Pitching a publicity idea to someone whose name you scraped from a media directory can be the road to nowhere.
But delivering on-target information to journalists, bloggers, broadcasters and others who are practically begging for specific types of people to interview, sometimes on deadline, can push you into the fast lane to success.
That’s what I’m finding with HARO, short for Help a Report Out at HelpaReporter.com. It’s a service that delivers media leads, three times a day Monday through Friday, from living, breathing journalists and others who are planning or writing articles.
Too many people try HARO but give up way too soon because it doesn’t deliver instant results. But if you’re persistent and patient, lots of publicity can be yours.
Two weeks ago, I wrote in my publicity tips that I’ve been paying more attention to HARO recently and that taking just a few minutes to answer a query resulted in a nice surprise. A blogger was compiling an “expert roundup” on the topic of “ecommerce hacks for small business owners” for his company that sells invoicing software.
I gave him exactly what he wanted: my three best tips, a photo, a link to my website and a link to my YouTube channel. I was the seventh expert featured in a list of 30 under the headline “30 Ecommerce Hacks from the Experts.”
Publicity within Hours
It happened again yesterday. I saw this query from Jon Kaspszak from the Pagezii Content Marketing Blog, delivered to my Inbox at 4:38 a.m.:
5) Summary: How has your Business Implemented Content Marketing Successfully?
Category: Business and Finance
We’re looking for Digital Marketers to share how they’ve
implemented Content Marketing into their digital marketing
Implementing Content Marketing could include: launching a
successful blog, creating downloadable resources to drive leads,
developing videos to generate awareness, etc.
Share an example of how you’ve implemented Content Marketing for
your company or client’s company to deliver on business goals
Please keep responses between 100 – 200 words in length. Please Provide: Full name, Company site, Twitter @handle / LinkedIn
Profile for attribution and head shot. Response through HARO implies consent for our writers to edit submissions for clarity, conciseness, flow, grammar and punctuation.
Here’s how I responded:
Search for “publicity expert” on Google and either my website or my Pinterest board titled “50 Tips for Free Publicity” will be near the top of Page 1 search results.
The Pinterest board is an excellent example of how to use Pinterest for topics that don’t lend themselves to compelling images. Each “tip” was created using PowerPoint and links to a post at my blog. The board description and the individual pin descriptions are loaded with keywords. This board ranks so well in search that when I hit 50 tips, I kept going. I have no plans to stop.
(Head shot attached)
At 2:56 p.m., less than eight hours after I responded, I received this:
Congrats! Your response to our HARO Query (Content Marketing Examples) was featured on our blog.
Thanks for the great contribution!
Here’s the social post for your contribution, please like and share to propagate it further:
I was one of eight content marketing experts featured.
I noticed the blog didn’t link to the Pinterest board but to my website. I emailed Jon and asked if he’d be willing to remove the link to my website and instead, link to the Pinterest board because readers might have a hard time visualizing what it looks like. He agreed. Here’s what they see when they go to the board:
How to Reply to a HARO Query
Romance author and freelance writer Carrie Aulenbacher, has had phenomenal success with HARO.
It has landed her in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Women’s Health, Yahoo, Monster, Huffington Post, AskMen.com, Business Management Daily and many more. As a result of HARO, she’s a regular columnist for Fridge Magazine.
She replies regularly when she thinks she’s a good fit. Her two most important tips:
- When you see a query that ties to your expertise or situation, answer it immediately. The majority of responses that journalists and bloggers use are those they receive within one hour after the query is sent.
- Be precise. Give journalists exactly what they want. If they specify a response of 100 to 200 words, don’t give them more than 200. She summarizes many more tips in this seven-minute video.
You Might Even be Paid
Silvana Clark, an author and speaker, wrote to share this humorous story about how HARO led her actually being paid:
I’ve been using HARO since Peter (Shankman) started it. One of my funniest experiences with them was when I responded to an insurance company request looking for couples to talk about their finances.
The writer set up a time for a phone interview, then also arranged for a photographer to come take our picture. She also asked our clothes size. A few days later I get two cute Anne Taylor tops and my husband gets two shirts from Banana Republic in the mail. The photographer comes to our house to take our picture and then my husband and I each get a check for $75 for our “modeling fee.”
Have I Convinced You?
Many people quit HARO after only a few weeks because they don’t want to spend time sifting through all those queries, 99 percent of which don’t fit them.
I recommend hiring an assistant to help, or a stay-at-home mom or dad who would like a small job on the side and can tip you off to leads that would be a good fit. Make sure they’re available early in the morning to read the leads HARO sends before sunrise, in the afternoon and again around 5 p.m. and forward them to you.
Have you used HARO? Has it resulted in publicity for you? We’d love to hear your story in the Comments.
Update on July 22, 2019: Fit Small Business recently published the ultimate guide on how to use HARO.