Peter Shankman founded the HARO mailer network many months ago. Since then, the Help a Reporter Out network has grown into perhaps the most powerful community of networkers, journalists and product marketers on the Internet. Not only is the network free to use, it is also very effective. Here are some tips to maximize the use of HARO.
Don’t confuse the “source” and “media” request pages
This is the most fundamental rule, and is something that Shankman highlights at least twice on the main HARO page, which is reserved for companies who are the source of information. If you’re a journalist or blogger looking for leads, use the other page.
Be brief and get to the point
When looking for sources, note that the HARO mailer comes in the form of a digest. If you’re smart you’ll probably use the search function to go through a ton of requests. If you had all the time in the world to look through a dozen of these queries then fine, but put yourself in the position of the person looking through your query: avoid run on sentences and long introductions (i.e. avoid lines that start with “may I request the permission of your good office…”) and simply, get to the point. If you need a sponsor for a prize, give the benefits of the sponsorship. If you need leads, ask for it.
Be concise in credentials and duration of requests
By credentials, I mean filling up the form with an email that looks authentic. Use your business email if possible. When asking for leads it is beyond a doubt reasonable to give ample time for a response. Don’t ask for a lead with a deadline the very next day. Not only will it cause attrition on your part, but it will also most probably not be sent due to the way the mailing list is compiled. Remember, mailings are not sent immediately, but are collated first, then sent. It also goes without saying that you should not spam the HARO network.
Note the Gift Bag page
There’s a special page within HARO that caters specifically for “goodie bag” sponsorships. This is by all means not a paid list and should be used with a lot of discretion and respect. If you make products and want them to appear in loot bags, this list is for you.
More often than not, PR contacts will often save your email addresses in queries after a successful engagement. Don’t be a stranger an do keep in touch. Provide updates to build your very own network of contacts to sponsor prizes and receive wires.