Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an amazing free tool to add to your public relations efforts. Rather than just sending news out to the media in hopes that reporters will find it newsworthy, savvy PR pros make HARO their hero. Three times a day, reporter queries fly into your inbox.
Your job is to scan the categories and topics for an area you are an expert in or your product is a solution. When there’s a match, BOOM. You jump on it with specific information the reporter can pick up and use in the story they are writing. It’s that simple.
According to the HARO website, it provides journalists with a database of sources for upcoming stories and daily opportunities for sources to secure valuable media coverage. It connects journalists with relevant expert sources to meet journalists’ demanding deadlines and enable brands to tell their stories.
Its straight-forward pitching process allows sources to find topics related to their expertise, industry, or experience, while allowing journalists to spend more time writing and less time sourcing.
By becoming a source or expert for HARO reporters, you may find your information, product, or service featured in CCN Money, Fast Company, All You, Huffington Post, US News, WSJ, TIME, Mashable and more.
Did I mention that the basic subscription to HARO is free?
To get started go to helpareporterout.com and click on “Sign Up.” Fill out your contact information. Read your daily HARO emails and respond to reporters when your information is relevant to the questions.
There are 12 rules to follow, and I highly suggest you read through the entire list at the HARO website. If you continually break the rules, you can get nixed from the service. HARO works on mutual trust and support. Here are four of the rules:
Scan the emails, and if you’re knowledgeable about any of the topics, answer the reporter directly through the anonymous @helpareporter.net email address provided at the beginning of the source request.
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.
You’re not allowed to harvest any reporter information provided in the HARO emails for any reason.
Top 10 Tips to Help HARO Save Your Day
1 Set up your name and company name in Google Alerts. This way you’ll know if you get a mention from one of your pitches. Reporters won’t necessarily get back to you with the link to the article.
2 Open your HARO emails immediately. Scan the categories and topics to see if there is a fit. Only reply to requests you know you have something relevant to contribute. Reporters’ emails are anonymous and go through the HARO dashboard. Some queries will let you know the media outlet; the larger ones may not to eliminate spam.
3 Respond immediately, no later than one hour from receiving the email. Reporters get hundreds of replies and are under deadline. Your early response may even end up directing the flow of the article.