Making the most of HARO: Tips for PR pros and reporters

The mutually beneficial exchange of expertise and coverage through the online platform can be enhanced with a few simple tweaks to the approaches the two sides take.

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More than a few reporters have come to rely on Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to quickly put together stories ranging from new back-to-school products to how to manage a 401(k).

No doubt, it’s a great tool for both journalists and PR professionals.

Though each reporter may have a unique approach, a common one is to post a query that lists a series of questions for general or blind email response. The expectation is that an army of PR people will flood the reporter with email responses. The reporter then sifts them for the best quotes.

As a PR person, I get a regular stream of HARO emails, and although I carefully scan each one for client opportunities, I often opt to pursue them (or not) based on whether I would be wasting my clients’ time. The understanding is that there is no understanding, no assurance that my clients’ carefully crafted words won’t end up on the digital cutting room floor.

If some clients have responded before and have come up short, it can be difficult to get the same client’s attention when another reporter has genuine interest.

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