If you are not a public relations professional or a high-profile CEO, chances are you don’t have close relationships with the journalists you are trying to reach. While relationships are key to garnering press coverage for you or your business, there are a few tools out there that can help you pitch news, position you as an expert and build those relationships.
Have you heard of HARO alerts? If not, stop what you’re doing and go sign up (https://www.helpareporter.com/) to receive these alerts in your email inbox daily! You may be thinking, what the heck does HARO mean? It simply stands for Help a Reporter Out and it means just that. When you sign up for HARO alerts, you become a source for journalists from media outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, FOX News, Mashable, Reuters and more. Not only do they host journalists from major publications, but all kinds of trade publications and blogs, as well.
Journalists who are looking for a specific quote or expert to contribute to their upcoming story turn to HARO. These alerts are sent to your inbox two times a day (sometimes even three depending on their needs) and are organized by industry (in their emails they call this the index). Categories primarily include Biotech and Healthcare, Business and Finance, Entertainment and Media, General, High Tech, Lifestyle and Fitness, and Travel. Each topic provides directions on what the reporter is looking for, the name of the publication and reporter, the deadline and a HARO generated email address to send your pitch to.
Once you submit your pitch, HARO emails you after the deadline has passed letting you know if your submission will be used or not. While you will not always score placement, it’s great practice for pitching a story and the beauty of it is that you can keep trying!
A few pieces of advice, though. You don’t want to pitch anything and everything. Carefully choose which queries you respond to based on the industry in and the commentary you can provide. Are you an expert on that particular subject? Do you have something useful to provide that others may not know? If so, then go for it!
HARO isn’t the only tool that can help you pitch and build relationships with media. Utilize Twitter. Members of the media love Twitter. Follow them (even the ones you find on HARO). Start an INTELLIGENT and RELEVANT conversation with them. Reply to their tweets if you have something good to contribute. Make yourself known, but do not, DO NOT spam them. That could hurt you more than anything else.
The best part about HARO? It’s a FREE service from Cision. No, I don’t work for HARO or get any kind of kickback. It’s just really helpful to have a tool that makes media more accessible and gives you story ideas that you may not have even thought of! So there is your little golden nugget of information on this hot and steamy (at least in Florida) Friday afternoon. Now go kickoff your weekend feeling even smarter and more prepared for Monday morning!