Help A Reporter Out

Have you ever needed a source for an article that you have written but you have no idea where and how to find one?  Many people have this issue, so that is why there is a program called Help a Reporter Out – a.k.a. – HARO.  This program allows peole to find sources for their stories and media quickly.

The HARO website allows you to sign up to be a source.  The sites motto is “Everyone is an expert at something”.  You never know, sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for.

A helpful blog written by Melanie Nelson explains more about HARO and how it works.  Here is a helpful hint that found on her blog:

“If you’re chosen as a source, you have the opportunity to ask the reporter to include information about you and your blog. As you can imagine, it’s a popular site both for reporters and would-be sources because everyone is winning in that formula. The one rule of HARO is that you must not waste people’s time; if you aren’t an expert in a field, you should never respond to a query (not that any of you would, but it’s an integral part of the site and worth mentioning to be clear).”

Nelson also lists some tips for writing a successful response to queries:

  • Keep it short, two paragraphs is sufficient. Introduce yourself, address the necessary information the reporter asked for (e.g., any questions from the query), and why you’d be a good source. This is where it gets tricky–you should be short and to the point, but not so much so that the reporter doesn’t really know why she should work with you. To help make your point, give a short overview of your expertise and links to back it up. Be sure to tell the reporter how you can help them.
  • Answer the questions, if any, in the original query. You’re more apt to be chosen if you’re responding to the reporter’s actual request rather than something close, but not quite the same. She’s under a deadline and is asking for what she needs–don’t give her something else. Speaking of which…
  • Pay attention to the deadline. Most of the HARO queries have a deadline for submitting yourself as a source. Be mindful of those.

This program is extremely helpful to PR Practitioners because it is an easy way to get their story and news out into the public quickly, and with little sources.  So maybe your story will be the next “big thing” to enter into the communication world!

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