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What money can’t buy: media attention

March 12, 2020

Here are three tips for getting media attention and everything without leaving home, just using your computer or phone.

6 min read

The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

What money can’t buy: media attentionWhat money can’t buy: media attention

When I was launching my first business 25 years ago, I asked an experienced reporter what it took for my name to appear in his newspaper. “Committing a serious crime or discovering a cure for cancer,” he said, without a hint of sarcasm.

Today, it is much easier to be quoted in the media. Fortunately, the new answer to my old question is: “Become an expert on a topic and offer advice in plain language”

What changed this answer? Technology, both on the supply and demand sides. First, the demand for more content skyrocketed with the advent of the Internet. Second, the supply of sources for journalists to cite increased with the creation of online tools such as Help a Report Out .

Called HARO for short, the website describes its offerings this way: “HARO provides journalists with a robust source database for their upcoming stories and daily source opportunities, to ensure valuable media coverage.”

HARO has competitors – with names like PitchRate, Quoted, SourceBottle – that also connect reporters with experts. While they all operate a little differently, the basics are the same: reporters pay a small fee to join, while sources sign up for free. When a reporter posts a request, experts are free to respond.

Of course, there is no guarantee that reporters will quote his words. If they do, not only will you get a media mention that you can post on your own website and on social media, but you will also get a “link” to your company's website. As your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) team will tell you, that's the real prize. Since Google's rankings depend in part on the number of reputable websites that connect to yours, a known means of communication can significantly increase search results.

Realistically, you will make more mistakes than hits. I've been very lucky over the years, but that still means failing nine times to get me successfully quoted. I have heard from other business leaders who claim that HARO and its competitors are scam artists, because they have never been cited. Those critics never explain the scam, as it's free for experts to respond to as many journalists as they like.

I have been using these sites for years. Here is my quick tip to increase your chances of being quoted.

1. Don't be too expert

Remember that you are talking to average citizens. If they understood everything he does, reporters wouldn't need to consult him as an expert. As a personal financial advisor, I keep my appointments short. I try to use simple and direct language. Finally, I try to be nice and relate.

For example, in September, I was often quoted in an NBC report called “A 10-Step Guide to Protect Your Finances Against the Recession . In fact, they mentioned me in the second paragraph …

“Think of protecting your life recession-proof as if you were going to protect your home from hurricanes,” says Howard Dvorkin , a certified financial expert and president of Debt.com. “If a storm is days away, and I ask you where the hurricane blinds are, the worst answer you could give me is: 'I think I have some in the garage, but maybe I need to buy some more.'” By then, it is too late, and any exposed window could spell doom. Recessions work the same way, except that their devastation can last for months and persist for years. ”

Reporters love the analogies that their readers can understand. That's why I was quoted much more often than the other five experts that NBC interviewed. The same goes for a US News story called What Are Cloned Credit Cards? I was once again the first expert quoted, and in the second paragraph. In this case, it was simply because I said something direct and precise: “Cloning is bad news, both in science fiction and on credit cards.” The reporter even used that comparison to start the story. Many times, it can help reporters with their point of view.

2. Be diligent

No matter how resourceful and concise it is, it won't matter if it's slow. Journalism is a business of deadlines, and if you wait, you are late. Each request has a time and date when it must be answered. However, I recommend that you always do it quickly. Coming Soon. Here is why.

The most popular media will be the ones with the most responses. Reporters will examine the answers until they find the ones that best fit their stories … and then stop reading. Reporters don't have time to study each response, especially if they have dozens to review. So if yours comes first, you have a better chance of being published.

3. Don't be picky or picky

Bigger, well-known media often attracts the most adept, so if you look for smaller media, especially in your field, your odds increase dramatically. As long as those media are respected in your field, there is still an SEO boost involved.

Since I work in the personal debt solutions industry, being quoted by CreditCards.com is helpful, although most people have never even heard of that website. In a story about teaching your children about credit cards , I suggested teaching them about cash first …

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