How To Get FREE Publicity Using HARO

HARO (stands for Help A Reporter Out) is a free service.  When you sign up for the HARO newsletter you get thrice (yes I just used the word thrice, how cool is that) daily updates that include queries from reporters looking for assistance (expertise, experience, information) with articles, blogs and books.  If you can provide assistance you touch base with the reporters and, if you are lucky, they pick you to help them and you get your name, business, interests, featured in a public forum.  Free advertising people!
Of course, nothing free is really free.  All that reading and responding to queries takes time and, as we know, time is money.  Well, time isn’t money literally but you can use time to make money.  You can also use time to take a nap so technically time is naps too and we all know how important naps are.  All of that being said, did I really say all of that?  Here are some tips to make the most out of HARO and all those missed naps.
1. The early bird gets the worm.
I don’t know how many responses each reporter gets swamped with but I am sure it is a tidal wave.  I hear many people complain that they were the perfect fit for an article and they never even heard a response.  If this has happened to you chance are that the reporter got so many queries that once they found what they needed they just stopped opening them.
2.  Find a way you can help a reporter out.
And I mean really help with.  If you can not exactly match the query request do not answer the reporter ever.  Emails that begin with sentences like, “I know you were looking for (insert query topic) but…”, or, “I have another idea for this article it’s…”. or, “I don’t exactly match what you are looking for but…” are emails that will succeed only in pissing off the reporter and possibly getting you banned from HARO.  Just don’t do it.

3.  Decide if responding to the query is worth your time or if you should take a nap instead.

Are the readers/listeners of this magazine, blog, book, radio show your tribe (could they be customers or partners).  If the answer is no, consider if it is worth your time just to develop a relationship with the reporter (check out step 4 for more).  I rank print publications higher than websites.  Most of the time the print publication has both an offline and online version so you get double the exposure.  Plus a print magazine usually gives you the opportunity to develop two relationships (editor and reporter/freelance writer).  HARO does have rules around blog traffic levels but I find they aren’t always followed too closely.  You can always use Compete to check the traffic levels by entering the url of the query blog.
4.  Once you decide that a query is a good match and worth relinquishing a nap – see if you can find the reporter on Twitter.
It is against HARO rules to harvest the emails of the reporters for any purpose so make sure you never use their email address but Twitter is fair game if you use it correctly.  Start following the reporter right away and use the Galahad code of Largesse and start giving.  Make a Twitter list called “HARO Queries” and focus on giving back as much as possible to those reporters who you have submitted to.  You can re-tweet their important tweets, provide information for things they are working on, answer their Twitter questions, etc…
5.  Prepare your query response.
Once you have found out who the reporter/writer is head on out in to the web and find more of their writing.  Mention a piece that you love in your HARO query.  Provide a very succinct response to their query and every single way in which they can reach you if they need you.  Always end your email letting them know you are available to help on anything at any time.
6.  Don’t follow up.
This is probably the only time that you will hear this from me but I believe it is a bad idea to follow up with a reporter on a specific query.  As stated before they are probably over-run with responses.  They can’t get back to everyone and they may not have even seen your query.  Following-up in a case like this will probably just irritate them.
7.  Follow-up.  I know, I know… bear with me.  
Now you know the reporter’s name and what they write about.  You are following them on Twitter and developing a relationship with them.  If you don’t hear from them on a query follow up in a few weeks and ask how the article went, where you can read it, if you can promote it to your network for them (this is particularly helpful as you already know you have the same audience).  Even if you don’t successfully get a story from a HARO query you still can develop relationships that turn in to stories.
Remember that HARO is a window in to what people are writing about and where they are writing it.  If you make it a practice to stop what you are doing 3 times a day and spend 5 minutes scanning HARO you will slowly build up a wide and useful network of the reporters and writers in your industry.  And that my friends, is worth skipping a nap for.


(find out more about the Galahad’s Code Of Chivalry)
Largesse — Give and you shall receive. Don't ruin the giving by counting on the receiving. Just give because you can!
Franchise — Recognize a useful query for someone in your Camelot Circle... pass it on!
Prowess — Build out your network one connection at a time.


Avatar of Lisa-Marie Cabrelli

Location-Independent Entrepreneur & Certified Life Coach, Galahad, Wife, Mum, & Adventurer. Co-Founder of Galahads - The Secret Society for Kick-Ass Women. Founder & CEO of Emily Rose Doll Clothes and Wish Doll Company. Founder & CEO of Laptop Life Lisa. Finding the revenue and results inside every entrepreneur.   Mum of a rocking 14 year-old daughter visit her at TheOneAndOnlyEmTV.  Lucky wife of her soul-mate and fellow adventurer, Mark.  Traveling the world while running four businesses and raising a teenager. Journey from the last 6 weeks? Bahamas to Scotland to England to France to Switzerland, currently hanging in Borgo Val di Taro, Italy. @LaptopLifeLisa

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  • Silkarmour •

    Wow that is a great tip. You really are kick ass. Thank you for all the gems on here.