PR Toolbox: How To Get the Most Out Of HARO

As PR pros in the digital age, we are lucky to have a multitude of tools we can utilize on daily basis to help identify media opportunities for our clients. As you probably know, Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an amazing free resource that lists queries from journalists, bloggers, editors, and producers looking for expert input, product suggestions, and trends across a variety of verticals.

I’ve used HARO to secure some fantastic placements for clients, including TODAY Show online, NewBeauty, TeenVogue.com, and Closer Weekly.

Along the way I’ve learned some important tricks along the way to increase the chances of turning a query into a secured media opportunity.

I’ve used HARO to secure some fantastic placements for clients, including TODAY Show online, NewBeauty, TeenVogue.com, and Closer Weekly.

Here are 4 ways to take advantage of HARO for public relations opportunities:

1. Check HARO Digest Emails Frequently and Pitch Early

HARO postings have deadlines – sometimes within hours of when the HARO email hits your inbox. Make it a priority to open HARO when it lands. As soon as you see a relevant query, gather the requested info, send it off to the journalist! Editors sometimes only take the first few responses that fit their story and don’t pursue the rest, not matter how relevant or well-worded the pitch.

2. Use HARO to for Pitch Inspiration

While the primary purpose of HARO is to connect journalists with sources, as a PR professional l find a ton of value in scrolling through the day’s HARO requests to get an idea of current trending topics among key media outlets. As each HARO edition is segmented by category (general, business, lifestyle, travel, etc) I quickly scan each email and then read the full query for anything of interest.

Even if not all opportunities are a fit for my client (and most are not!), it’s still helpful to see what is piquing editors’ attention and use that information for proactive pitching of my own.

3. Respond to HARO requests in plain text, no images

Images aren’t visible when sending through the HARO email system, so there is no need to embed images into your pitch. So counteract this limitation, be a bit more descriptive (without being overly wordy) than you might be otherwise, to help paint a visual picture for the editor. You should also include links to products, expert bios etc, to make it easy for editors to click and review. Keep in mind that everything is plain text use full links rather than hyperlinking a word in your pitch. Another style guide tip: anything that is in bold or italics won’t translate either, s0 spacing between paragraphs is your friend.

4. Don’t Pitch HARO Requests Off Topic

While it may be tempting to pitch your hair stylist client when you see someone wanting to speak with people who have had keratin treatments, tread carefully. HARO requests are often are looking for “real people” to give quotes on their true experiences. Read the query very carefully and make sure that you are truly delivering what they are asking for.

 

Don’t fudge or stretch your client to make them fit a query; it rarely works and often times frustrates the editor and makes them less likely to open your next response.

HARO can be an absolutely wonderful way to easily see what some top journalists are working on and pitch relevant clients accordingly. While HARO emails can be overwhelming and a bit like looking for the diamond in the rough, there are great PR opportunities to be had. Cater to editor needs quickly and you’ll greatly increase your chances for client placement. Plus, you might just end up developing a new relationship with an influential editor or freelance writer that pays huge dividends in the future.

About This Author

Lindsey is the principal at Lindsey Smolan Public Relations, a NYC-based boutique public relations agency that specializes in generating buzz and press for emerging and established beauty, fashion, accessories, and lifestyle brands. LSPR has a genuine passion for helping clients grow and succeed, and their long reaching connections, from fashion and beauty editors at national magazines to influential celebrity stylists and the increasingly growing blogger and vlogger communities, help them do just that. LSPR strategizes with clients to determine their key brand messaging and how to effectively convey what exactly makes them unique to these key contacts.