Getting Media Exposure to Generate Freelance Leads and Clients

Getting media exposure is one of the best ways to drive a ton of traffic to your website - traffic that can turn into leads and, eventually, into paying clients.

This type of exposure works because it helps establish you as an expert, something few other forms of marketing can do as well (or as quickly). It also gets you in front of prospects who wouldn't have heard about you through other marketing vehicles.

Just as important, it brings down your prospects' defenses and allows you to communicate your value more openly and without having to overcome direct buyer objections. That's because when most people see you mentioned in an article or featured on the news, they feel you're providing them with valuable or interesting information, and not necessarily selling your services directly.

Take Jill Hart, for example. Jill is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms. Not long ago, Jill sent out a press release to local media about her website, which is devoted to helping moms work at home. She hadn't done this previously and wasn't expecting great results. However, within a few days of sending her pitch, a local news producer called asking permission to send a reporter and camera crew to interview her for their morning show. It was a fantastic experience and brought hundreds of new visitors to her website.

Here's why Jill's approach worked: she did more than just send a press release to the paper, which is what so many businesses still do. Instead, she developed a pitch that incorporated what was happening in the news at that time. She also tied in something that is always a media draw - a holiday.

The pitch focused on a special Valentine's Day radio broadcast that Jill was presenting for work-at-home moms. She offered businesses the opportunity to call in, send a Valentine's greeting, and then briefly discuss their business. It worked! It brought visitors to the radio show and to her website, and she was also able to connect with many businesses who wanted to advertise on her site.

Another great tip from Jill's pitch was that she pitched the entire story as opposed to just talking about her products or services. This is really important, because what media outlets are really looking for are interesting twists, hooks or angles - not just facts, figures or self-congratulatory announcements.So, what exactly does pitching the media involve? Mainly, it's about contacting media outlets that would be potentially interested in your story. You can pitch to your local TV, radio, newspaper, or even national media. Local media often covers news specific to your area, and oftentimes you are afforded the opportunity to provide more personal information. National media pitches will need to have more of a broad appeal, since it reaches a larger audience. You can also pitch through established sources such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and Profnet.Your Assignment...Over the next few months, I will be going into more detail on the mechanics of pitching the media and how to do it right. But in the meantime, let's get you started on your first pitch.Think about what's unique about you, your story or your services and how it can relate to a newsworthy event or holiday. Then, start drafting a rough pitch idea based on that hook or unique angle.For example, say you're a U.S. freelance accountant. You could write a pitch on what to do after the April 15th tax day and what you need to do throughout the year for easier tax preparation next time around.Or maybe you have a unique manual recordkeeping system for solo businesses that doesn't involve software. Your pitch could be something like, "why tax software will only make tax season a bigger headache - and what to do instead."OK, now is your turn. Write up a basic pitch with these suggestions in mind. And make sure to pay special attention to the stories you are seeing in the news, online and in print publications. That can give you additional ideas on interesting ways to frame your pitch.

Diana Ennen is the President of Virtual Word Publishing, http://www.virtualwordpublishing.com offering PR and marketing services. She has been featured on Fox Business News, CBS, CNN Radio, USA Today, Woman's World, Entrepreneur Magazine and so many more.  She's also the author of six books on starting your own business including VA the Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA, and So You Want to be a Work-at-Home Mom.  Contact her at Diana@virtualwordpublishing.com or @dianaennen for a free PR Informational Package.