your email pitch to all sources through the JustReachOut platform.
On JustReachOut’s platform, you can also see some key metrics of your outreach campaigns.
- Number of email pitches you’ve sent
- How many were opened and the open rate
- How many clicks on the links in your media pitches and the click rate
- Number of responses you received and the response rate
JustOutReach provides pretty much everything that you need for a successful PR outreach campaign. It also has its JRO academy, where you can learn all the lessons they’ve compiled over the past decade that they’ve been helping clients do their own outreach.
Now, being successful at your outreach campaigns requires a proper understanding of the basics of outreach and finding press opportunities. So that’s what we’ll dive into in the next sections.
What Is PR Outreach?
PR outreach is an activity that involves reaching out to relevant journalists, media outlets, publication editors, or influencers. Its primary purpose is to introduce your company and increase brand awareness, as well as establish relationships with them.
Traditionally, companies only want to get coverage from major publications and use a press release. There wasn’t any interest in getting backlinks, and the pitches happen when you’ve already created the content.
But PR outreach has evolved a lot since then. Today, you can do PR outreach in various ways, channels, and tools. The desired outcomes have also changed so much, so there are different strategies you can use to achieve them.
How Do You Find Press Opportunities?
With the power of the internet and technology, you can find a lot of opportunities to work with the media to build your brand image.
Here are some tips to keep in mind, whether you’re just starting out or have been doing PR for a while.
Start Small with Local Media Outlets
One of the best places to start your PR outreach is your local community. While most people would aim to hit the top tier publications, sometimes it’s also best to start small in your local community.
You can explore the local newspapers, TV, radio stations, and other smaller publications in your area. Now, don’t jump right in and pitch your brand story.
Instead, you need to study them first. Review them and be familiar with them. See what they’re currently doing and how you can contribute based on your expertise.
You might be able to contribute articles, be a guest for a TV interview, or get featured in a segment or column. Other potential opportunities include business listing, cover story, executive profile, and event photos.
Follow Relevant Journalists on Social Media
When looking for press opportunities, you may come up with a list of journalists or media outlets covering your industry or niche. Scan their feeds, and you might find an opportunity to contribute to the stories they’re working on.
On Twitter, for example, journalists seek expert insights or relevant sources to interview on a topic they’re working on. You can find them using the hashtags #journorequests and #prrequests.
Bloggers and reporters may also post their requests on Facebook and Twitter account. You can also search the feeds with the phrase “seeking source” or “experts needed.”
Use PR platforms like HARO and JustReachOut
Looking for media outlets and journalists who would want to feature you in their articles and publications is a lot of hard work. But what if they are the ones looking for you?
That’s half the work and possible through PR platforms like JustReachOut and HARO.
In these tools, you can find journalist queries that seek insights from business experts, licensed professionals, and other industry authorities.
All you have to do is pitch your answers to their questions, provided that you’re qualified. When they use your answers, they give you a media mention of your brand and a link to your website.
Media mention is a popular tool that marketers and PR professionals use today because being mentioned on a third-party site can build your authority. Readers can see your brand as credible, and search engines also deem your site authoritative because of your earned backlinks.
Publish shareable media and statistics
Journalists love newsworthy data and statistics because they add credibility and authority to their pieces.
Shareable media like infographics, graphs, photos, and video clips are also great ways to be included in their articles as they give you credits for that information.
You can do surveys with your customers or share results from a successful marketing campaign.
The topic has to be relevant to your expertise or niche, so it will work well in your favor in terms of relevant media mentions. It will also make you more authoritative.
When you’ve done the analysis, package your data in a way that’s easy to digest and use by reporters. Then, plan how you can distribute them.
What’s good about studies and statistics is that you can update them annually and make comparisons.
Look for trends and emerging patterns that can be newsworthy. Remember that most journalists want to use the most recent data.
Create your own media assets
Aside from looking for press opportunities with other publications, you can create your own content. You can add a blog to your website and write about your expertise and industry.
The purpose is to share your knowledge and provide information that readers can find helpful.
As you do so, you demonstrate your expertise and authority in the subject and build your reputation as a reliable source. You can develop your thought leadership as well.
Your blog can also help boost your SEO rankings, leading to other organic opportunities to get media coverage.
Of course, don’t forget to optimize your main website. Create a comprehensive media kit that includes your company profile and history, press releases, and copies of other press coverages you received.
Aside from blogging, you can turn to podcasts as well. Podcasts have become popular in recent years.
Instead of writing, you can talk about relevant topics to your expertise, invite guests to your show, and pitch yourself as a guest to other podcasts.
Participate in Industry Events
Industry events are great for networking and learning the latest trends. But you can also find press opportunities there.
If there’s an opportunity to become a panelist or a speaker, grab it. Reporters that cover the event can cite you as a source in their writeups.
When looking for industry sources, some journalists would often visit association websites and find recent participants. If you were a speaker, that’s an extra point for you.
How Do You Find And Contact A Journalist For Media Coverage?
Finding journalists to write about your brand is easier said than done, but thanks to the internet and technology, there are PR tools now that you can use to make the process much more effective.
Use social media
Who’s not on social media these days? You can find most reporters on Twitter and LinkedIn, which are free platforms. You can find press contact info there, but it can be time-consuming.
You can use the old-school method of searching for keyword + editor or keyword + journalist. Connect with them and follow them on social media to get a feel of the stories they cover.
Start engaging with them by commenting on their posts or replying to their tweets. It gives you visibility, and you can start building relationships from there.
Use Google News
Instead of journalists, you may look for media outlets first that cover your niche and industry. Google News comes in handy here.
You can search for a relevant keyword and see which publications have articles on them.
Then you can write down the details of editors and journalists and their contact information and reach out to them later.
Some publications indicate whether they’re open for contributors or guest posts, so make sure you check the website if they have any guidelines on that. That will save you time from trying to reach out to the writer or editor.
If they accept contributed articles, they’re likely to have a form you can fill out or a specific email address where you can send your pitch.
Use media databases
Building your media contact list can be time-consuming. The good thing is that if you don’t want to take the long route, you can access media databases. Some may come with a small fee, though.
Some examples are Prowly, Press Hunt, and Buzzsumo. These platforms have a huge directory of journalists, reporters, and media outlets, and have features that allow you to filter the database based on your parameters.
For example, you can choose the location and the topic and come up with a shortlist of those who might be interested to cover your story.
You can look them up on Google or social media to find out what they’ve been working on recently.
Some writers, especially freelancers, may be writing for various publications and topics. Journalist’s beat may vary among them, so it’s important to check their latest works.
How Do You Send PR Pitch To Journalists?
When you find the relevant publications and journalists, it’s time to prepare your pitches. How you do that may depend on the kind of media outreach that you do. You may aim for media mentions, guest posts, podcast interviews, etc.
First things first. Before you send pitches, do the following:
Create a strong bio
Your bio is important in introducing yourself or establishing your credibility and qualifications. It should indicate who you are and your role in the company, and what your expertise is.
You can prepare two versions. One is short—about 2-3 sentences only—that you can use as an intro for your media pitches. Another is a bit longer, though keep it at 100 to 150 words only. Some journalists would specifically ask for a bio but don’t want it to be too long.
Do an online profile cleanup
When the journalist or media outlet reads your email pitch and wants to use your insights, they may also look you up online.
So, before you send your pitch, ensure you’re ready for media coverage and that you’ve done a cleanup of your online profiles and social proof.
That means your website and social media channels are updated, and your posts reflect your brand properly. Ensure that your contact information, “About” section, and bio are updated and correct and that you have a profile photo.
Engage with the journalists
Before you send your email pitches, it’s helpful if you can engage with your prospect journalists and media outlets first.
As mentioned above, this establishes your presence and creates a foundation for your relationship.
Follow them on social media and give some support for their work through sharing them and commenting on their posts. They will most likely open and read your pitches if they recognize your name.
Now, here are some tips to craft compelling email pitches:
Read the requirements carefully
Whether you’re pitching answers through journalist queries on a PR software or pitching ideas for a guest blog post, you must read the instructions carefully.
For instance, publications have specific rules when it comes to accepting guest posts. Some would require you to pitch your story idea first in a few paragraphs, then wait for their approval if you can proceed with the writing part.
You’ll have to stick to certain topics, follow a word count range, writing style, outbound link rules, etc. You also have to submit your completed article through the methods they outlined.
If you’re answering queries from journalists, you’ll have to ensure that you qualify as an expert based on what they’re looking for.
For example, they may explicitly say that they want a licensed dietician to answer, but if you aren’t licensed, don’t pitch. You’ll be ignored, and that will be a waste of time for you.
Sell your story, not your brand
Journalists hate overly promotional pitches. And you’ll know they had enough dose of it when their queries explicitly say don’t be too promotional.
Remember that you need to sell your story to get media coverage. So, showcase your expertise and authority by providing helpful, insightful, and actionable answers to their queries.
Nail that, and you’ll be able to promote your brand in a subtle but powerful way.
Personalize your pitches
Sure, PR platforms offer templates that you can use when pitching journalists, but don’t use them in every pitch you send even when you’re telling the same story.
You need to tailor and personalize them based on the journalist, their query, or the publication you’re pitching.
Remember that you’re likely to send multiple pitches to the same journalists, so they can easily notice when your pitches are too generic or templated.
Create personalized conversation starter and make sure that your media pitch is relevant to the query.
Offer something unique
Article topics may often look repetitive. How many productivity articles have you seen? How many SEO tips have you read in recent weeks?
You may notice trends, patterns, and several similarities among these articles.
When you write your email pitches, go beyond the norm and the obvious answers. Think of a unique angle, an uncommon idea, or a personal experience you can share.
Make sure that your answers have “copy and pasteable” quotes, which will make it much easier for the journalists to include your insights in their articles.
Send relevant pitches
Journalists hate off-the-topic pitches. It’s a waste of time and effort for both of you. Worse, they could flag or blacklist you, so don’t take your chances.
Your media pitch must have super relevancy. That’s based on your niche, expertise, industry, and qualifications that are exactly what the journalist is looking for.
For example, the topic is eCommerce marketing. You’re qualified to answer if you’re a marketing expert.
If you’re also the head of marketing of an eCommerce company, that combination makes for super relevancy.
Create a catchy but not spammy subject line
Your subject line is the first thing that the journalist will see, so it plays an important role in ensuring that your email will be opened.
A good subject line is relevant to your media pitch and not clickbaity. It’s interesting, offers value, is personalized, and has keywords.
Here are some examples of subject lines:
- Idea for [topic]
- How X will help [pain point]
- A better way to reach [a specific goal]
- Quick question about [topic]
- Hey [name], let’s talk about [idea]
You must also avoid trigger words that could land your emails in the spam or promotions folder. Some examples are: free, bonus, click here, subscribe, and buy.
Let them know where they can reach you
Don’t forget to include your contact details in your pitches, and make sure that’s something you access regularly.
You must keep your lines open because journalists may have follow-up questions based on your pitches.
They may also want to interview you over the phone or via Zoom. If they can’t find your contact info, you could lose the press coverage opportunity.
Pro tip: create a dedicated email for marketing outreach. This way, you can better track your marketing outreach campaigns, and you won’t miss important emails from your media contacts.
What Are The Alternatives To JustReachOut?
If you want to shop around and look at other options, there are similar platforms to JustReachOut that you can check out. Here are a few of them:
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO has become a household name when it comes to press opportunities. It’s a platform that connects journalists and expert sources.
How does it work? A journalist who needs a source for a story posts a query on HARO. The query details the information that they want, along with requirements. HARO reviews the query, then releases the approved ones in a newsletter. It sends newsletters three times a day.
Brands, entrepreneurs, and other professionals who want publicity sign up on HARO. When they receive the newsletters, they can answer the queries they deem relevant. When the journalists like your pitch and quote you in their stories, they give credit by mentioning your name and company and usually add a backlink to your site.
Signing up on HARO is free, but it also has paid subscriptions. The main difference is that you get priority access to queries before they are released to the free users.
Terkel partners with websites and publications. Similar to HARO, you also answer queries, but they only indicate the publication name and not the journalist.
Terkel makes pitching to journalists easier by allowing you to answer the queries on the platform.
You have to create a profile with a photo and information about your role, company, and location. So, the media pitch itself doesn’t need intros.
Terkel also allows you to see how many of your answers got published. This saves you time from searching Google for your earned media coverage.
You can use Terkel for free, but you’re limited to 5 answers a month. The paid subscription costs $99 a month, giving you unlimited opportunities to answer queries.
You’ll also have access to other details like the domain ratings of the publications and the link type they give (i.e., dofollow, nofollow, or mention).
Sourcery is a journalist outreach PR software that makes media outreach much more efficient. It also makes HARO more usable by providing more information based on the experience of media outreach specialists and PR professionals.
These include the domain rating, link type, and difficulty score. These allow you to reduce your media outreach time by 90% while prioritizing high authority domains that give quality media coverage.
Sourcery also provides strategy and coaching on how to pitch and land high-quality media coverage.
Wrapping Up: Just Reach Out
Landing media coverage today has been made much easier with tools like JustReachOut.
Businesses that want publicity, build their credibility and authority online, and boost their SEO have found great value from such tools.
But with the increasing competition for earned media and press coverage, you must be strategic in reaching out to journalists and media outlets.
When you nail your PR tactics, you’ll start generating consistent exposure. We hope you find some valuable nuggets here!