If you have any involvement whatsoever in PR/media relations, you should know what HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is by now. It’s a free service you can subscribe to that will send out 3 daily emails to you with fresh queries from reporters who need subject matter experts for stories they’re working on. It’s a great way to find regular opportunities to get your name in the news.
But HARO has thousands of subscribers, many that are competing against you to get that same coverage you desire. So it’s important that you know how to respond to HARO queries properly to give yourself the best chance of grabbing the attention of the journalist.
- Respond quickly—Journalists are often working on very tight deadlines. They need help, and they need that help now. As soon as you receive a new HARO email in your inbox, scan it quickly for relevant queries. Respond to any relevant queries within the first few minutes to give yourself the best chance of standing out.
- Keep it short—Your initial response needs to be short and to the point. The reporter will be sifting through possibly hundreds of responses, so he or she doesn’t have time to read a bunch of nonsense. Just provide a few short sentences about why you’re qualified to help the reporter.
- Post relevant credentials—Tooting your own horn is okay, when it’s relevant to the reporter’s interests. For example, let’s say the reporter posts a query looking to interview someone who knows something about bicycles, and you happen to be an award-winning bike manufacturer. You could mention those awards in your response.
- Make sure you address all points in the query—Remember in school when the teacher would tell you to read the instructions carefully before answering the questions on the test? The same applies to HARO queries. Make sure you address all points in the reporter’s query before sending that response.
- Include your contact info—Close your email by letting the reporter know how and when they can contact you.
Do you use HARO? Have you had any success with it?