10 tips for success using Help a Reporter Out

You’ve likely heard of HARO if you’re a PR pro, but do you know how to get the most out of the service? Follow these tips.

If you work in public relations or a related field, HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free service that can yield a substantial return for a minimal time investment—if you play by the rules, that is. One slip-up could get not just you but your entire company booted from HARO.

Keep these 10 tips in mind in order to get the most out of HARO.

1. Network, network, network!

When a HARO reporter quotes you, don’t be afraid to politely ask, “Can I connect with you on Twitter, LinkedIn, or another social networking site?” If the reporter agrees, keep in touch and use that connection responsibly—never send unsolicited pitches! Do make an open-ended offer to help with future stories.

2. Be unique and personal

A personal touch and unique hook are especially important when you need to stand out among hundreds of potential sources. Because of one unique personal detail included in a response to a HARO query, I was featured prominently in a magazine and had a well-known photographer sent to do a photo shoot with me.

3. Never, ever pitch off-topic

Don’t pitch off-topic. Don’t pitch kinda-sorta-on-topic, either. If you aren’t sure whether or not your pitch is relevant, forward the query to a knowledgeable friend for a second opinion.

4. Use as directed

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