If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time creating press opportunities… finding people who are interested in your niche, connecting with them, building relationships, and ever so softly pitching your company.

But sometimes journalists go looking for experts. And chance favors the prepared mind. If you know where they look, you can be standing by to help them out. This post covers three free services you can monitor to find PR opportunities.

Traditionally, the major service that connects journalists with experts was ProfNet, which charges both parties experts to participate. I say, “nuts to that” in the digital age. Enter Help A Reporter (HARO). Peter Shankman is an uber-connected PR guru who receives requests from the press (the serious mainstream press) all the time looking for experts of various kinds– anything from professional gardeners to Fortune 100 CTO’s. Peter compiles all of these expert requests and sends out a daily email to his massive subscriber base of PR pros and experts.  Another service, PitchRate.com, launched this year and is similar in concept to HARO but saves expert requests on their website where you can search them (and manage your pitches) and also will send you a daily digest of requests via email. PitchRate is newer, so it has a much smaller user base than HARO.

The newest entrant, ExpertTweet, announced today, was launched by Jeremy Pepper Porter at Journalistics (a fantastic blog, btw).  They take this idea to Twitter. Just follow @experttweet and you’ll see journalists’ expert requests as they’re posted in real-time. I really like this format because the requests are very brief and to-the-point, which makes them easier to follow.  They’re also easier to search and filter using Twitter (more on that in a second).

Filtering

One thing that’s true of all these services is that you’re going to have to read through a lot of irrelevant posts to see the requests that you can act on. Unless you have lots of clients in many different niches, monitoring these services can be like reading through all the For Sale ads on Craigslist to find a kayak.  So, to fix this problem, you need to glue together some RSS feeds and create filters.

How to Filter ExpertTweets

  • Run the search (it’s ok if there aren’t any results at the moment) and right-click “RSS feed for this query” and copy the link location.
  • Now go to FeedMyInbox, paste the feed, and enter your real email address (the one you actually have time to read).

Viola. Now you’ll receive an email each time ExpertTweet has a request that matches your keywords.

How to Filter HARO & PitchRate

Since these are email-based services, you’ll need a way to get the email going somewhere you can generate an RSS feed. For that, we’re going to use my buddy Josh Baer’s service, OtherInbox.

  • Sign up for an OtherInbox account. OIB gives you an infinite email address like *@[username].oib.com which you use to create custom emails for each site you want to automatically filter into their own folders on OIB.  It’s a great for giving out emails to e-commerce vendors, but it’s also handy for managing your HARO and PitchRate emails because every OIB folder can be exported into an RSS feed.  For example, I subscribe to HARO with haro@[myusername].oib.com and PitchRate with pitchrate@[myusername].oib.com.
  • Login to OIB, navigate to your HARO or PitchRate folder.  If you’re using Firefox, click the RSS icon in your browser’s Location bar. Choose the one that says “Inbox messages for HARO” which should cause the RSS feed to appear in your browser. Once the feed loads in Firefox, copy that URL.
    OIB RSS Export
  • Now you have the RSS feed for all the HARO content, but you need a way to filter the messages so you only see the emails that mention your keywords. This is where a service called FeedRinse comes in. Create a FeedRinse account and paste the HARO RSS feed into Feedrinse.  Then setup the keywords that you want to filter your HARO messages by. Feedrinse will generate you a new RSS feed that only contains the HARO messages that matched your keywords.  Copy that RSS feed’s URL.
  • You’re almost there…  Now visit FeedMyInbox, paste the RSS feed URL from Feedrinse, and you’re all set. Now you should only see HARO and Pitchrate messages that match your keywords.

Alternatively, you can paste your filtered RSS feeds into BuzzStream and manage them using our workflow tools. As new results appear, you will see them in your monitoring results alongside regular stories, blog posts, comments, and other press opportunities. From there, you can manage ExpertTweet, HARO, and PitchRate requests like any other engagement opportunities– assign them to other users, add notes, and use the BuzzMarker to convert opportunities into contacts and start tracking your outreach.

I realize I breezed over using Feedrinse pretty quickly, so if you want more info about that step, please post a comment and I’ll put together a screencast if there’s interest.

PS: Not familiar with BuzzStream?  BuzzStream is a social media monitoring service that enables you to find press coverage and social media conversations, research and convert them into influencer contacts in one click (automatically capturing contact information and making them searchable by web metrics), and then track your relationships via email and Twitter.  Join our private beta here.

Jeremy Bencken

Jeremy Bencken co-founded BuzzStream and served as Chairman in our first few years. Before that, he co-founded ApartmentRatings.com, which he grew into the leading global source for ratings and reviews of apartments before selling it to Internet Brands. Currently, Jeremy runs Wordloop, a performance-based content marketing company in Austin, Texas. Jeremy also serves as an advisor to Sparefoot and inHabi, and is a mentor with Capital Factory. You can find Jeremy on Twitter or Google Plus.

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