Category Archives: Online PR

Katherine L. Garcia
How To Get Yourself In The Media (For Free)

If you’re a savvy business owner and an expert in your field, getting quoted in articles is a great way to help more people know about you and your brand! Want to get more media mentions? Start by placing yourself as an authority figure on the web by having a website that clearly communicates your skills and services. Next, write educational blog posts and social media posts. Then, work on getting yourself some media mentions!

Getting yourself media mentions is not as tough or pricey as you might think. PR firms can do a LOT for exposure and making connections, but if you don’t have a big budget, don’t stress. Pitching yourself to a journalist is not as stressful as it sounds – keep reading!

One way to get free press is to sign up for HARO (which stands for “Help a Reporter Out”). We absolutely love HARO. They provide experts (like you) with media opportunities and these opportunities are delivered to your inbox. Best part, it’s FREE.

How HARO Works

First you sign up for a free account as a Source. (You can upgrade your account to get keyword alerts, but the free account works totally fine!). After you sign up, you will begin to get three sets of emails Monday through Friday with queries from journalists. You will have to read through these queries and see if there’s one that matches your expertise. If there is a query that matches your expertise, you’d have to pitch yourself via the email they provide. 🙂

What to Include When Pitching Yourself to a Journalist

  1. Answer all questions the journalist asks. Journalists receive many pitches so it’s important to be clear and succinct as possible. We suggest answering the questions in the body of the email and not uploading your responses as an attachment. Adding an attachment to an email is one extra step the journalist has to go through. Plus, since the email HARO provides is a masked email, we’ve noticed that sometimes the attachments don’t go through.
  2. Include external links to your website so the journalist can learn more about what you do.
  3. Include your contact info. The journalist might need to reach you with clarification questions. Journalists are usually working with a tight deadline, so put contact info you actually check.

If the journalist approves your content, they will add your advice in their article (yay!). Once the article is live, you can add it to your press page (click here for an example of how a press page looks like) and share it on social media and on your blog. Press is awesome because it elevates you as an authority figure in your field and it builds your credibility!

What If You Pitch Yourself to a Journalist and They Don’t Reply

The majority of the time when I pitch a client to a journalist, I don’t get a reply. They get so many replies, they don’t have time. So here’s what I do:

I sign my client up for Talkwalker Alerts. This is a free service that emails me whenever new content about my client’s name or business pops up on the internet.

Next is the waiting game. I usually wait about two months to hear from the journalist or to receive a notification from Talkwalker Alerts, letting me know my client’s expertise was published in the media. If no mentions happen after two months, I go back to the original email sent, paste part of the pitch on Google to see if any mentions about my client pops up. If it looks my client’s pitch wasn’t posted, then I use the content I sent to the journalist to compose a blog post for my client. Nothing goes to waste here! 😉

Through HARO, we’ve gotten clients and even our team in major publications like Women’s Health, U.S. News & World Report, Shape Magazine, and more. We heart HARO, big time.

To sign up for HARO, click here. (This is not an affiliate link..we are not getting paid for this. We just love HARO so much and wanted to share the love!)

Lorrie Thomas
Content Marketing That Multitasks – The How-To Hire Article

One of my favorite content marketing pieces that I advise my service-based business clients to create (or create for them) is the “how to hire” article. No matter what industry you are in, there are things that you know potential clients should ask when interviewing service providers, but may not know to. These questions and the answers can help a lead see you as the right choice faster and spare them from hiring the wrong company. The How-To Hire Article multitasks in three main ways.

Visibility. The title of a “how to hire” article usually has your profession name in it and sometimes your geographic location, helping to pull in searches. Title examples:

  • How to Hire The Right CPA
  • Hiring an Austin CPA for Your Business
  • Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Stylist
  • Ask These Three Questions Before Hiring a Wardrobe Stylist
  • What to Ask Before Hiring An Atlanta Web Marketing Company

Little easy titles, simple post to write, big online marketing asset. These questions kick off your article and when used in in the meta title and the url and the body of the text, the content might be picked up by a potential client searching for your services too. We call this “pull marketing” since the content pulls a prospective client in versus having to “push” ads to help generate visibility.

This content marketing piece can also be something you post to social media from time. We are big on reposting great content! Recycling is great for the planet and it’s awesome for your content marketing too!

Credibility. A client of ours has been creating content for a third-party industry publication that is very well known in his niche. He emailed us saying he had a huge potential client lead and that client was interviewing other people before they made a decision, a smart thing for a consumer to do. When he sent the after-meeting follow email, he included a line in the follow up email along the lines of:

As you interview other ________s, my recent article on titled How To Hire A __________ will serve as a great reference. It includes what to look for, questions to ask and more.

Any service professional can be an expert…you become the authority a client wants to hire by owning your awesomeness…owning your awesome is accelerated when you author content. In the word authority is the word author!

When my team and I are supporting Web Marketing Therapy and Wild Web Women clients, our work includes online PR, pitching our clients to journalists who are looking for expert advice to fill an article they are working on. My clients who do active content marketing make the cut 90% more than a non-content creating client does. Why? Simple. We can either pitch the writer referencing content that is already on the website (how’s that for multitasking marketing?) or if the client gives expert advice, we can turn that advice into content (yay, way to repurpose effort) and lastly, we can say ________ writes extensively on the topic of ______ as you can see on her website and blog (include link) which shows the client can talk the talk, but also walks the walk.

Sellability. When you actually SHOW what you KNOW it can help reinforce someone’s decision to hire you. Anyone can say they are the best choice, but when you actually document what you know, it reinforces this knowledge to the potential customer and to yourself.  

I coined the term MarkEDing® with my clients to help convey an ethical, effective and an easier approach to marketing. In a short 7 minute talk, I explained the concept of MarkEDing, how it works in today’s influence economy and how it can give everyone regardless of income, size or experience the power to have a place in business. (It’s worth a watch, fun and funny but will make a mark on your marketing brain!)

The wonderful, wild web world has taken the elitism out of marketing and allows service and product providers to market in a way that could never have been done before. MarkEDing is not about touting your products and services, it is about educating your current and prospective customer.

Take the time to write that “How to Hire” article. It will be a therapeutic exercise to reinforce your distinction, selling power, knowledge and will multitask for your marketing for years and years!

The fabulous thing about content marketing online is that the effort builds and compounds over time…a good investment for your visibility, credibility and sellability!

Virtual marketing hugs!

Lorrie Thomas
Vocus Demand Success Highlights: Supercharged!

I’m still buzzing from the Vocus Demand Success Marketing & PR Conference in DC last week. I gained wisdom attending sessions and gave insights as a speaker too. The conference was fun, energetic, and oozed savvy people in the marketing field.  Despite the diversity of attendees, we all shared a common passion – to help our companies and consumers connect with content.

My session was called Supercharge Your News Releases.  I co-presented with Quin Woodward Pu and Abby Hammer (two brilliant professionals I might add!). Quin and I gave real-life examples about our experience with PRWeb to support PR, marketing and social media.

Lorrie Thomas Ross speaking at Vocus Marketing & PR Conference

Photo via PRWeb

My first encounters with press releases (and PR overall) was purely in the name of web marketing. As a marketing consultant who helps build marketing strategy and optimize marketing, I am always looking for ways to help use web tools to build credibility and visibility.  How to do this is always connected to content.  I saw PR and marketing teams spend time on press releases.  Once they were sent to media, investors or customers, they would vaporize into deep, dark, marketing nothingness.  I would ask (someones would have to insist) that we re-purpose the content and help change the time spent into something that was more of an investment by putting them on the web.  PRWeb was (and still is) our recommended web solution to distribute that content.  The nice thing about web content is that it builds and compounds over time, increasing a company’s web marketing footprint.  Why just spend time on press releases when they can be invested to work for years to come pulling in visibility and supporting credibility?

Once the re-purposing of PR content was going, I had another a-ha while listening and supporting our clients.  A LOT of information happening with our clients was PR worthy, but it was not being written about! I’d hear things like “we are sponsoring this charity for the 8th year in a row” or “We are speaking at this symposium”. This kind of news (that really helped show the personality of a company) was all press release worthy and was also ending up in deep dark marketing nothingness.  We make decisions with our hearts – to get to the heart, we need a way into the mind.  Content like press releases are an untapped opportunity!

This lack of press release writing on topics that mattered was a pattern across all my clients so I began to break down why this was happening so we could have the marketing breakthroughs.  The block was an internal inner-voice definition of marketing – the sentiment was that marketing was more of a way to push products or services, not as a way to pull in connections! After I prescribed the problem (the meaning of marketing), I diagnosed a re-train of the brains not think marketing but to think education.  Marketing, social media and PR is about service and support – not pushing sales.  The name of the game is to be more educational.  My marketing interventions would wrap up with a new word: markEDing as a replacement of marketing to help start the steps to a healthier approach to press releases (and all of marketing overall).

Marketing + Education = MarkEDing [Click Here to Tweet This Tip]

MarkEDing helped bring down the walls and to build up new press release topics to write about. Press release topics can come from content already published on a blog or a newsletter, or it can simply be about educating about things happening within the company that helps people understand who their organization is. Educational PR content was sometimes as easy as re-purposing content – a recycled press release if you will.

Organizations are not limited to just one press release distribution site (although we admit, we are strongly addicted to PRWeb). Press releases can be distributed throughout several PR distribution sites. On PRWeb, I love how videos on YouTube can be inserted into your press release. Recycling content for news releases is a way to really get your message out there.

Education is the whole basis of marketing. When writing news releases, is it important to educate your audience. And yes, all organizations have value but its important to weave in those values into your press releases. Sharing values is an educational way to get to the heart of the end user.  Value + Values = Voice.  This is the era of the social web, all organizations need an authentic voice.  Think markEDing to marry your value and values to help your online voice come alive.

Press releases are not only done to increase visibility. They also promote credibility, visibility, sellability, usability, scalability – it’s a multi-tasking form of marketing! Press releases have the power to get you more than just one positive result. And remember, at the end of the day, whether you are a B2B or B2C organization, news releases are all about people to people (P2P). [Click Here to Tweet This Tip]

The way we write needs to remain human. It’s also important to get to the hearts of people. This can be done by adding a quote with an authentic voice.  Quotes are the most important part of your release because they bridge your value and values with a human voice.  It is critical to give something to the media that they can use when distributing your news. Remember, when adding a quote to a press release, the media has full disclosure to use it.

You can learn more about how to write press releases in my Writing Press Releases video course.

Lorrie Thomas Ross  Chris Brogan

I freaking love Chris Brogan!

Social media and marketing thought-leader Chris Brogan was so brilliantly raw when he spoke on Getting Your Freak on for Success.  He emphasized caring about our customers and making the customer the hero – an important message to all of us, no matter what business we’re in.

Randi Zuckerberg was an awesome morning keynote.  I love her authenticity, her humor and her entrepreneurialism.  Her outing of the overuse hashtag #blessed and bad food pics were funny and sooooo true!

My selfie with Randi Zuckerberg - photo via Vocus

My selfie with Randi Zuckerberg – photo via Vocus

The culminating event moment for me was when Marketing Profs CEO, Ann Handley made us think about what marketing would look like “if your customer signed your paycheck”? That was an eye-opening analogy for all of us. At the end of the day, it’s all about providing quality work to to the people who matter most: our customers.  Are you approaching content in a way that would make your customers want to sign that check?  Think about it.

Being part of the Vocus Demand Success conference was an awesome experience! I got the opportunity to share my PR story and be in the presence of experts who truly love helping organizations as much as I do. I left DC inspired, connected and SUPERCHARGED to demand success!  Here’s to healthy marketing!

Press Release Writing Best Practices

Press releases can help get your news in the news as well as connect with target markets to educate and build meaningful connections.  Learning how to articulate a marketing message in proper press release format is a powerful communication skill that will help you no matter what industry or company size.

In my recent Writing Press Releases course on, I share press release practices that work beyond getting media attention.  I talk about ways that press releases can help get your news in the news, while working to increase your credibility, visibility and overall sellability.

Below is a preview clip of the course.  I encourage you to watch the full course (it’s under an hour) to refresh your press release writing skills for healthy marketing!

Writing Search-Friendly Press Releases

A press release is a powerful way to organize a message to educate and connect with the media as well as your target customer.

Press releases can increase visibility with the general public as well as the search engines when search optimization practices are applied.

In my recent Top 5 Tips for Search-Friendly Press Releases video on, I share steps that writers can take to get the most mileage out of that content creation. A preview of the course can be watched below.