As a freelancer who writes for a variety of different sources, I turn to Help a Reporter Out a lot.
I’m no veteran reporter at a city paper, slinking around a beat I’ve been casing for years. I write about almost everything, but I’m not an expert on every single subject under the sun.
I head to HARO to get commentary from people who know more about my project’s topic than I do— with the understanding, that there’s something in it for them, too. The professionals who reach out, along with the PR people they hire, are looking at my upcoming article as a way to get their names out there.
I know that’s how it works, and I’m totally fine with it. I’m happy to help you promote your product or business; you’re scratching my back, so why shouldn’t I scratch yours?
However, there are some things I wish more HARO responders considered before they pressed the “send” key. Here are four of them:
1. Your pitch should be relevant.
I have gotten out-of-left-field HARO responses. For example, I once asked for advice from personal finance experts on differentiating good debt from bad debt—and got a response from a guy trying to market his book about how men think differently than women.