In this third video of our Link Prospector best practices series, Ken McGaffin and Megan Hannay review how to find topically-relevant journalists and PR opportunities.

Megan: So with reporters, we actually have three report types. The first one is probably our most common. It’s accessible reporters. Search for topics, and we’ll help you find reporters who have previously written on that topic who have contact information available, either twitter or email, within their articles. So you can definitely reach to that person.

So the second type is resource linkers, which is reporters who are writing perhaps more in-depth pieces or tips based pieces that are linking out to pieces of content that have already been created. And then the third type is asking for audience input. And these are usually very short-term. You know, tell us three tips for traveling in Boston. So it is a kind of a mini HARO search that you can do.

Ken: So how do we get the stuff? Let’s have a look at it in the interface. How do we look for it in Link Prospector?

Megan: If you’re doing a news report type, the search scope will automatically choose only news results, which is great because that’s what we’re looking for. And then you’ll want to go down and in your research phrases, like I mentioned a little bit earlier, but you’ll want to look for ideal phrases that your ideal reporters would use in articles or headlines.

And it’s a bit of a fun dance because you don’t want to get too specific because then you’re leaving stuff out. But then if you get too general, you are going to get some results that probably aren’t in line with exactly what you’re looking for. So for example, even with “summer trip ideas,” that seems along the lines of someone who is doing vacation rental. They’d be interested in a reporter writing about summer trip ideas.

Try to put in if you are basing around a city or around a certain topic. Try to put that in some of the research phrases too. But just again, as a reminder, research phrases are not put together, they’re ‘or’ phrases. So it just has to be a match of any individual one, in order for it to come up in your results.

Ken: And again, the lesson here is listen, practice them. What words are likely to be in the sort of stories that you’re looking to get published?

Megan: And I would even recommend, you know, go to your favorite search engine. Or you go to Google and mess around and just type in some phrases and see what comes up, see what’s used a lot in the kind of stories you’re looking for, and then run a link prospector report. Because then you’re finding the kind of results that you’ve already tested a little bit, as opposed to just using credits on guessing.

Ken: Okay, so what sort of results will we get for this task?

Megan: Accessible reporters? So as you can see, I ran that search, and we got a lot of pretty big names in journalism.

Ken: Yes, Boston Globe, USA Today.

Megan: Yeah, exactly. And that’s because, I mean, when I’m talking about traveling, when I’m talking…those are pretty common topics. When I looked, you know, again, the +118, or the +43 means there’s 43 or 118 in the results within the box in Google that could apply. So there might actually be or probably are multiple reporters that we could look at in a certain publication.

Ken: One of the things I love about this, Megan, is when I’m researching journalists and outlets, I’ll go to the media database, do that, and then I have to go the site and do all of these searches to find out what is going on there. But Link Prospector is different for. All I have to do is press in the +118 or the +43 and then I see them. That is terrific.

Megan: We can go through some of the actual news results I found. First, I found a few for accessible reporters and I really like this ‘Hotel star ratings yields galaxy of confusions’. So this is USA Today’s story about the confusion of star rating. So I thought this would actually be a great opportunity for someone that’s doing vacation rentals to push themselves and say, “Hey, I do something different.” You know, maybe you would like to do a follow-up or you would like to report on how an interesting alternative to hotels is renting out someone’s home. So I thought this could be just a really interesting way to incorporate this article and respond to it and suggest a different method for people who want to not get sketched out by hotels that weren’t what they were expecting.

Ken: Christopher Elliot, the reporter, in this case, he’s gonna be interested in that stuff.

Megan: So I looked up his previous articles that he’s written and they’re all travel related. These are all ‘Eight travel predictions’, ‘Holiday survival guide in travel’. Should be a really great person to make contact with.

Ken: And the other thing, he’s writing regularly for the same journal. So that again is a good sign. So we’re spoiled now because we can go direct to the journalist’s page and then we can see all of this stuff up there.

Megan: But for the next, for the resource linkers, I do have results for that too. And as you can see it’s a little–some of them you recognize, Huffington Post, WSJ. But some of them may be less recognizable. And that’s just because we’re searching for different things. These are different kinds of reporters, different kinds of stories. So these are people that may not have a beat on a particular topic but are just sharing information in general.

So this is a story in the Huffington Post that came up in our resource linkers results. And it’s ‘Eight tips for stress-free holiday travel’. And within this post, there were many links out to different…some of her tips involved, “Oh! Check this out,” for related to this tip, this is how you de-stress. This is how you travel in an airport without having to get stressed about lines. So this is something that if you have written some great articles on say, how to find vacation rentals bring you more peace in your vacation over a hotel, this might be a great way to pitch that resource. Because there are people that are linking out to you for further information, even journalists.

Ken: Yes, another great thing about this is, it just gives you an idea of the type of stories that journalists write. So there’s archetypal stories. So ‘eight tips’, and ‘stress-free’. You know, these are things…so you can start thinking about your product in those terms. If you can couch your product in those terms, then you can pitch it to a reporter like this. Great.

Megan: Yeah, exactly. And this I also included her twitter. This is the Twitter of Maria, the woman who wrote the ‘Eight stress-free tips’ because again, I think with a lot of organizations, a lot of journalists, being able to contact them via Twitter is something that’s only about ten years old, but it’s the way that the industry is going.

For the next one, for Audience Input, and now we’re kind of getting into even fewer that you probably recognize. There’s some. The Telegraph, the Daily Post, but a lot of these are even less familiar. And I think, the real thing to remember with the audience input campaign is like I said, this is something you should be doing on a weekly basis. Shorten the time range to the past week because these are very immediate, very much…you don’t want something that came out months ago and asking for audience input because it’s not something out there anymore. And this is really more an immediate brand building exercise.

So yeah, it’s going to be an interesting variety that you’ll get in here, but you’ll probably be introduced to some reporters and then some publications that you didn’t even realize. And I found a really cool example. So apparently, this is also USA Today, but they do Name that Airport. And I think this is a weekly thing that they do, which is just, they show a picture and can you name the airport? And you see that this guy, Andy Young, he was the person who named the airport of that week. Like I said, this is something really fast that happened probably over the course of a couple of days. But if you’re someone in the travel industry that wants to get your name out there, what better way? There are ways to just kind of interact with a journalist, interact with a publication and get your name out there even further.

Ken: The other great thing about this is it’s not that all hard to do. But if you are successful, you contact the journalist, the journalist is likely to remember who you are, particularly if you’ve been helpful or funny or just good-natured. And it’s possible then to build that relationship. And you’ve got a contact with a journalist that you can follow up and pitch a story to if you’ve got the right story to pitch. So again, it’s terrific.

Megan: Yeah, definitely. It’s an easy way to make a contact. And I think, Ken, would you talk a little bit about once you’ve found all these journalists, how do you proceed next? What is the best way to reach out to them?

Ken: Now, one of the things about reporters that you’ve really got to remember is they get probably hundreds of pitches a day. And so the great majority of approaches they get just get ignored. So even more so than link building, you’ve really got to make your pitch stand out. And the best way to make your pitch stand out is to pack in lots of news value. “Oh! This is a really great story. Oh, gosh! I did not know that. Wow! I want to find out more.”

Megan: That is true, yeah. And I think you said it very well.

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