Press coverage can be a great boost for small, local businesses – especially freelancers. Not only can it pull a few more leads though the door, if you can get the coverage online it can provide a nice SEO boost with some tasty links to your website from well-trafficked news outlets. It used to be the case that only large businesses with dedicated PR teams could secure decent coverage, but then along came social media and ruined everything for them. Nowadays, if you’re an expert in your field (which, if you’re a freelancer, you hopefully are) you can pitch in with ease and hopefully get your name up in lights now and again.

Here are some easy ways to get started.

Follow the #journorequest hashtag

This is how the journalists of today source the subjects of their stories, and find experts to provide comments. If you spot a request relevant to your area of expertise, chip in and offer a comment. Don’t be afraid to contribute or ask questions – journalists usually appreciate a range of opinions. You are, after all, helping them do their job!

Offer guest articles

Unfortunately this is getting a little trickier as SEO agencies switch their focus to content creation, but the vast majority of publications can still spot the difference between an agency pitch and a genuinely engaging, expert opinion. If you have something to write about you think could be of interest to others, have a look for a publication that might be interested in hosting it. The Guardian, for example, have a whole range of professional networks which encourage contribution from industry folks.

Get to know industry journalists

This method may seem a little odd, but it really works. Say you’re an eCommerce expert offering consultancy services to large online retail businesses. Get to know some of the journalists who regularly cover the industry, offer them interesting and insightful commentary, and you can quickly become their “go-to” expert. Journalists often prefer the opinions of an independent expert instead of a PR-filtered comment from a corporate CEO. Keep yourself at the top of your game and easily-contactable and you could soon see the comment requests flooding in.

List your coverage on your website

In the same way that online retailers list “trust icons” such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Verisign to hammer home their security credentials, you should show which publications you’ve been featured in, and link to the articles if possible. This will show journalists looking for comment that you’re legit, quotable and reliable. Be careful when using newspaper logos though, some of the less forward-thinking publications (I’m talking about you, Daily Mail and Telegraph) will try to bill you for use of their logo.

Photo by US Mission Geneva