Using “Help A Reporter Out” To Find Experts

By | February 1, 2016
Help A Reporter Out, or HARO, is a PR and journalism platform. 
Journalists or users registered as media outlets can submit calls for
sources for their story ideas, and experts and brands can pick and
choose to email various prompts via an email newsletter that HARO sends
out several times per day.

The platform is a powerful tool for journalists, but often ignored is
its enormous potential for up and coming bloggers and content producers.
 For example, instead of faking your expertise on a topic and risking
losing credibility, you can submit a call for sources to HARO's
newsletter and have external experts weigh in with their advice and

Not only can you use this to write engaging profiles of one particular
brand, you can also aggregate many responses to create a large, varied,
content-rich posts that offer a range of perspectives and information
that would be hard to replicate with your own knowledge or independent

If that's not enough of a reason to convince you to reach out to sources
via HARO for your next post, consider this:  Recruiting just one source
to be part of your story doubles your promotion team.  Get another
source involved? Boom, your promotional force just went up again.

Most of the time, anyone reaching out to be featured in a story will be
looking for exposure, which means they will also be happy to tweet,
share, and shout out about your post once it goes live and you send them
a follow-up email with a link to it.

Sounds pretty great, right?

To get started, you'll need to make an account on HARO and register as a
media outlet.  At this point, you'll be able to submit a request for
sources through their online form.  In this form, you'll be able to put
your contact information, along with a title and description of the
project, where you can list out any special requirements, exclusions of
what types of pitches you do not want, etc.  Be detailed here, so that
you can pre-filter the responses you receive and not have to worry about
being flooded with irrelevant information.

At the same time, leave your request open and general enough that people
won't be afraid to get ahold of you if they think they can offer an
interesting twist on your topic - you never know what great story you
might get the exclusive scoop on.

Above, be polite to those you interact with, and always follow up with
requests.  If you are known to ignore incoming pitches, people might
start to ignore your requests when they see them in the HARO newsletter
email, effectively shutting you out of sources who may not have been
right for one post, but have something great to offer down the road.

When following up with offers that you are interested in using, make
sure you're clear in your expectations and ask for any clarifications or
details that may have been left out of someone's original pitch.  Other
than that, enjoy your newfound blogging resource!

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