With the holidays upon us, I thought about what I could give readers as a gift this season. What better than a list of my favorite resources, many of them free, that I often use and tout in my PR talks. If you’re interested in doing your own PR and are on a budget, check these out before spending any money on pricier solutions.
Here’s hoping they help you achieve great results with your PR efforts in the coming year! Happy holidays to all!
1) Free press release distribution services: If you need to distribute a press release, you may want to consider using what we in the biz call a wire service. There are MANY free wire services out there, but the two I use—and find get good results—are PRlog and PR.com. I use both in tandem. Here’s why: PRLog allows the use of links and even video within the release at no additional cost. PR.com gets the release on the search engines.
One additional note: Reporters who’ve seen a client’s release on PRlog have contacted me directly, so they DO work! If you have no budget for pricier services, this is the way to go.
And, if you do have budget to spend, PRWeb usually offers a discount on your first release. Look online for a $50 off code. PR Newswire is also good, but another notch up the ladder as far as pricing.
2) If you’re looking for editorial opportunities, there are a number of free resources to help you:
The most popular is probably HARO (Help a Reporter Out). This is completely free—and it works!! I’ve gotten my clients (and myself) in stories through HARO.
Founded by branding/PR expert Peter Shankman, here’s a description: Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for.
Here’s how it works: Reporters who are looking for sources for their stories post opportunities that are then sent out a few times each day via email to HARO subscribers. You can follow the instructions to submit yourself as a source. There’s a deadline, so pay attention to that when responding. It’s best to read these as soon as they hit your mailbox and reply as quickly as possible, as they do receive many, many responses in some cases.
Two others I don’t use as often, but they are free, are PitchRate and SourceBottle.
3) Related to #2, if you’re in need of editorial calendar opportunities, you can try using Cision’s free ed cal site, http://us.cision.com/edcals/edcals.asp.
You may also visit each publication’s site. Many list their editorial calendar online (sometimes it can be found under “Advertising” or “Media Kit”), so it’s possible to build your own calendar of opportunities that may be a fit for free. Paid services (e.g. Myedcals) are also available: http://www.mymediainfo.com/myedcals.html
4) For awards and speaking opportunities, try ITDatabase’s TechCalendar, a great free resource geared toward the IT industry. You can sign up here: http://itdatabase.com. http://itdatabase.us1.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=e179f3d5fb981a768db456f5c&id=6a0dfa05f0
5) For research, use Google News or Bing News. Type in your company name or whatever search term you like and news stories will come up. I use these to track announcements made by my clients, as well as to do competitive research, all completely free!
For those on a budget—and so many smaller businesses are—these resources can definitely help get the job done. For more tricks, tips and helpful advice, keep following!