Need publicity? Try this!

Happy Friday, readers! This week’s post is going to be short, sweet, to the point, and very helpful if you want to get some PR (and not pay a dime for it). I recently discovered a handy little website that connects journalists and bloggers to potential sources.  It’s called HARO (Help A Reporter Out), and it works on the premise that “everyone is an expert at something.”

Screenshot: helpareporter.com

All you do is sign up on the website by providing your contact information, business name, and select an annual revenue range. Simple! Once you’ve signed up, you’ll start receiving emails with potential stories from journalists– about 3 each day, containing 30 or 40 potential stories (so you’re basically guaranteed to find something that’s up your alley). Some of them may just be a basic subject line, like “How to run a small business,” and others are more direct, like “Looking for small business owners to tell their story.”  When you click on a headline, you’ll get a few extra lines about the story as well as contact information.

The HAROs sent to you will cover a pretty broad span of topics, and are grouped in an index according to subject matter: i.e. Business and Finance, Education, Entertainment, High Tech, etc. Since our readers are most likely going to be in the Electronics, Satellite, Home Security or similar fields, you’ll want to scan for HAROs that cover these topics. For example, today I received one where the reporter was looking for “Future Car Technology.” You may not be an expert on automobiles, but if you sell car audio products you probably have a good idea of where the technology is going– let the reporter know your take on the matter, how it will affect you, and you might just get a bite! Do you sell home security products? Another one I received was on the topic of security companies and the green movement’s effect on them, an obvious fit for this industry. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and put your own spin on the subject when you contact the journalist. Once you find one that you know would be a perfect fit for you and your business, you make your pitch to the reporter.

The pitching part of this service is arguably the most important and you should spend a little time thinking about what makes you a good source for the reporter to interview. Write them an email explaining your experience or expertise in the subject at hand and let them know what you have to offer– what sets you apart? Once they have read your pitch and decided that you can contribute to their story, they will contact you for an interview. I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the media outlets looking for sources. Not only do industry specific blogs use HARO, but also big names like The Associated Press, Forbes, and Huffington Post.

Check out @helpareporter on Twitter

You can also keep an eye on their Twitter stream for “urgent HAROs,” or last-minute stories for which reporters are looking for someone to interview.

Obviously this isn’t your ordinary advertising tactic and it takes a little bit of effort to make it work for you, but just imagine the effect if you were quoted in a major media publication! Customers will be rushing to make a purchase from the guy they saw on CBS or read about on their favorite website.  You don’t have to wait around anymore and hope that luck lands you a chance for publicity like this. Reporters are looking for people like you, all you have to do is let them know you’re there. This isn’t traditional advertising, you won’t be able to promote your products or specials. However, it is  a great way to get your name out there as the local expert, and some would argue that brand recognition is worth its weight in gold– so try it! What do you have to lose?

Give it a try and come back to tell us about your experience in the comments below!!

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2 Comments

  1. Jessica, Thank you so much for mentioning HARO to your readers. We’re happy to hear that you have enjoyed our service thus far and hope to help your readers gain publicity as well. I thought you and your readers may be interested in a blog post I wrote recently with four essential tips on pitching reporters. You can read the post here: http://www.bloggingprweb.com/reporter-pitching-tips-helpareporterout. Again, thank you for the mention and have a great week!

    Reply
    • Jessica

       /  October 8, 2012

      Thanks Laura!

      These are great tips for pitching to reporters, it’s always good to know the “do’s and don’ts” of a new service.

      Reply

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