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Free Publicity Tools Every Woman Business Owner Should be Leveraging in 2024

May 5th 2024

Publicity is one of the most powerful marketing tools, which results when a media outlet quotes you, mentions your business, or profiles your company. 

It’s powerful because that article or TV segment that includes you gives you added credibility. The fact that you were quoted or mentioned suggests that you and your business are successful, and most people want to do business with successful companies. Additionally, you earn an implied third-party endorsement from the outlet that covered you — meaning, readers or viewers will trust you more after seeing an established media company mentioning you.

Publicity is also powerful because it’s free.

The downside is that it’s hard to control. 

You can pursue publicity by issuing press releases about your business and offering to submit articles to trade journals or local papers, which is a good idea. However, since you don’t pay for this kind of coverage the same way you pay for advertising, you may or may not be successful. It’s up to the website, magazine, newspaper, or TV show to decide whether to mention you.

So, how can you find out what websites, magazines, newspapers, and TV shows are interested in covering before the story runs?

Some websites help reporters and writers find sources for the stories they’re working on.

Finding Publicity Opportunities

While disseminating information about your business to the media through a press release or press kit can sometimes lead to press coverage, an even more effective approach is to find out what those media outlets are planning to cover and then pitching yourself as a source.

For example, if you discover Time magazine is working on a story about unusual phobias and you have one, you can email the reporter to let them know that you’d be happy to be a source of information for that article. Or if Fast Company is researching a story on the many variations of FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) and the entrepreneurs who are on track to retire early and you qualify, you may want to offer yourself as a source.

The key is finding out what stories are in the works before they appear online or in print.

That’s where publicity tools come in handy. These four are among the most active platforms as of Spring 2024:


One of the first online platforms launched (in 1992) to connect reporters and writers with potential sources was ProfNet. Now owned by Cision, ProfNet cost a couple thousand dollars a year to subscribe to at last count. The focus is decidedly corporate and subscribers are typically well-funded public relations firms serving those corporations.

Now, because only larger organizations generally had access to ProfNet early, several competitors sprang up through the years that are free or low cost.


Qwoted, which debuted in 2012, is also designed to connect members of the media with potential sources — you — for low or no cost; there are free and paid versions.

Reporters and writers can share the topics they’re writing about and ask for the specific expertise or experience they’re looking for. Emails listing those source requests go out daily. Topics range from scientific to personal finance, health and medicine, entrepreneurship, shopping, and more. To respond, you simply click on the reporter’s email listed in the request.

Help a B2B Writer

Along the way, more specialized publicity tools emerged, too, including Help a B2B Writer, which is a platform specifically for individuals and companies that sell to other businesses. Meaning, the requests for sources will require B2B expertise.

Help a B2B Writer is free and sends out email requests for sources typically in the morning, Monday through Friday. To respond, click on the link in the email and share your relevant tip, comment, or experience, depending on what the writer asked for.


More than 15 years ago, Peter Shankman launched HARO, for Help A Reporter Out. It was a free service that connected reporters with sources at no cost, unlike ProfNet which charges a fee. It became so successful so quickly that HARO was bought by Cision (ProfNet’s parent company).

Fast forward nearly 20 years and HARO was rebranded as Connectively and now charges up to $149/month for access. However, as part of its rebranding, HARO no longer sends out email compilations of the publicity opportunities — you have to log in to find them. Former users found this process much more cumbersome.

Almost immediately, Shankman began getting inquiries about launching a replacement service. Although initially having no plans to do so, he was quickly persuaded; the result is  HERO: Help Every Reporter Out.

This free service compiles requests from journalists and writers and emails them out daily to subscribers. It’s new but extremely fast-growing.

How Best to Respond

It’s one thing to know what reporters are writing about and another thing to know how to respond successfully and garner coverage.

Help a B2B Writer has a useful set of suggestions designed to increase the odds that your response will net some publicity.

One of the most important tips is to respond quickly. Since reporters are often on deadline, as soon as they get the source or the information they need, they may stop reading emails that come in later. If you wait a day to respond, it’s unlikely your comment will be considered.

Another tip is to be sure your response is relevant. Do you have the experience the writer is looking for? Do you run the type of business they want to hear from? Don’t try to wrangle your company in if it’s not a good fit. For example, if the writer is looking for the manager of a Starbucks location to interview and you only drink the company’s coffee, you’re not a fit. Don’t respond.

Finally, don’t use AI to draft your response. Reporters can usually tell if ChatGPT has prepared the answer or if a live person has responded. The vast majority will delete responses that are AI-generated.

Although this type of publicity pursuit is decidedly reactive, in that you’re waiting to hear about a story for which you can be a source, it is a way to get media coverage and backlinks that can help grow your business. Spending a few minutes a day reviewing the requests that come in is typically well worth your time.

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