What is HARO?
HARO stands for “Help A Reporter Out”. It’s a service that allows journalists to get in touch with sources, and vice versa. In your case, you’ll sign up as a source. Depending on the frequency you choose, you get a certain number of emails a day/week full of leads for stories. The free plan I’m on sends me 3 emails a day.
Each email will have two parts (aside from the ad): The index and the individual stories. The index looks like this:
And an individual lead for a story looks like this:
Who should use HARO?
If you have any expertise in any area, this is for you! It’s a great way for you & your company to not only get exposure, but also links. If they choose your response to use in their story, you’ll almost always get a link (as long as it’s online & not offline).
How to start using HARO today
First you need to go to http://www.helpareporter.com/sources to signup. Start with their free plan. During the signup process you’ll have to choose the area of expertise you’re in; for me, since I’m an entrepreneur & digital marketer, I signed up for “Business & Finance”.
Once you start getting emails, choose the stories you think you can contribute to in a meaningful way, and respond to the email given (one will be associated with each). Here are some tips when responding:
Remember, only choose ones that are both relevant and ones that you can offer meaningful advice/insight to! If they ask you to hop on the phone, then it won’t be hard to see right through you if you don’t know what you’re talking about.
- Do exactly as they say in the response. Read it twice if you have to. Some will ask for one to two sentences, and if you give more, they’ll ignore you.
- If you don’t meet the requirements, don’t bother, unless you think you have a very unique perspective. For example, there was a story about students getting the most out of computer science degrees, but were only asking for employers. Since I was struggling with this issue myself as a college student, I responded, and they accepted my insight.
- Stand out. You’re probably one of twenty or thirty responses. Why will they choose yours?
- Continue the relationships post-response. I’ve gotten to know a couple prominent journalists because I didn’t want things to end right after the story.