The Digital Age has advanced journalism in a multitude of ways, Connecting journalists and reporters to large numbers of credible sources and expert commentators. Journalists are no longer forced to scout local communities for sources; but rather can offer opportunities to a much larger pool of experts eager to contribute their unique perspective on different topics.
This reversal has been a win-win for journalists in maximizing their time writing and for brands in leveraging their expertise for publicity. HARO (Help-A-Reporter-Out) is one online service currently leading the way in connecting those with stories to tell and those seeking to share the stories of others.
If you are a tech brand, pay close attention to HARO, recognizing their service as a no-cost opportunity with potential for high-value rewards. Here are a few tips to help you get started utilizing the power of HARO and maximize your experience:
After joining HARO, you will be asked to identify the industries or topics that most align with your expertise. Choose wisely. You will receive an email about three times a day allowing you to review various queries with proposed story concepts and requests for specific qualifications, and then submit interest if you believe you are the right source for that opportunity. Use the criteria strategically to align your company with journalists, outlets, and themes that will emphasize the value of what you do best. You won’t win them all, so focus on the ones that you can win big.
Journalists are working with short deadlines and need to lock in sources quickly. Keep a close eye on your HARO digests and ensure you act fast if you believe you are the right source. Most HARO queries expire in 24-48 hours, so move quickly.
And if you don’t hear back on your submission, contact the reporter directly. You are likely one among many who submitted interest; so communicate your credentials and expert perspective directly through a quick follow up email when needed.
This may be the toughest tip, yet. It’s tempting to share your 10-year vision for the company and milestones you have checked off your entrepreneurial bucket list; but if you do, you may likely lose the chance. Journalists are looking for a quick hook that sets you apart from the others, so sharpen your wordsmith skills and choose direct, highly impactful words that are appealing and few in number.
Ensure the information you provide is the information asked for. While you benefit from the publicity of participating in a story, remember you are not the topic yet. Choose answers that are on point, succinct, and strategic, trusting that if you submitted wisely, honest answers will likely lead to you as an ideal source anyway.
Leveraging the power of HARO is an opportunity for connection with two audiences. First, by becoming a trusted source for journalists, your story may naturally find its way to local and national media outlets with less effort. Second, HARO provides a unique opportunity for you to connect deeply with industry peers and consumers. Let the world in on a little bit of the human story behind your tech product (in a sentence or two), and connection will create opportunities product advertising and marketing alone could not. And, in an effort to be brief, a witty teaser suggesting there is more to your story may be enough to pique the interest needed.
If used wisely, HARO can open doors for tech start-ups and enterprise brands seeking to widen their audiences or even target a specific audience. Sure, you won’t get chosen every time; but when you are, you will have quite an opportunity to share your expertise to those curious ears to listen. Craft your answers wisely, and that audience may soon find their way right to your company’s door.