From startups to established businesses, PR is an awesome growth tool that, when leveraged correctly, can boost your brand profile, and generate significant opportunities. However, the reality is that for most entrepreneurs, founders, and startups, there are two major challenges to using PR as a marketing tool - time and money.
Many businesses can't afford to shell out for the high costs for a PR agency, which means that such efforts usually stay in-house, taking up more time you don't have, and being conducted by people who don't necessarily know the field.
For those who lack the resources, here's an easy way to locate some basic PR opportunities without a huge time or money investment. All you need are two free, user-friendly platforms, and a little bit of initial effort.
The tools required for this are Twitter and If This Then That (IFTTT).
Here's how to do it.
What Types of PR Opportunities Are Available?
There are essentially three types of PR opportunities available which you can uncover through this process.
1. Guest Posts
Guest posts are a great way to help increase brand awareness, and establish yourself or your brand in your field.
Twitter is a great for finding guest post opportunities - I'll explain how, exactly, to do this below.
2. Source Requests
A lot of journalists regularly put out requests to find sources for their work.
This is some of the lowest hanging PR fruit that you can find, because you're connecting with people who are actively asking to speak with an expert like you
In addition to using Twitter for this purpose (again, the detail on how is outlined in this post), you should also consider signing up for free services like these to get source requests delivered direct to your inbox:
3. Pitch Opportunities
If you've already developed your pitch, and you're looking for the right people to send it to, then monitoring twitter is an easy way to qualify targets.
This is essentially keeping your ear to the ground and finding people who are writing about stories related to your business or pitch.
How to Use Twitter and IFTTT to Find PR Opportunities
Regardless of which type of PR opportunity you're looking for, the process outlined below can be used for each (or all three), with relative variation to the keywords you're using.
Here are the three major steps to start your Twitter monitoring:
Step 1: Identify Relevant Keywords
The first step in finding PR opportunities is to hone in on the keywords, phrases, and hashtags that will highlight relevant results in a Twitter search.
Depending on which opportunities you're after, your keywords will look a little different - you'll also need to modify and adjust your keywords to improve your results over time.
Some quick examples:
Guest Posting - If you're looking for guest posts then you might use keywords or hashtags like:
- “Guest Post”
- “Write For Us”
- “Contributor Guidelines”
Source Requests - If you're looking for source requests, then you might use some keywords or hashtags like:
- “Expert Needed”
Pitch Opportunities - If you're looking for journalists and writers who might be interested in what you're pitching, you need to work on keywords that are relevant to that pitch.
- Follow a news narrative and see who's talking about it
- See who mentioned one of your competitors
- Follow industry trends
Step 2: Set Up IFTTT Automation to Scrape Results
With your keywords established, you can now set up a process in IFTTT to automatically search Twitter and extract the mentions you're after.
Of course, you could also do this manually, every day, but why bother when there are free tools for it?
- First go to IFTTT.com and set up an account
- Next, create an ‘applet’ that saves information from a tweet to Google Sheets
- Set up your search to contain one of your keywords - you'll need to do this for every keyword or combination of terms that you want to search for
- Launch the applet and your results will be automatically located and saved to a Google Sheet
Step 3: Review the Results and Pitch
Of course, none of these results are guaranteed to produce a result, but this is a super easy way to collect a bunch of opportunities in one place.
Based on whichever PR opportunity you're going after, you'll need to follow up the right way - you might need to find an email or check out a website for more info. But in many cases, you just need to reply to the tweet.
A little common sense goes a long way with this:
- Not every result will be a perfect fit - pick and choose the best opportunities for what you're looking to achieve
- Pitch in the best way possible - you only get one first impression
- Check the results on a daily basis for the best and most relevant opportunities (things go stale after a few days)
The key with all PR is to be persistent, and to modify your approach when it’s not working.
This is just one small technique in the world of PR - but you can't expect to hit the front page of The New York Times after one day of trying this. Like all good things - it takes time and effort to get the most out of it.