UPDATE as of May 2010: In case you don’t read the comments first (who does that?) Maria, from ProfNet recently left a comment here with a link to ProfNet’s newest and best way to submit an opportunity. It’s way easy to use and doesn’t make you jump through so many hoops. Visit ProfNet to learn more.
Back to the regular post:
Last week we started talking about bloggers and their PR issues. One reader; Keilann asked, “How do you create targeted call for products and ideas at ProfNet? I’ve signed up for the site but it’s very overwhelming and I can’t find any in-depth instructions on how to use it to my advantage.”
First off, she’s not wrong. ProfNet seems to like making it as hard as humanly possible to set up a query letter to send off to PR folks. I had issues when I first tried. My blogger friends have had issues. It’s just sort of a wacky process.
I haven’t done a targeted query (or what’s actually called an opportunity) in a while, so let’s see if I remember how…
1. Head to ProfNet and get an account:
If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to set one up. You can set yourself up as an expert source, journalist, or other professional. I don’t think they had the other professional option when I set my account up, so I have a journalist account, but other professional might be the way to go if you’re a blogger.
When I set my account up (a long time ago); they made me fill out a form, and then I had to send proof that I was actually working in the journalism field. I sent them some magazine clips. I’m not sure if they still do this or not, but that was the process I went through.
2. Once you’re all set up:
After you have an account, go to ProfNet, and log into the site via the option you picked (i.e. journalist). Once you log in you’ll see some various tabs at the top of the page.
The ProfNet Experts tab is where click if you’d like to set up an opportunity, i.e create a general request for news and product information. You should see an opportunity form like the one below:
Now all you do is fill this form out.
- Your name should be filled in automatically.
- The last time I filled out an opportunity, I picked a random blog url of mine for the url box.
- In opportunity subject just fill out what you’re looking for; for example, product reviews, info for magazine article on global warming, interview from dog expert, whatever.
- In the nature of expertise you seek box: If I’m doing a general targeted call for ideas, news, and products, I’ll write something like… “I’m looking for tips and news related to (fill in specific topics) for my various blogs and websites. I’m also interested in reviewing products at my various blogs such as (fill in some info about specific product types, i.e. eco-toys, architecture books, etc). My blogs include: (give all blog urls). I try to be very specific about what topics I cover. You can write whatever you like in the nature of expertise box. You can query for one specific sort of item or query for many at once.
NOTE: While my blog urls are in my ProfNet profile, I don’t expect PR people to go check out my profile, so I do list my blogs in the opportunity, to make it easy for anyone to see the sort of topics I cover.
- Choose your deadline for response. If you’re just doing a general query for info and products, the time line won’t matter so much. If you need something for a magazine article, or you know that you have a specific blog contest coming up, make sure you set an early deadline.
- Finish filling out all the extra info in the opportunity and send it off.
After you send your opportunity off. Sit back, relax, and your in-box will start to fill up with info, tips, and more from PR folks and companies. If you did a decent job of describing your sites, you should get mostly targeted hits, although, you will still get some duds. That’s just how the game goes.
If you have any questions about the opportunity process just ask in the comments.