How to Use the HARO Report to Get Free Publicity

Tips to Making the Most of HARO to Promote Your Home Business

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Publicity is one of the best ways to market your business. For one, it’s often free (and who doesn’t like free marketing), and two, being interviewed or mentioned in an article gives you greater credibility than an ad.

In the past, getting free publicity required sending out press releases to media outlets. Unfortunately, many, if not most, press releases go ignored or are rejected. For any number of reasons such as lack of interest, or poor timing, media resources choose not to follow-up on a press release.

As a result, sending press releases as a marketing strategy was often a waste of time.

Fortunately, there is a better option for reaching the media through Help a Reporter Out, otherwise known as HARO. For media outlets, HARO sends out their request for experts to interview. For home business owners (and others in need of publicity), HARO is a resource to connect with media sources that need your expertise. In the same way, it’s easier to find a job submitting your application to a business that is advertising a job opening (as opposed to sending your resume to any business), the HARO report allows you to contact media that has asked for a pitch. Because the media has said it needs your expertise, it’s more likely to use you as a resource than if you blindly sent out press releases.

How HARO Works

Every weekday, HARO sends out three emails filled with media requests for people to interview.

The outlets that use HARO to find experts include print media such as magazines and newspapers, online sources large and small, radio shows, podcasts and more. Even reality TV shows use the HARO report to find people. The report outlines the overall topic or question the media source needs help with, along with instructions on how to reply.

While the HARO report makes it fast and easy to find and connect with media, simply sending an email saying you’re a resource isn’t enough to be chosen. Instead, you need to send out a well-crafted pitch that lets the media outlet know why you’re a great resource and how you can help it.

How to Submit a Pitch Through the HARO Report:

  1. Sign up as a source to receive the HARO report.
  2. Scan each email (3 a day) for media needs you can respond to. Each email has a categorized list of what’s in the email, and then below that, the specific information for each media source request.
  3. When you find a media request that you can respond to, read it carefully. Many have specific requirements that you need to meet. For example, it might say “New York residents only.” While you may not have to fit every need exactly, some requirements may not be negotiable.
  4. Use HARO and the request title in your subject line. For example, “HARO: Tips on Home Office Organization.” Many outlets have several listings in the report, so you want to make it easy for it to know exactly what your pitch is about.
  5. To respond, use the first line of your email to let the media outlet know what you’re responding to. For example, “I’m responding to your HARO request for tips on how to keep your home office organized.”
  1. In the next paragraph, provide information that shows why you’re a good resource for the topic. If you’ve written a book, done a training, or are seen as an expert in some way, share that. If you have experience with the topic share that as well. For example, “My name is Sally Sue, and I’m the author of ‘Organization for the Disorganized,’” or “My name is Sally Sue and I’m a home business owner who couldn’t function without a system of organization in my home office.”
  2. Follow up your “why I’m a good source” paragraph with information that shows you know the topic. For example, “My single most important organization tool is colored file folders. Without them, I’d be lost in paper and my bills would be late.”
  3. If the request is covering something specific (like tips) or asking for specific information, provide that next. For example, if the request says it’s doing an article on tips for home office organization, provide a couple of tips. If it asks specifically for 3 tips, list your tips.
  1. Provide a link to your media kit or your “About Me” page. Also, include your telephone number as many media sources do phone interviews. For example, “I’d be happy to discuss home office organization tips with you in more detail. You can review my media kit or call me at 555-555-1234.”
  2. Thank the media for its time and end with your signature line.

How to Make the Best Use of HARO

While the HARO report makes it easier to connect with media that is looking for information you have, competition is tight. Every media that sends out a request for an expert gets tons of responses. As a result, your pitch needs to stand out. Here are 11 tips to get your pitch noticed:

  1. Respond to any request you are a good fit for. Don't limit yourself to large outlets. In many cases, you won't know what outlet you're responding to anyway. But don't avoid outlets that are blog or podcasts thinking they're too small. Anytime you can your name in front of your target market, it's a good thing. Plus, if these outlets link to your site, large or small, it will help your SEO.
  2. Respond quickly. Most pitches have deadlines that are often a few days away, but again, you’re up against a lot of competition. So respond to a request as soon as you can to get your pitch in before everyone else.
  3. Have a HARO pitch template to make responding faster. Using your template, all you have to do is fill in the specifics of request, and tweak your info to best fit the request.
  4. Send a professional pitch. Check for typos and errors. Be polite and respectful.
  5. Provide all the information the request asked for. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t follow instructions. You can stand out by meeting all the requirements and sending what the request asked for.
  6. Be succinct. In a pitch, usually less is more. Don’t ramble on. The goal is to show in as few words as possible that you’re the right expert with the right information.
  7. Don’t add an attachment unless the request asked for on.
  8. Don’t pitch another idea. Media outlets only want what they asked for. You’ll annoy them if you send something else.
  9. If you get a reply, continue to provide the information the source needs in a polite and professional manner.
  10. If chosen, save the media contact’s name and information in your database of PR contacts. You can pitch them something else at a later date outside of HARO. For example, “Thank you for using me as an expert in your article on home office organization. I’m writing to see if you might be interested in doing a piece on organizational tips for mobile workers.”
  11. Keep track of media outlets you’ve been interviewed for or mentioned in. This is good information for your media kit or an “As Featured In” area of your website.