This post is part of our Customer Spotlight Series where we highlight case studies from out of the box tactics our customers used to get featured in press.
In this post, Neil Napier founder of JobRack talks about how his team was used JustReachOut to get exposure for his company in a few weeks after signing up.
Without further ado here is Neil…
Who is doing link building these days?
Not investing in link building and PR is an easy way to lose in the SERPs.
The more important question is: who actually gets a return on their link building investment?
Truth be told, many small businesses make terrible decisions when it comes to link building, outreach and PR.
They spend time on activities which don’t produce results in the most efficient manner.
In other words, they don’t maximize their returns from each hour of work invested. They waste time in outdated tactics instead of going after easy links and brand mentions.
This is exactly what I wanted to avoid. As a startup founder, time is my most limited commodity. I didn’t want to spend weeks cold emailing people just to get one inky dinky link somewhere. I wanted this process to be much more efficient.
Our story at JobRack began as most other small businesses starting their PR efforts. While we were prepared to spend thousands of dollars on hiring a PR firm to get us press coverage, it wasn’t the most efficient model for us.
When we drilled down, we realized this approach would cost us too much money for too little in the way of results. $5k/month and you get like five stories. We wondered: was this worth it? Was it scalable? Would these stories translate into real, paying customers?
Outreach for link building had similar problems: too much money and not enough results.
The problem was compounded by the fact that our industry is hyper-competitive. Finding PR firms who could generate high-authority press and backlinks at a fair price was next to impossible.
After we discovered Dmitry’s PRThatConverts and JustReachOut.io, our entire approach to PR changed.
Instead of $5k/month PR firms, we now build exposure get publicity through PR outreach all on our own. It might sound hard, but we’re loving every minute of it. We love the idea of developing personal relationships with journalists and putting our product out there in our own words.
One way we’ve taken control of our PR is through HARO. Once we discovered HARO opportunities, we established a new goal to connect with relevant journalists in the job board niche.
Searching through tons of HARO opportunities was a problem, and this is where JustReachOut.io came into the picture. We started using it to search through HARO opportunities. Along the way, we realized that it’s a lot more than just a search tool.
What is a HARO
HARO stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. HARO essentially connects journalists with sources. By using HARO press request service, you can get in touch with respectable journalists who need information and quotes for upcoming articles.
For us, it’s safe to say that HARO was our opportunity to break away from paying PR firms big money. HARO helped us find relevant journalists right when they needed our input.
This way, we could earn a backlink from an authority website based on mutual benefit. The journalist got contributors for their content; we got a press mention.
HARO’s biggest problem, however, is the lack of a solid search feature. You get a daily email with all journalist requests, but you have to manually dig through requests to find something in your niche.
JustReachOut.io brings much-needed search capability to HARO. You can search for all journalists actively looking for contributors for their articles.
Besides HARO opportunities, JustReachOut also gives you access to all ProNet and Twitter requests in one place. One search bar, hundreds of reporters searching for content.
How you can apply for HARO
Think of HARO as a marketplace. On one side, you have journalists. On the other side, you have sources. Journalists send their requests to HARO. HARO forwards these requests to sources through a daily email.
You’ll want to start by making an account as a ‘source’ on HelpAReporterOut.com.
Upon registering, you select topics you are an expert in. HARO will send you requests only on these topics.
After signing up, you will start getting emails three times a day, five days a week with all currently open source requests. The emails are labeled as “Morning”, “Afternoon” and “Evening” editions.
This gives you a constant flow of requests, but quickly turned into a burden. As a busy entrepreneur, getting 15 extra emails each week (along with hundreds of others) meant that I would often miss the best opportunities. I tried filtering them into separate folders, but it took too much effort to find what I needed. Since my objective was to maximize efficiency – as many links/mentions for as little effort – this wasn’t a tactic I could use.
That’s why I started using JustReachOut.io. The filtering and search capability meant that I could filter requests using the exact keywords I needed for my campaign at the time. This gave me more control over my time spent on HAROing and pitching. It also ensured that I provided the best value for journalists.
To find opportunities, I just had to search for my keyword, then click on “Press Opportunities” in JustReachOut.
Once you find a relevant HARO request, just copy the reporter’s email. Then log into your HARO account, go to “Submit a New Pitch”, enter the reporter’s email and send your pitch.
What Are the SEO Benefits of HARO?
I wanted my link building to be passive, or at least not eat up all my marketing resources. But passive link building often ends up being poor-quality link building. I knew that sacrificing the quality of links will actually end up costing me in the long run.
As they say, nobody is rich enough to buy cheap things!
In terms of SEO, allocating resources well meant finding high authority links (DA 70+) without much fuss. This is where JustReachOut.io helped a great deal.
Journalists from big media outlets as New York Times, Mashable, Self, Inc., Entrepreneur.com and many others use HARO and similar platforms to find contributors. When it comes to entrepreneurship, tech and marketing, the source requests are frequent and thus, easier to land as well.
For example, here’s a request from US News & World Report.
If you can give journalists with the timely content they need on topics you know (and are trying to rank for), you will be rewarded pretty well.
Understand that search engines can spot real content from stuffed, automated links on a page. Since all links you’ll get through HARO will be earned and will be on authoritative sites, you’ll see a significant uptick in rankings.
It’s important to not sacrifice content quality just to be the first to respond to a query. Good rankings are all about giving quality content to the user. Respectable sources will likely ignore you if you shoot off a half-thought answer to a query. Try to do your best when answering a query – both journalists and search engines will appreciate it.
Lastly, a long term SEO strategy is to use HARO to build relationships with reporters and journalists. I don’t like to spam my way into someone’s article (nor does spamming actually get you any links), so I see JustReachOut.io as a chance to establish and maintain mutually beneficial connections that can make future story placements easier.
How We Used It
Based on our keyword research, and the words we are targeting at a time, we try to find the best press requests on the topic. Of course, there is no guarantee that there will be an opportunity fitting your exact requirements. We factor this into our plan and remain pretty flexible about what terms/publications we target.
I may visit JustReachOut during the week and scan quickly if there is something that matches my current campaigns – just in case I don’t miss any opportunities that have short deadlines. Mostly, I block a time for research and pitching in my weekly schedule, so I can really focus on the pitches.
When pitching, there are a few guidelines I go by:
- Always address the reporter by name (if name is given).
- Let the reporter know who I am (i.e. a brief, one line bio or credentials).
- Provide a short summary of my thoughts on the subject (4-8 lines, preferably in bullet points)
- Give 3-4 communications channels (email, Skype, WhatsApp, etc) to make it easy for the journalist to contact me back with any further questions
I look for press requests that cover all things small business, entrepreneurship and hiring strategies. One of the examples of such a pitch was from a WpCeoBlogNation.com contributor who was looking for entrepreneurs using WordPress platform.
Here’s what I wrote to them:
My name is Neil Napier, and I am writing to respond to your HARO request “Wordpress Website for Entrepreneurs”.
Everything except our core business is based on WordPress – I really appreciate the fact that it’s easy to use and well-known platform, so I can easily find people with the WP knowledge to outsource a lot of tasks to.
Also, because it is so widely spread, you can find great support from the community and tons of extensions – themes and plugins. We use plugins to automate a bunch of stuff on our sites, especially marketing tasks.
I found WP lacking in flexibility when advanced customization is needed. For our core business, which is a job board, we developed a custom platform because we aimed for superior performance and WP simply wasn’t on that technical level.
I would gladly talk about this more in detail with you! The most convenient way to reach me is Skype or WhatsApp or Email.
Regards Neil Napier, CEO, https://jobrack.eu/
And the result? A feature in a roundup with some great fellow entrepreneurs for company:
What We Got From it
Your success rate will depend on various factors, such as niche, the size of the media outlet, the audience they are trying to target, etc.
In the first week alone I ended up being featured on two DA 70+ websites.
The first one came a bit as a shock since I answered it and it was up in no time. A perfect fit for our approach to maximize efficiency.
And here is another great example, too.
Except these, Jobrack got featured on some additional guest posting venues as well.
This technique of building links through JustReachout really resonated with us for a few reasons:
- It was less time-consuming than conventional PR & influencer marketing. We didn’t have to send multiple emails and follow-ups.
- It had amazing SEO value. We earned real links from some top-tier domain names.
Besides the above, it also helped me connect with journalists in my niche and develop relations further. These relations would come in handy if I were to ever seek press placement in the future.
It goes without saying that some rules apply here too. Always – I cannot emphasize this enough – always avoid sending spammy messages. Make sure you keep an eye on what’s asked in the request so that you provide valuable info. Journalists can tell when you’ve dashed off something in 2 minutes vs. a well-thought out response from an expert. So, if you are building your HARO email pitches list just for the sake of good, old, SEO mojo you might want to tone it down and stick with HAROs where you can provide relevant answers to.
Be aggressive with your filtering. Filter queries out until you get a handful of really relevant ones. Then invest an hour of your time to go through the most targeted queries and answer them. Always think: “how can I help this journalist?” instead of “how can I get a link?”. Journalists will love you for it.
For everyone, and especially in the entrepreneurial world, time means money. The more time, resources, budget, effort you can save and still have good results – the better.
The power of being focused towards one link building strategy really brought us results. By ignoring almost everything else but passive link building through JustReachOut I managed to achieve great results.
More importantly, I managed to save a lot of time just searching through a single dashboard on JustReachOut.io and not having my mailbox filled with all the HARO emails.
This meant that I could get exposure for JobRack while also having enough time to focus on things I wanted to do but didn’t have time for earlier.
Great detailed post on how to use HARO. I know it works because I have been using it for some time now with good results.
Love the post Dmitry. What other tools would you recommend for a startup building its own media relations?
Nice! There are many tools that you can use to find relevant media contacts and improve outreach. Here’s a link to the best PR tools: https://justreachout.io/blog/pr-tools/
Great read Niel and Dmitry. Good start here!
Thanks Robert. Appreciate!