Want to get some easy press coverage for your business?
Something that you won’t find even in the best marketing books?
The Help a Reporter Out (HARO) service is a great way to do that and should be at the heart of any public relations campaign.
HARO is a simple, and free, way to connect with thousands of journalists from major media outlets around the world – it’s a lot like Response Source in the UK (although that is paid-for).
When you sign up to Help A Reporter Out you’ll receive daily emails with journalists looking for quotes, expert opinion, case studies, feature story examples and spokespeople for their stories.
It’s perfect for businesses like yours who want to be heard – it’s an essential public relations tool.
Crucially, by helping to give a journalist the information they need when THEY need it you have a much better chance of getting media coverage for your business. This is free PR.
Want to give it a try?
This is how to do HARO the right way so you get great press coverage
Firstly head over to the HARO website (it’s run by a company called Cision – don’t worry you are in the right place) and register an account as a media source. Cision also owns PR Newswire, one of the best press release distribution companies.
Choose the “BASIC Free!” package – there will be more than enough media opportunities there to start with.
Once you have an account you’ll be able to select the types of media requests that are relevant to your business.
Choose wisely as you will get as many as 50 requests from journalists under each category.
Make sure you only select categories that are directly relevant to your business and its speciality.
Going forward you’ll receive three emails a day at 5.35am, 12:35pm and 5:35pm EST Monday through Friday.
Look out for source requests relevant to you and your industry, expertise or personal experience.
Your emails will look something like this:
It can be a little overwhelming to face so many media opportunities so only chose the ones that are fully relevant to your business.
PRO TIP: Use the Apple F/Ctrl F feature on your keyboard to find keywords that are relevant to you – so, for example, I would look for ‘PR’.
This a great way to cut out the time-consuming scanning and get straight to the request that is relevant to you. There are tons of effective marketing ideas for small business, so don’t spend more time than necessary.
Now you’ve found a great media opportunity for your business what’s the best way to respond?
The Best Way To Respond to a HARO request
In each media request, the journalist will spell out exactly what they want.
It will look something like this:
Don’t deviate from these instructions as you’ll be wasting the journalist’s time and they will just delete your email.
Here’s what a successful response to Help A Reporter Out would look like to this request:
If you know how to write a media pitch much of this will be familiar to you.
Your email subject line is critical.
It must contain something newsworthy, something that makes you stand out. Knowing how to write a press release will help you out with this.
In this instance, the thought of making money online selling vegetables is so paradoxical that the journalist is bound to click on this email and read it.
Then the secret is to get straight to the point and give the journalist EXACTLY what they have requested.
In this case, the reporter wants a punchy quote, less than 100 words and something that they can simply copy and paste.
Remember journalists are getting at least 200 email pitches a day so you MUST make it easy for them to choose you.
HARO’s own rules are very clear on what works in terms of a pitch.
- Do not spam reporters with off-topic pitches in response to their queries.
- Do not pitch products in your source request reply unless the source request specifically asks for a product.
- Reply with complete, relevant answers to their questions, include a short bio and your contact information.
- Do not reply with incomplete information or solely, “Would like to talk to you about this.”
- Do not include attachments in your reply to a reporter source request. Attachments are automatically stripped from the email in order to protect reporters from viruses.
Crucially don’t ignore “Anonymous” queries – ones where the media outlet has not been named.
These are often larger outlets that choose to anonymize their listing to alleviate spam or deter story poaching.
If you ignore these you could miss out on the opportunity for media coverage with some of the biggest media outlets in the world.
The likes of the New York Times, Mashable, Time and Reuters all use Help A Reporter Our to source information on stories.
Help a Reporter Out (and skyrocket your business)
And there you have it.
This is how to do HARO to get quick and easy high-impact media coverage for your business. Put it at the centre of your PR plan.
Sign up today and make it a daily habit, just five minutes, to see if there are press opportunities for your business.
And don’t worry if you’re not a Fortune 500 company, that doesn’t matter.
Reporters are looking for insightful, interesting and fresh content for their readers. And if you’ve had media training you can really make the most of interview opportunities.
Respond quickly, give the reporter exactly what they need and never miss an opportunity. The press coverage will soon follow – just like it did in these public relations examples. And make sure you use one of the best media monitoring services to track your success.
And the reason this all works so well?
Because you are truly aiming to help a reporter out – they need you just as much as you need them! You won’t just be relying on awareness days and your own content.
And if you’re ready to take your PR work to the next level grab our PR Starter Kit.
Our must-have kit has every template, script, strategy and guide you’ll ever need to do all your public relations jobs.