One of the best public relations tools is HARO.
In case you haven’t heard yet, HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. It’s an online service that connects journalists, freelancers, and authors to public relations and marketing experts. Once you sign up for the basic service, you’ll receive three emails per day during the workweek.
(If you pay for the standard, advanced, or premium versions, you can access keyword alerts, create a profile, sign up for text alerts, search online, get early access to inquiries, and receive a HARO support team.)
I’ve received emails with anywhere between 15 to 100-plus inquiries in various industries. Publications range from The Washington Post and The New York Times to small business blogs and anonymous sources. The inquiry details the article title, deadline, reporter’s email, media outlet, query, and requirements for a response.
While most reporters request experience in the industry as a prerequisite, others also ask for your social media handle, a professional picture, or your company’s website.
The bottom line is the service gives your business the most media opportunities without sending hundreds of emails to journalists. As an agency, you can even send the inquiries directly to your clients to boost their search engine optimization (SEO) and industry thought leadership.
So, how do you leverage a service this vast for your own marketing efforts and your clients'?
- Evaluate whether the opportunity makes sense.
For example, a ton of marketing inquiries come through this service, which is amazing for growing companies like ours. However, most people don’t have time to answer every single one. (Getting through our emails in general is a daunting morning task. Hello, coffee.)
Sift through a couple relevant titles to see which inquiries make sense for your business or your clients. Ask yourself the following:
- Does this publication reach the target audience or personas?
- How popular is the publication? Is the coverage worth the time responding?
- Is there SEO value in backlinks? What's the return on investment?
- Does the publication match my brand identity?
- Pay close attention to the criteria.
Help A Reporter Out emails begin with a list of article titles and publications. When you click on a title, it takes you to the details at the bottom of the email.
While you may think you’re qualified for an inquiry, look deeper into the requirements. Some journalists prefer input from a CEO or executive over a manager while others are trying to reach a specific city or demographic.
- Keep it concise.
It’s awesome that you know a lot about tattoos or health insurance or solar energy, but don’t drone on and on about everything relatable you can think of.
Journalists operate on hard deadlines. Most don’t have time to read lengthy responses, full-on press releases, or product pitches. Keep your response complete and concise to gain better luck with a reporter. This could even lead to a genuine professional connection in the future.
Another tip? Be honest, and pull from your experience and education. Don’t send a response that looks templated and generic. If they're asking for tricks and hacks, it's your chance to get creative and divulge industry secrets.
- Don’t throw your response away.
These reporters receive hundreds of emails per day, so don’t get salty if your response wasn’t chosen for their article. Instead, turn it into a blog post or content offer. Make it the next subject of your social media strategy. You can even resend it to a similar inquiry, if one pops up.
Whatever you do, don’t waste your hard work.
HARO builds backlinks and SEO without being annoying or time-consuming. It also works well if your goal is industry thought leadership. This resource is invaluable, and it’s possible to leverage it for your business and clients, so sign up today.