Earlier this week we covered ten ways to get press as a Help A Reporter Out source, but HARO is equally useful for its namesake: reporters. And since content marketers are in a sense brand reporters, we can jump on board, too. Here are a few pointers on using HARO for blog posts, white papers and other content.
1. Tell them who you are
A quick, HARO-style poll of sources revealed that while many say that the name of the publication does not make much difference in whether or not they respond, the vast majority of sources avoid anonymous queries. After all, why would you spend time writing a thoughtful answer for a publication that can’t even reveal its identity? If you need to keep your publication confidential, the very public HARO might not be an ideal platform for soliciting interviews.
2. Tell them what you really want
Sources are bound to respond to your query in a hodgepodge of formats. Are you looking for five tips? Answers to a series of question? Follow-up for an interview? To get what you’re looking for, you need to lay out exactly what you want within the query.
3. Also be specific about requirements
If you want to talk to someone specific, say a Fortune 500 brand marketer or a certified child psychologist, you should specify that in the requirements section of your query. Otherwise, you’ll hear from financial advisors, mommy bloggers, dog trainers — the whole lot.
4. Make your time frame clear
Due date is one of the primary fields on HARO’s query form. Be sure to use this feature to your advantage, giving yourself plenty of time to comb through responses.
5. Keep HARO’s email layout in mind
Just like with articles, the headline of your query is your chance to reel people in. Since the summaries appear in a section above the actual details of the queries, you’ll need to use the summary to catch sources’ attention. Be specific enough to let people know when their expertise applies, and try to make it eye-catching.
6. Respect sources’ attribution requests
As author and speaker Jeffrey Deutsch points out, it’s important to comply with sources’ attribution requests. Be open and honest about what you can and cannot include according to editorial guidelines. If you can’t accomodate a source’s request, it might not be ideal to use their contribution in your piece.
7. Keep track of sources for next time
It’s easy to think of HARO as a one-and-done source, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. When you identify a trustworthy source, be sure to save their contact information for later. I keep a spreadsheet of HARO-sourced experts so that when I need a quote for an article (this one included), I reference that list and reach out.
8. Prepare your inbox
For certain queries, I’ve gotten up to four dozen responses. That’s great news for my article, but can be overwhelming for my inbox. Whenever I submit a query, I set up a Gmail inbox filter based on subject line to automatically send that pitch to a designated folder. That way, when it’s time sit down and write my article, I can pop open a folder and review all of my pitches in one place rather than hunting them down in the jungle that is my inbox.
9. Follow up if you use a source
If you do end up using a source for your article, be sure to notify them via email. Not only is it common decency, it also increases the chances that they’ll share the piece with their own network.
10. Mention the source in social outlets
When sharing articles on social platforms, call out any sources that you use via a social mention. You can ask for their Twitter handle or a link to their profile in the aforementioned email follow-up. This lets your followers know that you used credible sources for the piece, and also acts as a nudge to remind the sources to share the piece on their own social networks.
Do you use Help A Reporter Out to find sources for content marketing materials? What are your top tips for soliciting sources?