HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and ProfNet are great sources for PR professionals to get daily inquiries from reporters looking for content, interviews, experts and insight to help them complete a story. The sources typically send requests on a tight deadline, and the requests need to be treated with urgency. If the story being discussed isn’t a fit for your client now, no worries, this contact becomes someone you can add to your media list.
Here at Crenshaw, we check HARO and ProfNet hourly and try to be the first ones to reach out to reporters to get the best results. Keep in mind that you’re not the only responder, so you’ll have to make your pitch stand out by getting to the point quickly with a pithy response.
Dos and Don’ts of HARO and ProfNet responses:
DO read the post carefully – Does the reporter want a response to a question at this point are they seeking leads on appropriate sources to interview? Read and respond accordingly.
DO provide your own contact information, not your client’s. Be the first point of contact and then put the two together, but DON’T be hard to reach. Leave all the ways you can be contacted with your most up-to-date information so you are easily accessible.
DO shamelessly use HARO and ProfNet as a “trend-indicator” to develop some pitches of your own. These sources often presage what’s timely and trendy just before it makes the airwaves.
DO provide examples of previous relevant media and press, when providing an expert. It’s always helpful to demonstrate prior experience and media successes.
DON’T describe your client in excruciating detail. Give as much relevant information as you can but not their entire story. A reporter will respond to you if they are interested, then you can provide more.
DON’T let clients answer queries on their own unless you have edited their response or they have a true knack for PR-type writing.
DON’T try to “force-fit” your client into a story pitch that they are just not right for. But if they are “close” – DO contact that reporter for another pitch at another time. The reporter knows exactly what they’re writing about for this particular story. Scour the queries for interesting reporters and beats to add to your own media list for the future.
What are your most successful (or most horrific) HARO/ProfNet stories? Do you read and respond regularly?