How to make HARO work for you!
Thanks to a presentation by website pro Kelly Phillips (BOOST Interactive Media) at a Vend Raleigh event last year, I learned of the existence of HARO (Help a Reporter Out). HARO is a potentially powerful PR tool for entrepreneurs of all kinds and, when used right, can wind up giving you, your business & brand free and far-reaching publicity.
When you sign up with HARO, you’ll receive 3 daily email alerts each weekday filled with requests by journalists for information & expertise on a wide range of topics (all the way from biotech & healthcare through entertainment & media). No matter what your product or service, you’re bound to find a place to pitch your story & message. Since discovering HARO, I’ve made pitches that have found their way into stories on several popular websites & digital magazines (including Skinnymom, LiveStrong, Daily Worth & SheKnows).
Tips to improve your chances on turning HARO pitches into publicity:
- Read the HARO request carefully. If they’re requesting pitches from an MD or a published author and you’re not either of these things, don’t respond. Focus on the queries with which your expertise fits the bill AND when you have something valuable to say.
- Craft your subject line thoughtfully. Don’t just copy and paste the subject line of their HARO query for your pitch. Get creative to capture their attention and stand out in the crowd. Keep in mind, most HARO requests receive A LOT of pitches. If you grab their attention from the get go, you have a better shot at holding it once they receive the heart of your pitch.
- In most cases, keep it short, sweet and simple. Most journalists are working from very tight deadlines. Try to make your response 1 or 2 short paragraphs. Stay on point and provide your contact information (phone and email).
- Have a good headshot ready! If you don’t have a headshot, GET ONE. If your pitch is successful, the journalist will likely ask you for a picture. Make sure you have something on hand that powerfully conveys your brand & message. I learned the hard way on this one- having to rely on a selfie in a pinch.
- Don’t be afraid to follow-up to check on status of the story- but do it in a polite & friendly way. And always, always THANK the journalists you communicate with (regardless of whether your pitch becomes a part of their story). It’s just good business sense.