Looking to get the free media exposure for your blog without spending thousands on a PR firm?
Want to know how to connect with journalists and other influencers in your industry?
Listen to This Episode
In this interview, Josh Elledge talks you through how to get free media exposure for your blog. If you listen to the podcast, you can also hear his impression of me (talk about added value)!
Who is Josh Elledge?
Josh Elledge is on a mission to help entrepreneurs attract the perfect audiences.
He is the Founder and Chief Executive Angel of SavingsAngel.com®, which bolsters the buying power of the average U.S. family by combining technology, coupons and smart thinking for extreme savings on household consumables and everyday items.
Through his work with SavingsAngel.com, Josh has emerged as one of the nation’s leading experts on consumer savings.
Since 2007, Josh has shared his successful couponing and savings expertise with millions of families, both online, in person as a dynamic public speaker, and through his weekly appearances as an expert on Fox 35 Orlando and News 13, as a weekly syndicated columnist for eight newspapers (with total readership above 1.1 million readers), and on a number of radio stations, and regularly appearing on more than 50 TV stations across the country. All told, Josh has appeared on TV or radio more than 1000 times.
Josh’s Free Media Exposure Story
SavingsAngel.com may have started off as an Excel spreadsheet that Josh uploaded every week, but it has grown into a very active and popular site. At the beginning, it was just Josh and his wife doing all the work, and he knew that they needed to get some exposure for the site. Things really took off for SavingsAngel.com after about a year, when it was featured in the business section of the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan.
Josh says that his knowledge of how to work with the media was a huge help in building his success—and now he’s here to share that expertise with you.
After almost ten years in business, Josh has spent about $500 on traditional advertising. That’s hardly anything! He’s able to save that money by connecting with influencers and getting the word out through free media exposure.
Where Do I Start?
Josh emphasizes over and over that you’ve got to go into this with a pure heart. Making money will undoubtedly be a side effect of following his advice, but Josh says you need to have the heart of a servant from the very beginning. It’s all about serving audiences. If you’re serving them well enough, the money will come.
A lot of people “do PR” by spamming journalists. Josh says that’s a rookie mistake, and it’s not likely to get you anywhere.
Instead, think about what influencers need and how you can make their jobs easier. They’ve all got audiences who are thirsty for content, but you’ve got to show how you can provide value for them.
When you’re putting together emails, you need to laser focus on increasing your perceived credibility.
Your business is depending on a snap judgment. Sometimes, an influencer will make a decision about you in less than ten seconds.
When an influencer opens your email, it will fall into one of four categories:
- This is important, I should answer right away.
- This is important, but I’m busy so I’ll answer later (and they do).
- This is important, but I’m busy so I’ll answer later (and they never do).
- Why is this person emailing me?
Obviously, you want your emails to land in the first two categories! But how can you get an influencer to pay attention?
Josh suggests a few ways to increase your perceived credibility with influencers.
First of all, your pitch needs to be on point. We’ll come back to that later.
Your website needs to look journalist-friendly. It should be modern and up-to-date—Josh recommends redesigning it every couple of years—and it should definitely be mobile responsive. Make sure you have a media kit, too.
You also want to check your digital reputation, because influencers will Google you! Do a lot of work to show that you’re a thought leader in training for your industry. Josh says you can improve your Google search results in 90 days if you do it right.
It’s really important that you don’t ask for anything in return. Say something like, “I just love your message, and I really want to provide value to your audience.” You’ve got to mean it, too.
There are appropriate ways to ask about how your blog will be featured, however. Josh recommends asking questions like, “How are you planning to introduce me?” and “How will you display my site at the bottom of the screen?” Mention your business no more than twice in a media segment.
The Power of Twitter
Josh says that if you play your cards right on Twitter, you can save up to $5,000 per month on PR costs. Awesome!
Twitter is absolutely the place to be in terms of connecting with influencers.
First, identify journalists in your industry and your geography and put them into lists. Using lists will help you keep track of what they’re tweeting about over a period of time. If you do a search, there may already be a list of journalists in your area, for example.
Start paying attention to what those journalists are tweeting, and you’ll start to get a feel for which ones you should target.
Engage with the journalists you’re following. Like, retweet, and respond to what they’re posting. Make yourself known so that when you reach out to them, they sort of know who you are. But be cool! Don’t be creepy.
Once you start building a relationship with a couple of journalists, you can send them direct messages to get the ball rolling. The goal is to convert your Twitter conversation into an email conversation. If they invite you to send a pitch by email, you know things are going well!
Josh recommends targeting between 5 and 15 journalists on Twitter. You don’t want to get a reputation as a spammer. Focus on finding people who have a genuine interest in what you’re doing.
He also suggests making sure that your profile looks really good. Update your avatar and cover photo, and make sure you’re tweeting regularly yourself. Having a good number of followers will help, too.
Proactive vs. Reactive PR
Josh says that there are two ways to do PR: proactive and reactive.
Proactive is when you’re coming up with the ideas and introducing them to your media contacts.
The best way to do this is to watch what’s happening, pick up on trends or popular topics, and find a way for your message to fit into that.
When you pitch to your contacts, you can then say something like, “Hey, I just blogged on this thing that’s happening in my industry. Here’s why it’s important. Here’s a link. I think this would really provide value for your audience.”
You should also include four bullet points and a couple of quotes they could use as well as something that could eventually become a headline. You want this to be unconventional, or maybe even a little controversial. Take a strong stance.
Reactive PR involves waiting and watching your lists until someone says they need an expert in whatever it is that you do.
Josh says that in reactive PR, you’ve got to drop everything as soon as you get an opportunity, no matter how busy you are. Go above and beyond consistently in order to build a relationship with that influencer. If you serve them consistently, they will start looking at you as their go-to person, and that’s a great position to be in.
The Heart of a Servant
With any pitch, you want to make the influencer’s job as easy as possible. They’re really busy people, so give them everything they could possibly need. Make yourself useful and valuable to them.
You’ve got play the long game with this stuff. That might mean taking opportunities that aren’t obviously beneficial for your blog. It’s all about building up an audience and serving them as best you can. It will pay off in the long term.
Josh says that every success is the fruit of seeds that you sowed a long time ago. If you’re in a “season of humility,” as he calls it, have patience and know that you are not alone. Sometimes, your greatest successes can come in the wake of your greatest challenges.
Take Josh's Workshop!
Josh runs a free workshop every other Tuesday that you can take advantage of teaching how to get free media exposure. Go to UpendPR.com/workshop to sign up. Josh also wants you to know that there are lots of other free resources available there for you, too. He wants to help you build your business!