A couple weeks ago I talked about surveys and how to use the information they provide in your link building efforts. I didn't really think too much about reversing the concept until this popped up in my Bloglines:

Please join my Entrepreneurs Panel! There are more than 20 million small businesses in the USA, including about 15 million super-tiny home-based companies. How do I choose which ones to write about? I turn to our Entrepreneurs Panel, a virtual advisory group of owners, managers and other people with a stake in the small-business economy. It now has nearly 1,500 members. You can be one, too, by filling out this super-quick form.

I decided to fill out the form hoping USA Today (the people initiating the survey) would provide the 1500 member list after I submitted (they didn't) and showcase my linking business in the process. The survey was short and asked the basics business and background questions you'd expect when someone wants to know what you do and how long you've been doing it. But the second I hit "Finish" I realized I had almost no chance of being contacted by a journalist because I have little in place to support my claims!

Why's that? Well, my website doesn't sing my praises or spout any accolades from clients, co-workers, associates or the media. It does have an About Us page with basic info, but little more. The USA Today journalist reading my panel bio has nothing to look at, nothing to use as a reference or a way to verify what I had written. Sure I've been quoted, gotten testimonials and been featured in various magazines and newspapers but I've never taken the time to build a qualifications page or add that info to my website for any number of reasons.

But you should. If you're serious about being known in your field, you need to work the media - hard. Here's a handful of things you can do:

  • Build a qualifications page over and above your general "About Us" page as a testament to what you have accomplished. List your credentials.
  • Link out to where you're mentioned on published sources using optimal anchor text, offer to send additional information and images to those sites.
  • Go to a professional photographer and take a picture, don't depend on the snapshot someone took of you in a dark bar at the last conference, reporters want photos that exude confidence, not Bud Lite.
  • Provide graphics from the magazines/sites you've been featured in, people recognize them quickly and they're much more effective in impressing people than a text link of the same publication.
  • Include contact information of past interviewers and those giving testimonials, reporters need to verify sources and like to use people with an established presence over those without.
  • Don't neglect to add educational accomplishments especially if you have a degree in the same field you're working in. Helps to establish credibility and you may get picked over someone else because you and the reporter graduated from the same College!
  • Research yourself and make anything written about you part of your qualifications page.

If you feel you're lacking in the self promotion department (like I am!) don't despair, it's an easy fix. Sit down and write out your accomplishments, your credentials and where you've been published. Don't put this off any longer than you have to, you may be losing opportunities to those with less experience but better storytelling skills.

August 14, 2007

Based in Williamsburg Virginia, Debra Mastaler is President of Alliance-Link, an interactive marketing company focused on providing custom link building campaigns and link training and is the author of the link building blog Link Spiel


Really handy points there, Debra. I can fully empathise with the professional photographer bit. Can't count the number of times we've sent over random pics to go with an article or mention. I need to get a pro photograph taken ASAP!

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Search Engine Guide > Debra Mastaler > Becoming A Media Darling