August 23, 2018

5 Tips for HARO Success

Media relations can feel like speed dating. You have less than a minute to convince a writer to spend time with you and hear about your story idea. You can increase your chances for success with the free service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO).

HARO is a simple matchmaking platform. Journalists submit requests for sources and information about stories they’re working on. HARO sends out these “queries” via email three times a day to public relations professionals, brands and subject matter experts. We scan the email and reply to queries if the opportunity fits.

It’s an effective system. Writers quickly have information and sources for their story, and PR pros are able to reach a broader audience.

Quick, easy, effective. That’s why HARO is a popular tool in the PR industry. You can stand out and increase your chances of catching a writer’s attention with these HARO success tips:

Reply within the hour. Each query has a response deadline a couple days away, but journalists often decide right away who they’ll use in their story. Then be patient. Sometimes stories don’t publish until the next quarter, like this one we earned in Mountain Meetings magazine.

Make sure it’s a good fit. Only reply if your information truly matches the query. Like any story pitch, if you’re off the mark the writer will consider it a waste of time. Pass and wait for the next opportunity. There will be more.

Keep it brief. Cision says journalists prefer query responses of 175 words or less. They’ll contact you if they want more information. We exchanged a few emails with the writer developing a Beer Connoisseur story about unique ale trails.

Be thorough. You’ll be a step ahead if you provide the requested quote and attribution, rather than saying, “I have an expert who can comment on this.” Similarly, be proactive and include a Dropbox or Google link to photos to help your pitch stand out. (You have to use links; HARO deletes attachments to protect journalists from viruses.)

Build a content library. Write a few HARO pitches and keep them on file. Then you can quickly customize them when the right HARO query comes along. If a pitch doesn’t get used, repurpose it later as a blog or a story pitch to another publication.

HARO pitches often land in “roundup stories” on a topic, like this one we successfully pitched, “7 Most Underrated Family Vacations in the U.S.

Consider HARO as a way to expand your story pitching efforts. It’s a fast, low-risk way to meet the perfect match.

How have you found success with HARO or other media relations tools? Tweet us @JayRayAdsPR