Freelancers Can Benefit by Using PR Consultant Resources By Laura Bell

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Some writers tend to look down their nose at the PR side of the world of publishing. I can remember in journalism school how PR folks were referred to as flacks. The real truth is that journalists and PR consultants are really after the same thing. They want to get their clients’ stories out and we want to get a story reported that may require quoting their clients as sources.

When I returned to college, I took a variety of courses the first semester: Journalism 101, Basic PR and Marketing 101. A few years after graduating, I answered an ad from a small PR agency and spent six months there.

So, last year when my writing buddy suggested I sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out, http://www.helpareporter.com). I could immediately see the benefits. Sign up online and you will get three daily issues; weekends are out.

Each issue of HARO has a topical list of freelancers looking for experts. Many times the publication is named. Additionally, if you are on an assignment and are desperate for someone to quote, you can send your own query. See details online. Looking over the daily listings I see publications that interest me for potential queries. Additionally, many writers don’t realize they may be considered an expert. If you have a blog or a series of articles on a given subject, you may offer yourself up to a writer querying for an interview. The benefits can simply be traffic back to your site. (You should make sure that will be in your quote.) Or, someone may see you and offer other work you weren’t expecting.

The next source I discovered was Gorkana alerts. They, too, go out every weekday. See http://www.gorkana.com. They are located in England, but when registering you will name what country you are in to ensure you get localized information. Four days a week they tell you about editors who are either leaving a position or ones who have been promoted or brought on board. If you see one that is a pub you might query, write the editor a congratulatory note on her/his new position. Don’t ask for anything just yet. It’s a good way to open a dialogue. Gorkana also sends out alerts on what freelancers are up to; i.e. you have a new blog you want the world to know about. If you are on Twitter they will publish an alert on your activities destined to those who Tweet. On Fridays, they feature a listing of journalism jobs if you are looking for full time work.

Next up is Bill and Steve Harrison’s Reporter Connection. Their line is “the free service that connects busy journalists and experts available for media interviews.” See http://www.reporterconnection.com.

Cision offers tools for both PR types and journalists. Some have fees attached, but many are free. See: http://www.cision.com/us/resources/public-relations/.

PR professionals are into social media. If not already a member, join Linkedin, http://www.linkedin.com. Free accounts are available. Once a member, at the top of your home page, you will see a drop down menu, labeled, “more”. Click on it and you will find the link to the questions and answers section. I have written a multitude of questions looking for sources and input on articles. It has been amazing. Additionally, be sure and join “groups.” I joined about ten dealing with PR. When I have a question or a need a source, I post it and get help quickly.

Laura Bell has been a freelance writer for 30 years. Her work can be found at http://www.bellbusinessreport.com and http://www.thedirtysecret.wordpress.com.