One of the easiest and most underutilized ways to get publicity is by using Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a tool that connects news sources (that’s you!) with journalists. HARO is a resource that you can use to immediately get PR for your business on influential media sites ranging from Huffington Post to CNN.

Through a straight-forward, free subscription service, HARO sends you queries from reporters and bloggers, who are looking for sources to share their expertise, top tips and case studies.

SETTING UP YOUR HARO ACCOUNT

Sign up to get daily PR leads. When you sign up for your free subscription, you immediately start getting “Master” emails from HARO. That means you’ll be getting three emails a day with PR leads broken down by categories like business, lifestyle, technology and healthcare.

FINDING OPPORTUNITIES

Scan your HARO emails daily. The number one success factor in HARO is catching and responding to a lead quickly, which is why it’s important to make a quick scan of your HARO emails as they hit your inbox. When they come through, scan the index to see if any opportunities look promising.

Here’s a snapshot of the Business and Finance opportunity list in a recent HARO email. When you see the source is anonymous or otherwise kept hidden, it’s nearly always a major media site.

Commit to replying to only the best leads. When you start getting your HARO digests, you might feel tempted to reply to the first ones that look like a match. Before you know it, you’ll find another opportunity…and then another…and another…

Research the media outlet. Do a gut-check to make sure the media outlet is one you want to be associated with. If you’re a vegan, and the HARO query is for a Paleo-oriented website, it may be best to move on.

Other things to consider: Is it a mainstream publication? Do your potential customers read or watch it? Does it look credible? Would you geek out if you were able to see yourself in it?

RESPONDING TO A HARO QUERY

Write a concise email response that precisely follows the requirements of the query. Once you’ve identified an opportunity that’s a slam dunk, take 30 minutes or less to write your pitch. Usually the reporter or blogger will have provided explicit instructions for you to follow. For example, I love this Huffington Post query, which not only tells you what to submit, but what not to do.

USE THIS TEMPLATE TO WRITE A PITCH-PERFECT REPLY TO A HARO QUERY . . . TWEET IT!

Subject Line: {Credential/Title} for {Query Topic}

Hi {First Name},

I’m a {title with link to website} with {experience in subject matter or product line}.

The requirements section of the inquiry is really important here. Highlight how you are specifically qualified for this story. For example, if a reporter specifically asks for a business in New York, give them your neighborhood or address. If they want a life coach, include “certified life coach” in your pitch.

In reference to your query on {subject}, I can {answer query requirements}.

Again, it’s important to follow the query’s requirements exactly. If the blogger says, “I’m looking for easy, actionable tips for women to negotiate the salary they want when being hired.” Provide one to three tips with one to three sentences describing each.

Many times, the blogger or reporter will run exactly what you send in your email reply, so don’t hold your best stuff back!

Would you be interested in talking to me further about {subject}? Please email me or call me at {contact info}.

Always end your email with a call-to action, which could be a question, an offer to provide more information and your contact details.

Sincerely,

{Name}

{Title and Business with Link to Website}

Say a little prayer and move on. This may be the one and only time I tell you not to follow up. With HARO, the reporters get so many responses, that it’s just cruel to follow-up. Either you’ll hear back from the reporter, be quoted in the story or you won’t.

MONITORING THE NEWS FOR YOUR PLACEMENT

Set up a Google alert for your name. Hopefully, you’ll hear back within a few days from a reporter that they would like to talk to you or that your tips will be included in their story. Unfortunately, you won’t always get a heads up!

Celebrate your placements! Finally, when you do get a media placement through HARO, don’t forget to celebrate! Send the reporter a thank you note, share the post through your blog, email newsletter and social media. Put the masthead up on your website. Throw yourself a little party! You earned it.

Sources: https://www.brigittelyons.com/haro/ / https://www.helpareporter.com/