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How To Build Links From Journalists

Secure backlinks from journalists

I think we can all agree that link building sucks, its the one discipline that many SEOs dread and non-SEO's who have been entrusted with link building try to avoid it like the plague. Link building is key to building a successful website, and Google knows how tough it is, which is why they put such a substantial weighting on links. The critical issue with outreach is its success ratio, you will have to source sites and then reach out to them, and the conversion rates are pretty miserable for conversion which is why many either give up or try to outsource this vital task.

Getting a link from any site is hard enough, and blog begging for links can only get you so far before you reach your wit's end. It's tough when you have to cold call or don't have established connections. While you can do a great job of reaching out on social media primarily via Twitter and LinkedIn, you're probably never going to find yourself in the circles where journalists hang out and secure those coveted links from significant publications.

The informant method to link building

Well, I'm here to tell you the good news, there is a strategy you can use to weasel your way into the good books of journalists and have them coming to you for links. Sound too good to be true? It probably is, and the requests may be infrequent at best, but its always good to put your name in the hat.

This link building strategy requires patience, and when the time is right, you need to act quickly, I like to call it the informant method of link building.

The need for speed

A journalist's primary objective is to create high-quality content for readers of the site, to do research and find facts as well as anecdotal evidence and get it out before their various deadlines. These big news websites have to their journalists churning out content at a frantic pace, and you best believe shortcuts have their place when it comes to getting content out before competitors and making sure you get the majority of the impression share for a particular piece.

In cases like these, journalists will reach out to experts in the field to paraphrase their thoughts or do expert roundups to provide them with more context and get content written faster.

The expertise gap

Sites often have journalists who specialise in a particular field such as finance or food, but that doesn't mean the financial writer is a cryptocurrency expert or the food writer is a nutritionist. This leaves these writers at a disadvantage over sites who have journalists who are hyper-focused as their content will be more in-depth and resonate with the niche better, the more comprehensively it is written.

In cases like this, journalists will reach out to industry experts and thought leaders in the space to get a summary of the technical factors or get the expert take on the situation.

The market sentiment

In some cases, stories have broader effects on a niche or specific sector of the economy. When it does, journalists can find themselves overwhelmed by the ramifications of the situation, when stories like these break journalists may want to secure information. The sources could come from various market leaders, market makers, players in the space and get a complete overview of how things are changing across the sector or various parts of the value chain.

When a journalist looks to secure market sentiment, they need to reach out to several sources, which can be highly time-consuming, which can be costly for trying to break a story and reach a wider audience.

Become the scoop

As you can see in all the situations mentioned above, they're looking for experts to leverage off of and provide context for their stories or interesting angles on a specific situation. So why shouldn't you be that expert they speak to when a story breaks? The answer is, you can and in fact, you should.

Once you start to play the informant, you may even become the prefered source of information for this journalist or news site or also be picked up for syndication from others sites as you build your reputation as an expert informant on a specific topic.

But how do you get into the mailboxes of journalists if you're not a famous personality? Normally they would speak to those who shout loudest on social media or have a reputation through their company, how can little old me with my startup or agency start getting media mentions on popular news sites?

Well, there's a way, signing up to be a preferred source for journalists. Believe it or not, but here are platforms where journalists tap into to secure quotes or interviews from listed professionals, and if you're not registered on these platforms you could be missing out on being the next big scoop.

List yourself as a snitch, I mean a source of info

There are plenty of sites that look to assist news agencies and websites to reach out in volume to industry experts, some are free while others remain paid services you can remain on as a way of reducing spam.

If you're interested in tapping into this well-kept secret, then here are a few sites you may want to create accounts on and not miss out on future requests from journalists.

1. Haro

Help A Reporter Out has to be the most popular site in this space and even though its not the oldest it has a sound reputation for connecting bloggers and industry leaders with journalists and assist in building networks. Haro partners with popular news sites and then allows journalists to syndicate questions to their over 800 000 sources to get a reliable source of information from industry experts.

Visit Haro

2. ProfNet

Like HARO, ProfNets purpose is to connect journalists with expert sources for their stories. However, ProfNet requires you to pay to play in this space and so the need for a paid membership is a must. Having a membership entitles the subscriber to receive emails with journalist queries. It also gives you the ability to pitch journalists your expert perspective on trending, breaking news stories, and more.

Visit Profnet

3. SourceBottle

Yet another service that allows journalists source requests, but what makes source bottle worth checking out is not just for the daily emails but that you can actively find stories to pitch for as all queries are searchable through their website. It’s an excellent service that’s easy to use and can connect you to the latest requests.

Visit SourceBottle

4. PitchRate

PitchRate is unique in that it rates your pitch on a scale from 1 to 5 stars. Journalists can then review the submissions and sort them based on rating, ideally helping them find the most relevant pitches and best sources for their story.

You may become frustrated with the allocation of ratings at times. The ratings for each story pitch is based on how well keywords in the submission match the tags set by the journalist, so that opens the door for some inaccuracy.

Visit PitchRate

5. My Blog U

Myblogu is a free service that launched in 2014 for bloggers, journalists, and experts to help each other with ideas and find sources. Upload your content there for others to reference, brainstorm with media sources and writers.

Visit My Blog U

6. Business Wire

Businesswire has to be the grandad of this list having 50 years under its belt. The site instantly and simultaneously delivers your financial disclosures and multimedia news around the world. They offer unique targeting options and measurement data.

You can easily download a press release, and they will take it from there. This service is not free, so you'll need to be a paid member to access anything here.

Visit Business Wire

7. Cision

Cision allows you access to a range of sources as soon as you buy their software. The site also offers you access to their system of templates and tools. You can also use their media and blogger database with more than 1.6 million contacts to reach influencers, build awareness, and publish content to sites like Fast Company, Time, and CNN. Additionally, their software also allows you to track media coverage across the net.

Visit Cision

8. Muck Rack

Muck Rack aims to create communication between professionals, and them with journalists and bloggers in meaningful ways. There are no freebies though, and this membership-based service starts $99 per month. All plans include features custom media lists updated in real-time as journalists change jobs or positions, alerts when journalists tweet or link to your company, industry, client or competitors’ stories. So you can pitch them, locate, follow, hire, or scoop journalists by searching their beats, titles, tweets, and full-text articles, pitches, and much more.

Visit Muck Rack

9. Kiti

Media Kitty is now known as the kiti or kiti has been around since 2001 and services more than 28K editorial pitches per year, resulting in 240K stories, interviews, events, reviews, branding, assignments, global trips and more. They were initially designed for the travel and hospitality industry, and this is still the main strength of the network.

But they also have connections in the adventure, art, design, lifestyle, entertainment, fashion, beauty, health, food, drink, wellness, sports, family, pets, and consumer technology fields. Sources get connections with top journalists and possible placements for their news.

For $89.95 per month, PR pros can access a directory of industry journalists that cover tourism and lifestyle topics to pitch them directly. Subscribers can also receive queries from a journalist looking for sources for their stories.

Visit Kiti

10. A News Tip

Anewstip is a little like a mini google and helps entrepreneurs, PR professionals and marketers connect with relevant media influentials. The site borrows a little from MuckRack with their similar search feature which allows you to pop in a name or keyword and find journalists twitter profiles, tweets, articles and more

Visit A News Tip

11. News Certified (no longer in operation)

Veteran journalists founded News Certified back in 2008. They provide a searchable database of experts and story ideas to global news media contacts 24/7. Their database is updated regularly and currently reflects experts in topics covered by the worldwide news media, including the economy, education, healthcare, politics, international affairs, technology, and the environment.

12. MediaSpot.Me (No longer in operation)

MediaSpot.Me is an exciting startup that launched in 2013 that tries to combine LinkedIn and Help a Reporter Out (HARO) in their own words. The site is clean and user friendly, but the service doesn’t seem to be available for international users (outside USA and Canada).

Protip! If you're keen on checking out other link building methods we highly suggest you check out our posts on:

Tell us your SEO story

Have you been frustrated with SEO for your business? Has link building got you down? Have you never had a media mention before? Let us know in the comments below.

Additionally, if this method has worked for you, we encourage you to mail us with the subject line "A linky boom-boom down" and the URL to the link you acquired, we always love to hear success stories with the informant method. 

Contact us

If you would like us to improve the SEO or want us to create a link building strategy for your site or want to know more about digital marketing for your business, then don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us

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If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles. 

Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts on SEO and search updates.

Tags: Link Building, SEO

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