~ 9 Minute Read
Whether selling products on Amazon through the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program or building a blog you likely spend most of your time trying to find ways to rank higher in Amazon and Google. Spending time on these components are important but only half the story. For those who don’t want to rely totally on Amazon or Google for traffic (as I would recommend) then it is crucial that you build a brand that can sustain and build traffic no matter where it ranks for generic keywords in search engines. This is becoming even more important now that Amazon is starting to directly compete with third party sellers and Google’s algorithm continues to get more and more complicated.
Why Mentions Matter
At the core of brand building is marketing. You need to not only have well defined brand, but you also have to find ways to get the world out about your brand to potential customers. This is where many would-be successful entrepreneurs struggle. They have a great product, but no one is buying (or reading).
Beyond search engines, getting magazines and other website publications to write about your product do a hell of a lot for your brand reputation and getting people to learn about your brand. With several of these mentions you’ll get more and more people seeking out your product/blog specifically bypassing the competition entirely.
On top of all these promotional benefits the mentions often lead to backlinks to your site from authoritative sources. While it is true that the Google algorithm continues to get more complex, at the end of the day a great backlink profile is still the best way to send your site soaring to the top of the rankings.
There are several ways you can go about trying to get these mentions. You can individually email publications to see if they’d be interested in trying your product. This can work, but you’ll spend most of your time reaching out to people who have no interest in your products. A more efficient way to achieve this goal is to work backwards. What I mean is find journalists and publishers who are seeking out content and products that are relevant to your brand.
On the surface this may seem like a really difficult task. “How the f*#% am I supposed to find these people!?” you ask while looking to market your amazing idea for a “car exhaust grill”.
Well, crazy inventor person, I’ve got a little secret for you. If you use this tip you’ll be on every “worst inventions” article on the web faster than you can say “colon cancer”.
The resource I’m referring to is called HARO, which stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. How HARO works is really simple. All you need to do is go to HelpAReporter.com and sign up as a source. Once you do this your email will be added to a listserv that will send emails to you three times a day. Each of these emails will include several different topics that journalists are looking to write articles for every day. Often these journalists need sources to provide information about the article topic. To be a source for some of these topics you may need to be an expert in a related field, like a doctor or financial advisor, but often times they are looking for anybody who can provide valuable information that will make their article better.
Since I was looking for ways to get free marketing for my herb grinder brand I was looking for content that would be relevant to “herb” grinders. On HARO I found a journalist who was looking for Christmas gift ideas for those who enjoy cannabis. I felt that Black Tie Grinders was a good fit so I replied to this journalist’s query and gave them information about our products and brand.
I never heard from that journalist again, but a few weeks after writing my reply I saw that my product had been included in a Men’s Journal article on the same topic that was mentioned in the HARO email. Not only did this mention give my brand a big boost in regard to our reputation, but it also gave my website www.blacktiegrinders.com a link from mensjournal.com, a very authoritative site in the eyes of Google.
(Unfortunately, I literally just checked for this Men’s Journal article while writing this and it appears they took it down. Hey, it was still a great mention and was able to obtain more satisfied customers as a result.)
I’ve also used HARO for TheMicropreneur.net and was recently included in an article about affiliate marketing from fitsmallbusiness.com. Another great mention and I thank them for the opportunity to offer my insights on affiliate marketing strategies.
Getting Started With HARO
- Go to HelpAReporter.com
- On the next page, go to the bottom and click the “subscribe” botton
- Click on which plan you’d like, the free plan on the far left will work just fine for the vast majority
- Fill out the form and click the “Sign Up” button
- Validate your email and sign in to your account
- Check for the daily emails in your inbox and reach out to relevant queries
General HARO Tips
- There is a lot of competition to get mentions through HARO, so it is best to check your email regularly and answer any queries that are relevant to you as quickly as possible. Being one of the first people to respond to a query will increase your chances of your response being used in the article. HARO listserv messages are sent on weekdays at 5:35 AM, 12:35 PM, and 5:35 PM EST.
- Only answer queries that are relevant to you or your brand. Please don’t waste the journalists’ time responding to articles that you are not qualified to answer.
- Make sure your answers are informative and to the point. Often these journalists are looking for quotes or short paragraphs that reinforce a point they are making in the article. No need to write a novel when a few sentences will do.
- Follow the rules of HARO, that means clicking on the query link and writing your response rather than trying to email the journalist directly.
- Be courteous and kind. Be sure to address the journalist by their name if it is included.
- Don’t ask when a piece will be published, it is bad etiquette. Simply be patient and if it’s meant to be it will happen.
- Don’t get discouraged. There are a lot of sources looking to get published through HARO and you’ll need to respond to several queries before you find success. Hang in there!
- Include all the necessary information in your response so the journalist can vouch you as a resource
Using HARO effectively is crucial to your success. For those who are patient and take their time to find good opportunities for free publicity you can be richly rewarded with backlinks and high-profile mentions. I’ve been using HARO for a couple years now and it is one of my go to strategies for cheap marketing whether it is be for my grinder brand or one of my websites.
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