Publicity Hounds hoping to connect with journalists who need their expertise now have another free service to use.
When you visit the Pitchrate website, you can log in as a journalist or as a source. I logged in as both and had to use two separate email addresses.
When journalists are looking for specific types of sources, they send their query to PitchRate. If they’re from major media outlets like USA Today or the New York Times and want to post anonymously, they have that option.
Sources who sign up for the service can see all the queries, and decide whether they’re a good match. If so, they contact the journalist on their own.
Here’s where this service differs from Help a Reporter Out (also free) and the two subscription services, PRLeads and ProfNet. PitchRate actually rates your pitch on a scale of from one to five stars. Ratings are determined on things such as keywords that sources use within their pitch. Because humans don’t actually do the rating, I don’t know whether it’s accurate. Journalists who receive many responses to their queries can sort them according to how they’re rated, thus saving themselves time.
If they contact you for an interview, they can rate your value as a source on your PitchRate profile so other journalists can see quickly whether you’re worth pursuing. This second rating should force sources to be extra careful when responding to queries.
During a teleseminar I conducted recently for Publicity Hounds in my mentor program, I offered tips on how to reply to queries from these services. My tips included:
—Answer only queries that are a perfect match with your expertise.
—If you’re answering by email, make sure your pitch takes up no more than one screen of type.
—Answer concisely. Don’t tell the journalist “the whole story.” Instead, provide just enough information to entice them to pick up the phone and call you for an interview.
—Always offer little extras like tip sheets, photos, graphics or additional sources to round out the story.
—If the journalist is a good fit with your area of expertise, add their name to your list of media contacts. You should then do your research and f id out if they have Facebook and Twitter pages, or blog.
The PitchRate site is still so new that this is a terrific time for Publicity Hounds to get in at the ground level while there’s still little competition among experts.