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The HARO Limelight Series (HLS)- Billy Van Jura, Source

Welcome to the HARO Limelight Series (HLS), where we will highlight either a reporter or source who has had success(es) with our service each week.

Our purpose with this series is to educate readers on how to more effectively pitch reporters and garner media hits.

We hope you find this series useful. Please leave any comments or questions below!

In this HLS, we interviewed Billy Van Jura, the founder of Birchyard LLC, which is a privately held Insurance Consulting firm and brokerage.

1. Please give the BloggingPRWeb readers a little background information about yourself/your business.

I have been in the insurance business for 10 years and am currently trying to keep up with the growth of my firm.  The firm, Birchyard LLC,  is a proud member of 1% For the Planet.   When I have some spare time I run around Poughkeepsie, goof around with my wife and kids and try and keep my 1 year old Avocado tree alive.

2. How did you first hear about HARO and why did you decide to sign up?

I read a small blurb in NY Enterprise Report about 2.5 years ago and decided to look HARO up. I thought the service sounded neat, so I signed up.  At first, I just enjoyed the advertising at the beginning of the daily listings and following Peter Shankman, but then one day I made my first pitch.

3. How has HARO changed the way you market yourself/your business?

I am 100% better at writing and explaining situations.  This has also politely forced me to consistently participate on Twitter and keep a steady flow of content on my blog (  Not to mention, some of the query requests have allowed me to become better at explaining various insurance concepts.  Also, it doesn’t hurt that when new clients are researching me on Google they come across pages of great information.

4. How many times have you secured media placements through HARO?

Last count was 12. Although, it may be closer to 15, including a cool piece in an e-book and two profiles.

5. If you have garnered more than one hit, which was your favorite and why?

All of the placements I secured were great. However, being listed as a source with a thank you in a book was pretty cool.

6. From your experience with getting media placements, what are some tips/pointers you can give to people looking to pitch themselves or their businesses to the media?

I received positive feedback and/or placements when I made sure to only answer the question asked. I also made sure I used bullet points and gave concise answers, while offering more help if needed. More thorough answers also seemed to be appreciated when the description the reporter provided might have been a little off when it came to industry specific questions.

7.  What are some no-nos when pitching the media?  

It is about THEIR article, not YOUR business and I keep that in mind every time I respond.  No sense in filling their inbox with your advertorial– it is way better to appear in their article than their inbox.

If you’d like to be featured in the HARO Limelight series as a member of the media or a source, email: laura(at)helpareporter(dot)com.

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