Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Perks of Premium and helpful tips for using HARO

Looking for a new way to gain media coverage for a client? Forget searching for a place to pitch a story, Help A Reporter Out (HARO) makes it easy to find one right inside your inbox. Whether you’re a reporter looking for a source or a source looking for a lead, this win-win relationship is a great tool for PR professionals to easily connect with someone who might be interested in writing about their client.

After being acquired by Vocus, HARO recently launched its Premium subscription package that provides a small variety of applications to help users get the most out of the program for a monthly fee. So, what does the Premium subscription provide you…and of course, is it worth the money?

Three daily emails with reporter queries
Unlimited Saved Searches: save time by having HARO filter out queries that don't match your keywords
Unlimited Profiles: provide biographies to make it easier for journalists to find a good source
SMS Alerts: get early warning when the next email has queries matching your keywords
In-app search: find more opportunities by searching the whole list online, anytime
Early Response: get advance warning of queries that match your keywords, giving you more time to write your response
Phone support
Price: $149.00/month

All in all, I think the premium subscription could save PR pros a little bit of time and gives an advantage to write a response early. The decision to pay for the service should really depend on how valuable the service has proven to your particular group of clients. If you’re frequently finding reporters through HARO, then these extra applications will ultimately have benefits.

Although the perks of the premium program are nice, I suggest PR pros stick to simplicity. The minimum free subscription gets you three easy-to-read emails a day with reporter queries. The free version may not filter emails for you but it only takes a few extra seconds to scan an email during your busy day of sending press releases, creating media lists or sending out Tweets. Read on for a few tips on how to use this program to your full advantage.

Five Tips for “Helping A Reporter Out”…

1.    Subscribe! It’s FREE! The only thing you have to do is get on your email and click open. Simply read through them and see if you can “help a reporter out” and most importantly help out your client.
2.    Don’t ignore the emails. Read them right away. It’s easy to ignore emails that don’t need your immediate attention. It takes 10 seconds to scan HARO’s reporter queries so open them right away so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.
3.    Keep responses short. After finding a query you think is a good fit for your client, write two short paragraphs that gets the reporter's attention, is persuasive and to the point. Don’t spend time on a long pitch. The reporter already knows what they are looking for. Simply explain why you’re the perfect source.
4.    Don’t abuse the privilege. HARO doesn’t tolerate spam, so don’t email reporters with other information unrelated to their query. Spamming reporters will easily get your subscription taken away, which brings me to my last tip…
5.    Build and maintain the reporter relationship. Each time you work with a new reporter, make sure it’s a good experience. Build a relationship with that reporter so that next time you have a story idea, you can call on the reporter again without going through HARO. This is a great way to meet new reporters and continue building your media lists.

Good luck and Happy “Helping!”

Post contributed by Kathrine Brody