Ever heard of popular PR and journalism tool “Help A Reporter Out”? If you’re not acquainted but you have a brand or expertise to market, this quickstart guide will give you the basics.
At its core, Help A Reporter Out, or HARO, is a platform to help connect journalists with sources. Users can register as either sources or media outlets – or both. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be talking about using it as a source.
As a source, you’ll be able to sign up to HARO’s emails, which are sent out multiple times per day and include upwards of 100 stories that media outlets, from international news sites down to niche blogs, are working on.
The descriptions will call for specific experts or those with certain experiences to weigh in and share their advice, stories, and/or experiences. Clicking the reply link within HARO’s email will open up a new message window that, upon completion, will be sent off to the media outlet.
Responding to a call for sources is basically a pitch in which you can sell your brand’s story to someone who will publish a story about it. For example, you might find someone looking for B2B marketing experts for an interview. If you know about B2B products and write a great pitch to an outlet, they may publish your advice in their final piece. If this happens on a larger outlet, you can score some major exposure and credibility by being featured.
The great thing is that calls to action come in a number of categories, so even if you’re outside of the business and tech circles, there will be relevant lifestyle, fitness, travel, etc. prompts that you can respond to. You might not find anything in every email blast, but it’s easy to respond to a few relevant prompts per week.
A couple of tips:
1. Always be sure to deliver value in your pitch, and explain why the outlet’s readers are going to learn something from you. Never mention wanting your own exposure, instead focus on giving the journalist or outlet the best story and more useful information possible.
2. If a publication is listed as anonymous, try and feel out some details about the project in your first email to them to assess the value of being featured. That said, don’t be afraid of being featured in smaller projects, because these outlets are probably going to hustle to promote and squeeze every readership they can out of anything they publish.
The results of having your brand featured in a larger piece can be a huge boon for a small boon, and also help build credibility in your niche, as your input on a topic has now been published. Consistency is key with HARO; respond to every prompt that seems like a good fit, and eventually you’ll match up with someone who needs exactly what you have to offer.
Now get to pitching, good luck!