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Episode 114 | Media Exposure Using HARO with Melody Wilding

melody wilding


  • Episode 114 | Media Exposure Using HARO with Melody Wilding 00:00


Hi Group Practice Listeners! In this episode, I’m talking with Melody Wilding all about media exposure.

In this episode we cover:

  • What HARO is
  • How to use HARO
  • How group practices can use HARO as a way to get exposure for their practice
  • Why media exposure matters

This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is an EHR software that helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with confidence and efficiency. I use TherapyNotes in my own group practice and love its amazing support team, billing features, and scheduling capabilities. It serves us well as a large group practice owner.

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Maureen Werrbach

Hey everyone, welcome back. Today I have melody Wilding, with me, and she’s someone I’ve been following for quite some time. She’s got such an amazing process when it comes to media pitching and getting in front of the media, using the help a reporter out. And so welcome, Melody. I’m so glad to have you on the podcast.

Melody Wilding 

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Maureen Werrbach 

Yeah, I feel like now is weirdly such a great time to be focusing on getting exposure out in the media. And so I felt like it was like just the perfect time for you to come back on. I know you you did a training for my membership community on this. And so it’s a perfect time to just touch back into it on the podcast and get people’s minds kind of churning around how they can get exposure in the media using HARO.

Melody Wilding 

Yeah. 100% there. There are a lot of people and a lot of journalists looking for sources right now and a lot of people looking for support and help so it’s the perfect time.

Maureen Werrbach 

Yeah, I was gonna say I’m noticing so many more pitches out there, requests for information on HARO related to mental health. So I’m seeing that increase right now just because of what’s happening.

Melody Wilding 

Yep, absolutely. I’m seeing the same.

Maureen Werrbach 

So tell people for those that don’t know what HARO is. Is it hare-oh or hah-ro?

Melody Wilding 

I say hah-ro, that could be my New Jersey accent. I think either to go so is totally fine.

Maureen Werrbach 

So tell those that don’t know what HARO is, what it is.

Melody Wilding 

Yeah, so it is a completely free PR and media service. Well, I should say there is a free level and the free level is the one you want to sign up for. There are other levels that are paid, which are probably going to be more than you need. So it’s a totally free service.

And the way it works is once you sign up, you start getting an email every day during the work week. So Monday through Friday, three times a day with a list of I believe each email has 50 different leads or pitches from journalists that are looking. They call them queries in the media world. So it’s 50 different queries from journalists that are looking to speak to sources.

So everyday that’s what 150 different opportunities for you to be featured in the media?

Whether that is an online article, a print magazine, a newspaper, podcast, TV show radio show, really, there’s endless possibilities. And I mean, the best part is it is completely free.

So it’s not something like Facebook ads that you’re pouring money into. It’s really just your time and your effort. And once you get it down to a process, I know Maureen, you’ve done that through my course and now are very good at it. But once you get it down into a structure and a process, it’s actually very easy to shoot those off quickly, and get that media exposure as a result.

Maureen Werrbach 

Yeah, I have to say out of all the different courses and things that I’ve taken in my life, no, seriously nothing has compared in terms of taking a course applying the information you’ll learn in actually getting tangible, quick results. I haven’t gotten that in any other course other than yours.

And I feel like I can put out something if I see something in HARO that relates to my specialty area and I send something over to the journalist. I feel like almost every time I’m included in the articles and whatnot. So your course is amazing. And we’re gonna make sure to talk about the course at the end of this so that people can sign up if they are interested. Because it’s an amazing course.

Melody Wilding 

Well, thank you that that means so much.

Maureen Werrbach 

Okay, so obviously, you mentioned what it is. They send an email a couple times a day. I just got my afternoon one just a couple minutes ago. And essentially you sift through, they have it categorized which is kind of nice, based off like business, healthcare. I don’t know. I don’t know what the other ones are. Those are the only ones I look at, but you can kind of search quickly to see If the topics that you feel are within your specialty are being asked about, right?

Melody Wilding 

Yeah, that’s exactly right. So that email, like you said, it comes three times a day, once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once in the evening. And once you open the email, from the top, they have hyperlinked the main headline of every article, so you can kind of read there to get a sense for sometimes they’ll say, like seeking to talk to a therapist about depression, or how to deal with anxiety during a crisis. You can kind of just click right down to the article that sounds like oh, they may be looking for an expert like me.

And each query, reporters will typically provide more about the article. They’re writing the topic, the angle that they’re coming from, and then the type of experts that they’re looking to speak with. So you’ll see a big range so some journalists are very specific. They may say I only want to talk to you Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or other people will say I’m open to hearing from any expert in anxiety disorders without specifying a certain licensure or, or profession. Other times, they’ll go so far as to say I only want to hear from PhDs, researchers and medical doctors.

So look, you want to read through that query thoroughly to make sure that you match the exact criteria for the type of expert they’re hoping to hear from and to see if they’re asking any specific questions in their query.

A lot of times journalists will outline they want to hear they want you to answer three specific questions in your response to them. And in the response that you write you better answer those exact three questions. So you can get a lot of information there. And the basic method is once you recognize a query that’s a good fit for you, HARO gives you a masked email.

So it will say query and then a whole string of numbers. Basically, you just copy and paste that email address, put it in your email provider, write off your response, shoot it off to the journalist. And that’s, that’s kind of where the fun begins. Because, as you know, as you you’ve probably experienced, most of the time, journalists do not respond directly to your queries.

I would say, maybe 70 or 80% of the time, you don’t even know that you’ve been featured.

Right? So it’s really contingent on you to make sure that you’re searching that you’re following up to see if you were quoted in that article, sometimes they will let you know. But you you have to make sure your emails first are getting opened.

Then number two, that is written in such a way where it is appealing enough to the journalists to make them want to quote you. And then third, that you’re actually following up to see if you got quoted so that you can leverage it in all of your marketing and all of that.

Maureen Werrbach 

You can also do and I think you mentioned this in your course. But you can also set yourself up for like a Google. What is that called? Where if your name pops up in Google, you get like an email saying you your name is showing up in Google. That’s what I have. And that’s how oftentimes I find out that one of the HARO quotes that I’ve given was used in an article. I get a What is that called? My Google Alert. Google Alert. There we go. That’s another way of doing it in case they don’t respond because you’re right. They rarely I feel like, let you know they’re using.

So, I know that people can take your course to get more feedback on what the best practices are for getting chosen and all that fun stuff and how to craft your email response to them. But for for those who are just thinking about getting exposure in the media, what have you found? Because obviously, you’re kind of like the queen of how can guru practices or private practices use this as a way to gain exposure for their their practices?

Melody Wilding 

Yeah, this is such a great question. Because I truly think that it’s, it doesn’t make sense to do media unless you know what you’re going to do with it. And so there’s a few reasons why I would suggest that particularly for group practice owners.

The first is reputation as a credibility builder. So even if you are only trying to get clients locally, a lot of people will ask me, well, then why would I bother trying to get online or national media? What does that matter to me? Well, it matters when someone is shopping around for a therapist. I’m looking at different practices, and they put your practice up against someone else’s.

And if you have media on there, it instantly signals more trust, more credibility, expert status, and someone is much more likely to go with you over someone who doesn’t have those different credentials or that social proof on their site.

So that’s first of all. Second is that it is an amazing audience builder. If you want to do any sort of speaking, I know a lot of group practice owners are eager to expand beyond the therapy room, they may want to do speaking in their community. Or more broadly, they may want to create a course or a podcast or anything like that. Something that’s more scalable. You need an audience, you need, like I was saying, credibility.

Getting media hits is helps you do that. It helps bring traffic to your website, because pretty much in every single article that you’ll be quoted and you’ll have a link back to your website so you’re getting additional traffic and then you can convert that traffic to your email list of followers on your social media.

If you’re doing speaking, again, it’s helpful to convince people that you are an expert, and why they should hire you to come and speak to their people.

So there’s lots of different reasons that’s just really touching the surface. We were talking about before we hopped on this, that I’m writing a book right now. And my media exposure was probably the number one key that opened all of the doors to any of that and why publishers took me seriously. It’s really, really powerful for a number of reasons.

Maureen Werrbach 

I remember, I don’t know if this was on your website, or in a podcast episode that I might have heard you on elsewhere. But I remember you saying and I feel like a couple years ago, that a good portion of your clients that were referred to I don’t know if you’re still seeing clients or not, but when you were were they found you because of your exposure in the media, right?

Melody Wilding 

Yes. So I do coaching only now and I’ve done so for many years so I can work with people all over the country and in the world.

And yes, you’re exactly right. Even to today, 70 percent of the people I work with, find me through some sort of media route. Whether that’s directly in an article I was quoted in, I’ve had people where if I was in print magazine, they will literally like print, like rip out the piece of paper that that many name on it, take it home, research me, and sign up for a consult.

So either directly through an article that I’ve been quoted in, or I’ve been able to leverage that media exposure into writing for different publications, so I’ve used that to open other doors. And now I write for sites like Business Insider, Forbes, all these other places where my audience is hanging out. And that also brings clients to me. So, yes, media is responsible for my entire business.

Maureen Werrbach 

If you could give–and I may be putting you on the spot here–but one piece of feedback or advice, for a group practice owner who’s getting ready to focus on on this kind of end of their of their business? What feedback or advice would you give so that they are best to using it?

Because I feel like, you know, I think you touched on at the beginning is you really want to know to what end or what purpose, you’d be responding to a query. Like, how is it actually going to help you? And I see a lot of people who just aren’t doing it, you know, trying to do it for the sake of just being able to say they were quoted without really maybe having a purpose behind what what is it going to do. How will this benefit them in their business?

So I guess if you could give a piece of feedback or advice or a thought around someone who’s wanting to start, do it in a way that makes the most sense and is actually going to benefit them. What would that be?

Melody Wilding 

Can I give three? Okay, so the first one, I mean, you mentioned kind of this broad idea that it needs to make sense for your business. So I would ask a year from now, three years from now, five years from now, what do you want your practice to be known for? Because that’s probably the biggest mistake I see is not only do people go into getting media without an idea of how they’re going to use it, or a purpose, but they also go in just hitting and replying to every single article that’s even semi related to mental health. And they just spread themselves so thin that they burn out really quickly and they’re like, forget this.

So if you think about just your practice, what are your specialties? What do you want to focus on? What do you want to be known for?

Is there a specific niche, a specific audience? Do you talk to millennials, moms? Whoever that is, think about those specialties, and then use that. Something I teach in my course is turning that into keywords to really make searching HARO and finding the right queries much more efficient. So that would be the first one is to think about what your quote unquote keywords are for what you want to be known for one to five years in the future.

Number two is especially for your people, the group practice owners is to not hero the situation, not over function and try to do all of this yourself.

You likely have a VA or an associate in your practice, who can help you with going through the emails every day or even drafting some of the content for the responses.

So don’t think that you have to do this all by yourself.

And then number three is in your actual responses, you want to make them a lot shorter than you think. So, we clinicians have a tendency to be very verbose. And, you know, I think it comes a lot from school and having to write papers and everything. But you want to keep in mind that you’re talking to a lay person number one, so you want to speak in normal language. And number two, that this is a journalist who is getting hundreds, if not thousands, of responses in reply from from HARO, so you want to make sure that yours is very digestible, that it’s very easy to read.

You don’t need to give your entire resume and every training you’ve ever gotten and the specialty of each therapist in your practice, you don’t need any of that. Your response needs to be much, much, much shorter than you think it is. And that is actually more powerful.

Maureen Werrbach 

That’s really good feedback. Thank you so much for that. So if people are interested in looking into how to use HARO best for growing their business. Where can they find your course your information?

Melody Wilding 

Yeah, so I actually have a free training, I would love to share with everyone. It goes much more into the nitty gritty of how to use HARO. Some of the the high level basics that we talked about today. If you just went through this training, you would probably have everything you need, so that you can find it Melody Wilding dot com backslash media secrets and if you just want to jump right into the course you can come on over to media darling method dot com and like Maureen said it is my entire process soup to nuts has different worksheets and and templates scripts in there for you to basically just copy and paste and insert your own language. So very easy peasy.

Maureen Werrbach 

Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on and giving us a little bit of fresh information to the audience. I really appreciate you coming on. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. All right, have a good one. Bye. Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast.

Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from.

Need extra support? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit See you next week.

Thanks For Listening

Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.


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Meet your host


Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:


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