I discovered a great opportunity for free PR. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a matching service for reporters and information sources. Reporters from media agencies such as The New York Times, Huffingtonpost.com and ABC News post information requests for articles. People with that information respond to an HARO email address. The reporter gets the information she or he needs and the information source gets mentioned in the article. A fair trade.
Signing up was easy. Within five minutes I had completed a short registration form and selected my areas of interest. Shortly after, I was scanning the first of three daily emails listing queries.
I have responded to two requests: one on workplace productivity and another on learning how to relax. Like most things in life, it takes a couple of attempts before getting it right.
My initial approach was to provide all of my content in the email. For example, for the learning to relax article, I talked about how I needed to recalibrate my life after a whirlwind year and my three-point plan to get back on track:
- Scheduling recreational activities on my work calendar
- Devoting more time to running, a fitness activity that I find relaxing, especially when listening to music
- Stopping work-related activities thirty minutes before going to bed
I realized that I was writing the story versus pitching my value as a source for it. What if the reporter wasn't interested in a three-point plan?
My next response will be different. I will mention why I would make a good information source and provide an insight to spark interest. It might be more help to the reporter and create more PR for me. I know I will like helping a reporter out.