If you haven’t heard of HARO yet, you probably aren’t a journalist, blogger or public relations professional. HARO, an acronym for “Help A Reporter Out”, is a wildly successful and FREE service designed to help journalists request expert interview sources for the stories they produce. Approximately 9,000 or so journalists use HARO to request sources via an email blast that is distributed to more than 56,000 sources and PR professionals three times per day.
How HARO Works
Similar to PR Newswire’s ProfNet service, reporters can request suggestions for sources or ‘pitches’ from the PR community using the HARO service – but HARO service is free for everyone. Users of ProfNet have to pay an annual subscription fee to use the service. Though it’s fair to point out that ProfNet also enables sources to create expert profiles in a database that can be searched by journalists looking for sources.
In a little over a year, HARO has become the most popular service for connecting journalists with sources – quickly growing from 1,200 followers in a Facebook group, to the more than 56,000 email subscribers today. In comparison, PR Newswire claims to have 14,000 ProfNet users via its website.
I think the main reason we like HARO so much, beyond the highly-entertaining emails written by HARO creator Peter Shankman three times a day, is that it was built to literally help reporters out. Many journalists have complained about how frequently they receive off-topic pitches from PR folks – pitches that have nothing to do with their coverage area or the stories they write. Peter Shankman designed HARO with this reality in mind, requiring all users of his service to promise not to send off-topic pitches or “PR spam” to the journalists issuing queries. [Read more…]