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HARO: Easy Low-Hanging PR Fruit

In a time of our lives in which we want most non-billable activities fast and easy, I have a public relations tip for you that has brought success to one of my clients no less than 3 times in the last month.

It’s HARO, an acronym that is short for Help a Reporter Out. There’s no need to know much about the background associated with HARO and how it started; what you really want to know is how to use it to your advantage.

HARO is a database reporters use to find sources for stories they are working on. In a recent post on AccountingWeb, I talked about how it would be beneficial for you to take a reporter to lunch in order to establish a relationship. By all means, you should still do that, but what HARO does is enable you to respond to reporter queries that you normally would never know about, all for free and with a very minimal time commitment.

This is the power of PR: the ability to have your name, expertise and knowledge included in a third-party format. The end result is that you might receive referrals or questions about your practice based on these types of articles.

Here are three recent examples that came from Andrew Poulos responding directly to HARO queries: The New Home Office Deduction: Do You Meet the Criteria? on American Express Open Forum, Signs You Need To Bring In A Professional To Do Your Taxes on GoGirl Finance and Is Your Technology Working for You? on

Here are the steps to get started:

  1. Go to HARO’s website and read through the options. Note there are paid and free options. Click on Sign Up Today and you’ll be directed to the page with these options. I see no reason why you should pay for this service, so click on “Basic Free” and sign up for the daily newsletter. You’ll get an activation email to begin your subscription.
  2. What you’ll receive are emails delivered 3 times a day with what reporters need and you can ask for the feeds by category. For example, if you are an accountant, select Business and Finance or any category you like. In my work, I selected Business & Finance, and High-Tech.
  3. Each entry will include a description of what the reporter is looking for and how to respond. For example, here’s one that came today: “How to Avoid Fighting When You Discuss Money,” with the summary, “Discussing money can get heated. How can you avoid fighting when?you discuss money? Would appreciate four or five strategies?couples can employ to maintain sanity while discussing money.” Requirements included “Prefer a relationship expert or financial coach” and the deadline to respond via a secure email address is by 10 am on the next business day.
  4. When you send the email, describe yourself, what you do and why you’re qualified to be a source for the story. Keep your response short and to the point! Don’t fluff it up with colorful language or superlatives; this only serves to annoy reporters and you won’t get a response.

Try to peruse the emails when they come in; some have immediate response deadlines while others may give you as long as a week.

That’s all there is to it. It’s up to the reporters to contact you back. Do not, by any means, contact the reporter directly if his/her information is included in the original query. Imagine being the reporter and besieged by hundreds of emails or calls.

One note: if you do not get any kind of response from the reporter, don’t fret. You either didn’t fit what the reporter wanted or perhaps the reporter found someone before you responded.

Relax, and wait for the results!

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