Help a Reporter Out (known as HARO) helps journalists find sources for their stories. But, you don’t have to be a journalist to benefit from this free, powerful resource. You can use it to identify PR opportunities that boost your digital marketing strategy.
HARO is free, but you need to be strategic with your time to get the most out of it.
- Sign up for a free HARO account at https://www.helpareporter.com/ and make sure you sign up as a SOURCE.
Advice: Use a separate email address for this or use an email address that has good filtering capabilities, Gmail is good for this.
- Figure out what you’re an expert in.
Advice: HARO journalists want expertise and focus, not a general response. Once you know exactly what topics you can address as an expert source, it’s simple to find relevant queries. Simply search the exact phrase in your email client.
- Put together a quick bio and a headshot
Advice: Many reporters ask for a headshot, but you can’t send attachments when you reply to HARO queries. So upload a good headshot to your website or to Imgur so you can send a link in your HARO response.
Save a super short bio (100 words or less) and a longer bio (no more than a paragraph) somewhere you can easily access them. Stick to work-related accomplishments, establish why you’re an expert, and keep it simple.
- Send a HARO response that stands out
Advice: Check HARO digests (by searching in your email client, or if you’re a glutton for punishment, reading the entire email) once or twice a day to make sure you jump on queries quickly. Reporters get hammered with dozens, if not hundreds, of responses. You want to get in early and provide exactly what they need.
Read carefully. You’ll get deleted if you forget something the journalist asked for, or if you provide a response that’s too long or too short. Journalists want you to help them do their jobs. Most prefer not to have to follow up with you again. So make it count. The more often you respond, the more you can put together a library of common responses that you can lightly edit next time.
The more specific and interesting you can be, the better. And don’t expect to hear back if the journalist isn’t interested. In fact, you might not hear back even if the journalist uses your information. So set up a Google Alert for your name and your business to be on the safe side.
- Be polite and reciprocate
If your response is chosen and you’re interviewed or quoted in an article, be sure to share it on your social networks.
Advice: Most journalists will reach out with a link, and many will give you social-ready language that makes it simple to copy and paste right into social media platforms. You can also ask that the journalist tag you in any posts from the publication where you’re featured. They don’t always have control over social promotion, but it’s worth checking.
Good luck and let me know if I can help manage this for you. Interested? Book a strategy session with me here: https://meetme.so/KimMcDaniels