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How to Maximize Your HARO Response Pitches
By: Don McLean
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I seem to have pretty good luck with pitching media who put out requests through Help A Reporter Out (HARO). Some people say it’s not worth it and some think it’s one of the greatest resources for the PR pro and journalist relationship. I’m in the second boat. The people that say it’s not worth it may not prioritize these requests the same way as I do, so I thought I’d share what I do to help boost results.

Read every pitch title
I read every HARO email that comes through my inbox. Miss one email or just do a quick scan and miss one opportunity? It’s a loss — you’re leaving media opportunities on the table. It doesn’t take much time and I only read the titles. This probably takes me 10–15 seconds and is worth the time if you pitch media every day.

Have a sense of urgency
After reading all of the titles, if I see a request I like I pitch it right away. Most importantly, if your pitch is one of the first replies in a reporter’s inbox, they will start there — if it's good, of course. Make sure if you’re leading a team and you send a request off to a colleague that they reply with the same sense of urgency. If you get a note back at the end of the day — much too late — and they reply with an “all set” you know you just wasted another opportunity.

Give them exactly what they want
Reporters put out specific requests because they want specific responses. Fully understand what they are looking for and reply to them if you have the answer. If it's close but not quite there, they most likely won’t use it.

Be a connecter
I don’t always have a client for a pitch but one of my colleagues might. One of my new business prospects might. A friend might. You get the idea? Pass good opportunities on to people you know or want to get to know better. At the very least, it shows that you’re thinking about them.

Take a step back
Instead of aimlessly emailing pitches out daily, take a step back and really think about what makes your pitch unique. If it’s just “more of the same,” you’ll blend right in, and who wants to do that?

See the full list of specific rules for being a source and reply to journalists on their website.

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About the Author
Don McLean, MBA is an account supervisor at Airfoil Group, an independent marketing and public relations firm serving tech companies and innovation-centric brands with offices in Detroit, New York and Silicon Valley. Follow Don on twitter at@mclean_don.  
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