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As a marketing firm, PR is part of your job. You don’t just create great content for your clients; you want others to create great content – in the form of media coverage. However, it’s generally really difficult to get noticed by the right media sources, and for too long the ubiquitous press release has been the most PR you could hope to gain.
For the last several years, a service called HARO (Help a Reporter Out) has been connecting media sources with businesses and helping both sides succeed. When a reporter needs a source or an expert, he or she posts a query on HARO. Three times a day, an email is sent to the registered sources with the query list. You then have an opportunity to reply to the query with why your client would be a great source for the reporter. If they answer, voila! Media coverage.
I don’t need to convince you that big-name media coverage is a big benefit for your clients. However, HARO reporters get a lot of queries, and it can take work to stand out. Here are three ways to maximize your time while pursuing HARO queries for your clients.
- Schedule Time to Respond Quickly. Reporters may get hundreds of responses – if yours is near the top, it is more likely to get noticed. Have the person in your firm that works these queries schedule blocks of time that match when the emails come out, and scan and submit responses right away. In fact, given the possible exposure that your clients stand to get, it might be helpful to have a dedicated person to pitch on HARO and other sites for client PR purposes.
- Keep It Simple. Just like you, reporters are busy professionals. Keep your response short, to the point, and interesting. Don’t overdo your headline. Pick queries that most closely match your clients’ expertise. These steps will save you time in responding, in addition to saving the reporters time and making a response more likely.
- Use a Template. Because your firm will be responding to a variety of queries on behalf of your clients, a template email can be very helpful. The top paragraph should include who you are, how to contact you, and which client you are writing on behalf of. The conclusion can have the same wrap-up and call to action each time. The body should not be a template – you can fill that in based on the reporter’s questions and the expertise of your client.
- Move Quickly When Contacted. When the reporter agrees that a client would be a good expert or source, move quickly to get them in touch. It would be helpful if your clients knew you were using HARO and had a ‘source’ designated for PR purposes. Reporters are on a deadline – you want to make sure that you are able to provide the source in a very timely manner.
- Respect the Relationship. A good contact can lead to many other PR opportunities in the future. Consider the reporters at HARO part of your client base – be kind, thankful, and continue to cultivate the relationship. You never know when they might need another source. 🙂
Getting PR used to be hard. Not anymore. HARO now delivers needy reporters to your inbox three times a day. With a timely response that’s simple and to the point, you can begin a relationship that can serve you – and the reporter – very well for a long time.
Do you use HARO for clients’ PR? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!