By L. Drew Gerber
PitchRate.com, which connects journalists with expert sources, is getting more traffic than ever these days as more reporters discover the free service.
Less than 10 months after we launched it in February, PitchRate.com passed a major milestone with more than 100 active requests from journalists on the site.
"There is now a request at PitchRate for almost anyone to pitch," says Shannon Nicholson, vice-president of sales for Blue Kangaroo, Inc., our web products company.
At the same time, our new Publicity Results Web site has been drawing massive traffic since we launched it Oct. 20 as the products site for our PR firm, Wasabi Publicity, Inc. We have been getting great feedback from people on sharing the pitch that landed one of our clients an appearance on Dr. Phil just eight hours after she signed up. (You can find out about it at: http://www.PublicityResults.com/PerfectPitch.)
In addition to publicizing or products, the new site will be a place where you can find the goods on getting free publicity. And when it comes to getting great free publicity and being a media expert, all cursors point to PitchRate.com (http://www.PitchRate.com).
Not only is it free for both journalists and sources, but PitchRate is the only service that rates the expertise of sources based on reporters' reviews from previous interviews and other criteria. Here's how it works:
When preparing for a story, print journalists and broadcast producers use PitchRate to make a request for experts or firsthand sources they can interview. PitchRate.com sends these queries out each day in emails to our experts who can then pitch the journalists on their area of interest. It costs nothing to sign up as an expert.
As PitchRate.com becomes more and more active, this is a good time to discuss how to use the site to maximize opportunities for free PR. This was the topic of an email I recently received from Shel Horowitz, author and entrepreneur (you can find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/l/;frugalmarketing.com and http://www.facebook.com/l/;shelhorowitz.com).
"I've been on PitchRate every now and then, but have never figured out how best to use it," Shel wrote. "If you were me, what would be the first two or three things you'd do on PitchRate?"
My answers are to follow these tips:
■Step 1: Your PitchRate profile is attached to every pitch you make. Therefore, in order to make the best use of the resource, you need to make sure your profile will grab the media's attention. The cornerstone of your profile is your bio, so make sure it's interesting and creative. Writing your own bio can be a daunting task, and Joan Stewart offers some great advice about how to do it right on her blog, The Publicity Hound (http://publicityhound.net/ ). In your profile, you should also include links to your Web site and any other relevant documents for journalists, such as photos or press releases.
■Step 2. Search PitchRate.com for journalist requests that match your area of expertise and make a great pitch. You can do this by either scanning the daily emails sent to your in-box or logging in to your account and searching the Web site. Both are updated daily with the most recent journalist requests.
■Step 3. Prepare to meet the media. We offer an array of resources including PR Happy Hours, teleseminars and videos to help you prepare to put your best foot forward when the media calls. You can find these at http://www.PublicityResults.com.
PitchRate.com is great resource, but using it to generate PR isn't a passive process. You get out of it what you put in. By taking these three steps when starting out, you're setting yourself up for success.
About the Author:
L. Drew Gerber is CEO of Blue Kangaroo, Inc. and the creator of PitchRate.com (http://www.PitchRate.com), a no-charge media tool that moves the best interviews to the front of the line for journalists and producers. Gerber's business practices and staffing innovations have been revered by PR Week, Good Morning America and the Christian Science Monitor. His companies handle international PR campaigns and his staff develops online press kits for authors, speakers and companies with PressKit 24/7 (http://www.PressKit247.com), a technology he developed. Contact Gerber at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 828-749-3182. For more great free publicity advice, visit: http://www.PublicityResults.com.