3 Handy Web Resources: Free PR for Small Businesses

By Andrew Lock | Posted December 14, 2009

Andrew Lock

HelpAReporter

This NiftyClick — HelpAReporter.com — has its own slogan: everyone’s an expert at something. This is an e-mail list where you basically register as a source of information, and you might get 15 or 30 queries per day from reporters. Reporters can come to the same Web site and post a query, and these queries go out to the entire mailing list of subscribers to help a reporter out.

HelpAReporter.com
HelpAReporter.com
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I guess more than 50,000 people have registered so far. A little back story here: the owner says it started as a part of Facebook, but since they cap e-mails at 1,200 this is the next incarnation of the Web site. He did it because a lot of his friends are reporters, and they called him all the time for sources. Rather than going through his contact list each time, he figured he could push out the requests to people who actually have something to say.

Of course the advantage to you is that you might get some free publicity out of it by responding to a reporter’s question. First of all it is free from both ends — for both the reporters and for the people who respond to the reporters’ questions. Please make sure your response is really on target meaning are you going to help the journalist or is this just a way for you to get your client or yourself out in front of the reporter? The site asks that you think about that for three seconds before you reply to a reporter’s query.

If you’re a reporter, you put in a summary of the information that you’re looking for as well as your media outlet, e-mail address and the specific query. Again it’s HelpAReporter.com, and it’s designed to help reporters get questions answered, and it might help you get your name or business out in front of the media.

SideStep

As an entrepreneur when you travel for business you want to get the best air fare, but you also want to make the best use of your time. I’ve found that the travel Web tools at SideStep.com really help me do that. Let’s say that I want to fly from Newark to Toronto. SideStep instantly shows me the best fares for the entire month.

I can also select which travel sites I want it to search for me. SideStep builds its own comparison screens out of the fares and the flights. In the matrix view, the lowest fares are highlighted in orange. The chart view plots the price of fares across the entire month, so if your schedule’s flexible, you can really save some bucks.

You can limit your search results using Smart Sort. Let’s say you want to limit your results to non-stop flights leaving early in the morning and returning in the afternoon — it instantly updates the fares for you. You can either book your fare using one of SideStep’s partners, or I often go to the airlines own Web site — just old school, I guess.

Remember when I selected other travel sites to search? That feature works best if you have a large monitor because in addition to the results in the SideSteps screen, you’ll get separate windows for each of the other sites you selected. For me, this is just too much information. And of course like all travel sites, SideStep also gets pricing for you on hotels, rental cars and cruises.

GetHuman

This is so simple, why didn’t somebody think of this sooner? It’s called GetHuman Database. They’ve got hundreds and hundreds of companies listed here where you can bypass the phone tree and talk to a live person. It is a great thing, I mean for example, AEP of Ohio — it lists a direct-to-human-being number right here. But for some of these others, AARP is a great example, maybe you have to get through a phone tree to get where you want to go, but they’ll tell you how to shortcut that.

You can even type in the company you’re looking for — let’s say PayPal — they’ll tell you exactly what to do to get through that phone tree very quickly. What a great service. I know it’s simple, it’s not particularly complex or elegant but what a great thing to be able to get though all that.

You can add listing, make changes, you can actually even rate a company’s customer service so lots of good stuff here. It’s perfect for someone who’s trying to increase their productivity and get away from a lot of drag on their time. GetHuman Database — it’s pretty remarkable.


You'll find lots more marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business Essential series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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