Raise your hand if you’d like to get your business mentioned in Fortune, Entrepreneur, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo, and other top-tier websites.
I’m guessing everyone is raising their hand right now.
What if I told you that you could subscribe to a free email list that sends you three emails every single weekday that are filled with requests from reporters who are looking for pitches from sources to use in their stories? Reporters from all of the places mentioned above and a ton of other great sites.
Well, there is such a list, and if you’re not on it, you’re missing out on opportunities for valuable media coverage every single day. It’s called HARO (short for “Help a reporter out”). You can sign up as a source over at Helpareporter.com to get on the email list.
As someone who runs several different blogs, my team and I use HARO every single day. We’ve used it to get coverage at most of those places listed above and a ton more. Not only has this resulted in major PR wins, but it has also helped us get quality links, which are always a great thing in the eyes of Google.
How do we do it? Here are five key tips that will help you get the best possible results from this service.
1. Be fast to respond—I’ve actually used HARO not only as a source but also as a reporter looking for sources. And being on the other side of things has taught me a lot. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is those who respond to reporters’ requests quickest have a competitive advantage.
That’s for multiple reasons – I have a deadline, so I need quality sources sooner than later. So as soon as I find some pitches that fit the bill, I’m done. People who wait a long time to reply might not reach me by the time I’ve written my story. There’s also the fact that it can get overwhelming for the reporter to go through all of the pitches once they really start rolling in.
Make an effort to have some time carved out for when those morning, afternoon, and evening HAROs roll in so you can respond as quickly as possible.
2. Create a template for your responses—While the meat of each individual pitch will vary depending on what the reporter is looking for and should be highly personalized (this is key!), there are some parts of your pitch that can be boilerplate.
You’ll always need to introduce yourself briefly, telling the reporter who you are, what you do, and what your main credentials are (this should be very brief). And you’ll always want to conclude your pitch letting the reporter know how to contact you if they need more info and how you’d like to be cited if they decide to quote you.
Create a template for the intro and outro of your replies so that you can save yourself some time when putting your pitches together.
3. Get to the point—Reporters are busy and on tight deadlines, particularly those sending out HARO queries. They get tons of pitches from sources who want to be a part of their stories, and they usually don’t have much time left to put together their article. Respect their time. Don’t ramble on in your pitch, and don’t go off topic. Get to the point as quickly as possible, and format your email in short paragraphs or even bullet points so it’s easy to read fast.
4. Read every email, every time—Success with HARO really boils down to a numbers game. You have to repeatedly find queries that match your expertise and pitch those reporters. You won’t land every single one nor even the majority of them. And you won’t always find a request you can reply to in every email. But stick with it and reply thoughtfully to enough pitches, and you’ll eventually find success. Scan every single HARO email as soon as you get it. Make this a habit. You never know when your next big break will occur, so you have to stay focused and committed.
5. Be memorable—Remember, there are about 500,000 other people subscribed to HARO who want to be sources. Those are your competitors. You have to make your pitches unique and memorable. Include personal details and anecdotes in your replies when possible, because those will stand out as no one else will be able to say the exact same thing.
Now you’re all ready to get quoted in some of the biggest publications in the world. Follow these tips and you’ll be all set for PR success.
Eric Brantner has spent the last decade of his life obsessed with all things related to internet marketing. As a serial blogpreneur, he has started several successful blogs, reaching millions of visitors in the process. He has just launched his latest site Scribblrs.com where he shares his experience starting blogs and offers tips to new bloggers seeking success.