PR for small business

Practical PR: Everything You Need to Know About HARO

HARO .jpgLet’s face it. When you are on the case looking for PR opportunities it’s like drinking from a fire hose. There’s a gajillion targets and it’s hard to know who is actually looking for stories or sources.

That’s why I’m such a fan of the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) service. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a free service that connects sources (that’s you!) with reporters that are working on stories. It lands in your inbox three times per day, Monday to Friday with a list of opportunities that need sources.

Here’s the cool thing about HARO, when done right, it can land you in publications that you may not otherwise be pitching. Take for instance, my buddy Rebecca Tracey. A HARO pitch landed her in this piece on

Many of my clients have secured mainstream coverage to being included in books to being quoted in their ideal niche publication. HARO includes publications and websites from business to lifestyle to travel. There are endless possibilities if you are willing to work HARO.

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Making HARO Work – The Golden Window

Are you thinking, but Maggie, I’ve never had HARO work for me? It’s generally held that one of the keys to success on HARO is responding as soon as humanly possible. I’ve heard more than once from reporters that within 20-30 minutes of opportunities going out by email that they are flooded with sources.

You are busy. I get it. But if you can, read the emails when they arrive in your inbox and see if there’s anything that’s a fit. Give it a quick scan and then respond if there’s anything that works for you. Do not overthink it. Opportunities that are a fit will jump out at you and make you think “yes, please” I want to be quoted there.

If you have a VA, assign this task to them to help you ensure that nothing gets missed. (Or if you are my client, you have my eyeballs on the case picking them out for you!)

Creating the Best HARO Response Ever

If you are a reporter who is literally drowning in responses, you are going to look for people who take the time to craft a smart and insightful response. And you my friend, if you are taking the time to respond want to make the cut.

Here’s some tips on how to create the best HARO responses EVER:

  • Follow exactly what they are asking for in their request. If they want two sentences provide only two sentences. If they say no agencies and you are an agency, don’t respond.
  • Provide your contact information including your phone number so they can follow-up if need be.
  • Sell yourself. Why are you uniquely qualified to act as a source on this topic? Two sentences should be enough.
  • Include a link to your website and another other relevant background.
  • Use a catchy headline in your response’s subject line to get noticed.

As you get started with HARO, keep in mind that not every response will not yield a reply, but stay on the case. Pitching opportunities that are already in play definitely beats trying to to convince a reporter at a big website that they must write a story on X and include you.

Next week  – more on practical PR coming up!

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Has HARO worked for you? Are you going to get started? Share your HARO stories and thoughts below.