I am going to share a secret with you about how anyone can get media coverage. It is called HARO. HARO stands for Help a Report Out (www.helpareporter.com). It is a service that matches journalists with sources.
The way it works is anyone who wants media coverage signs up for a daily email. Journalists who need sources post a query that specifies what they are looking for. You can search for queries by category.
If you are a match, you submit a response to the query and the journalist contacts you if they are interested.
I read HARO emails every day and send queries to people I know to help them get media coverage. Not only is it a way to help people out, but it also gives me a reason to reach out to people I might not otherwise interact with.
Below are examples of two HARO queries.
But here’s the thing. Many people drop the ball when it comes to responding to a HARO query.
Below are four tips you need to know when it comes to responding to a HARO query to increase your chances of your pitch being chosen.
Tip 1: Know the deadline.
Most queries are time sensitive and journalists will not accept responses after the deadline. Some deadlines are pretty quick so be prepared to respond quickly!
Tip 2: Follow instructions exactly. Your submission will likely be dismissed if you do not follow instructions exactly. Sometime journalists have very special requests or formats that they prefer. For the best chance of being chosen, give the journalists exactly what they are looking for.
Tip 3: Research the media outlet.
Do not reply to a query without researching the media outlet first. Look at what the journalist covers and has written in the past. Get a feel for their style. The more you know about a journalist, the better you will be able to provide valuable content.
Tip 4: Collect media contacts.
You may not be a fit for a specific query, but use HARO to create a database of contacts that cover your industry. You can pitch follow up stories or related stories in the future.