Using “Help A Reporter Out” To Find Experts

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 stories.

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 research.

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!