One of the critical value add-on services that Virtual Assistants can provide to clients is essential to business growth. VA’s who know how to help their clients market, promote and publicize their business will quickly become a trusted and respected resource.
I’ve spent my 25-year career in news, PR and communication. I’ve also worked with VA’s for close to 10 years.
Here are 5 ways you can build your own credibility and business while helping your clients do the same:
- Learn online article marketing. There are hundreds of online business portals that accept bylined/expert articles from professionals. These are typically “tip-sheet” style articles with the author’s bio box, contact information and picture. Check out examples such as www.my-article.com, www.articledirectoryusa.com and www.salesopedia.com. Find out the general requirements to submit an article, including topic, word count and deadline. There’s typically a certain formatting style or template to follow, which should be easy for you! Submit one or two articles to 5-10 different sites a month (depending on your time/budget). Be sure to use keywords for SEO with the headline and content. Posting articles on these sites are fabulous because they often have a very long shelf life. With that, choose a generic topic that is not “dated” and can withstand the test of time.
- Poke around the websites of newspapers in other cities and towns. If your client is a graphic designer in Asbury Park, NJ, see what kinds of business or human interest stories other papers and business publications are covering. Visit the website of the Charlotte Observer or Times-Picayune in New Orleans. You can then recommend some similar creative story ideas to your client so they can get publicity.
- Subscribe to HARO (Help A Reporter Out). Peter Shankman’s free repository of journalists and media folks looking for sources and interviews must not be overlooked. Every weekday–morning, noon and evening—an e-mailed Query List is sent to subscribers who search for opportunities to pitch their clients. If you follow the specifics of what the reporter is looking for, and respond in a timely way, you’ll be able to land an interview.
- Pay attention to your clients’ niche and expertise. Watch trends, news stories, blogs and competitors’ newsletters/websites to discover the buzz in their industry. Recommend ideas for press releases or articles for their own newsletter.
- Compile a solid list of media reporters. Most contact information for news staff is on the Internet, so visit websites of media organizations that your client may fit in with. Forget the publishers name and go for the reporter, producer or host that covers your specific geographical area or topic. Keep it current so your client can use these contacts when distributing press releases and articles.
Your willingness to be proactive with public relations and customer service can add to your success.
Susan Young works with business owners and associations who want to use publicity to increase their visibility, credibility and revenues. She’s the President of Get in Front Communications, Inc., a public relations and communications training company. Coaching is also available. Visit www.getinfrontblogging.com and www.getinfrontcommunications.com. Follow Susan on Twitter @sueyoungmedia.