A Brand-Building Tool You Didn’t Know You Needed, Especially if You are a Content Marketer
Plus tips for writing a professional bio
Happy New Year!
I’ve been awake since 4:40am because my youngest just needed a “re-tuck in her mermaid tail on top of the covers”. I made the rookie-mistake of checking the time, on my iPad (damn the melatonin-suppressing ambient light!), which led me to my inbox, which peaked my interest into responding to a HARO request, which sucked me into a “on the first day of the year, it’s probably appropriate to refresh my bio” before responding to said request wormhole.
I haven’t dared open social media yet because I want to finish this post first, without distraction, before my battery runs out, before my family wakes up. Hopefully we (me, my daughter, you, if you’re reading this early) are all going back to sleep. Or perhaps a cozy New Year’s Day nap is in order.
I’m sharing this with you as part of my 2019 commitment to consistently offer up real value to my network that’s FREE! So here are the juicy details: HARO is the brand-building tool you didn’t know you needed, especially if you are a content marketer.
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. It’s an email subscription that provides journalists with a robust database of sources for upcoming stories and daily opportunities for sources to secure valuable media coverage. I can’t recall how I became familiar with HARO, but as a content marketer who prioritizes writing, it’s essential to my content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is the primary growth strategy for my coaching business, launched in 2018. Without a marketing budget and limited resources, content marketing is a low-cost, potentially high-return means of establishing credibility in a new field, while generating awareness for my coaching services.
It helps me communicate my coaching objectives and brand persona in an authentic way that attracts my ideal clients. An unexpected ancillary benefit is that it offers real-time market research as I engage with my target market, receiving insights into their communication preferences, lifestyle, and aspirations as I monitor what resonates and why.
HARO allows me to respond to requests, such as this morning’s request for Incredible Women in Content Marketing. It also offers a preview of what journalists and publications are working on which helps me anticipate trends or relate topical issues to my clients’ needs.
I subscribe to the daily morning, afternoon, and evening editions. I simply take 5 minutes to skim it, looking for relevant opportunities that fit my brand goals, and limit my response time to 30-minutes or less. It’s my way of forcing myself to be succinct, trust my first response, and not overthink it.
In 2018, I didn’t track how many times my POV ultimately made it into a publication, but I’d guess at least once/month. That’s validating, worth the effort, and my writing has improved as a result too. It’s even laid the groundwork for relationships with a couple of editors who’ve selected my responses more than once. I’ll track it in 2019 and let you know.
As an aside, one of the very best things about content marketing is the randomness of the connections it creates. I love the magic of new introductions — you never know where it will lead! Last year, I wasn’t as strategic as I could have been; I didn’t set goals or track outcome. That’s unlike me — I’m a coach after all — but I looked at content as experimental and was “just dipping my toes in the water” to find the courage to fulfill a lifelong dream to write.
Up until now, the writing and publishing was more important than the results. Luckily, Medium, Grammarly, Facebook, Instagram and so many of the content marketing tools I use have impressive analytics. Gotta love that about tech! And going forward, process and results matter. I’m over the hurdle of chickening out. Thank God.
In 2018, in my first year of content marketing, I chose to focus on one platform to establish myself as an authority. I highly recommend the focused approach because each platform has its own rules, formats, algorithms, followers, and overall tone, and you don’t want to be pulled in too many directions. I chose Medium because I appreciate the deep-dive-format and find that most other users also seem to be using it for its depth, to learn and engage, not to absent-mindedly scroll, be voyeuristic, or troll.
I posted my first 100 posts in 2018. Not only did I find my voice and attract a few hundred followers last year, but achieved top writer status in Inspiration, a priority brand tenet. I recently started leveraging my Medium content across Instagram and Facebook too and am planning a broader content marketing strategy in 2019, but I know what I like — Medium and Instagram, then Pinterest and Facebook, so I will continue to prioritize accordingly.
Check out HARO, it’s pretty self-explanatory, and let me know what you think of my new bio! Note the inspiration theme that I led with.
Kristi Andrus, Head Coach & CEO, LUXICoach.com. Kristi inspires moms to savor motherhood, create an incredible career, and find a personalized work/life balance that maximizes a happy life, intentional future, and the space to enjoy it all.
A former media executive, Kristi grew more than 10 million premium cable subscribers while perfecting her leadership and development skills.
Now a Coach and CEO, she runs a coaching practice, a website, a blog, writes regularly for Medium and other publications, published a book on Amazon about exiting Corporate America, and cares for her three children and 100-lb dog with her husband of 10 years.
By the way, this was the most valuable article I excavated from my wormhole this morning. Hope it’s helpful for you too