Looking to get your company featured in the press? Pitching journalists who have covered relevant topics before is the most effective approach but after catching their interest, it can take time for journalists to slot you into their editorial calendar.
How HARO works in connecting with journalists working on a story right now
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to the rescue! On HARO, journalists submit requests seeking contributions, interviews and quotes for stories they are working on right now.
By signing up for HARO, you receive roundups of these requests everyday. Responding to queries where you can contribute relevant experience or expertise gives you a much better chance of getting featured since the journalists are actively seeking stories to feature.
You can choose topics most relevant to your company to subscribe to. They include:
After subscribing, you’ll start to receive several emails at day listing journalist queries related to those topics:
I recommend setting up a filter that directs emails ‘from:firstname.lastname@example.org’ go directly into its own separate label inside your inbox. This way, you can block out a certain time of the day to check out all the recent HARO queries, instead of having them flood your main inbox. Also if your email client offers this filtering rule, select ‘Never send it [email] to spam’. Some HARO emails can get caught in your spam filter and this prevents any from ending up there.
How to write a compelling response to HARO queries to get featured
The key to getting your HARO response included in the final story is presenting your experience or expertise in a compelling way that shows the journalist how including it would elevate the emotional appeal of their article and help them illustrate an important point.
An effective response for a HARO query response:
Subject line: Re: your HARO query - (1) really funny story about customers playing Pokemon in shop’s my parking lot
Saw your HARO query. (2) [2-3 sentences about your relevant experience or expertise.]
Let me know if this fits well with your story - happy to provide other details!
In your subject line, very briefly summarize the experience or expertise you will share a compelling way. Or provide a teaser of it.
Share the major points of your relevant experience or expertise. Make sure you provide all the details that a journalist requests in their query.
Spelling out the significance your experience or expertise has on the wider context helps the journalist easily see how your contribution can elevate their piece. The more they have to think about how to use your insights, they less likely they are to ultimately include it.
Gently ask them to get back to you and show them you’re open to working with them to provide all the details they need.
Key tips for doing PR for your startup
- Make sure you only target relevant journalists whose interests and beats are related to what your company does.
- Don’t just pitch journalists out of the blue. Try to build a relationship first by starting conversations on topics that interest them. This means you should start your PR outreach process before your company officially launches.
- Create compelling visual assets to use in your pitch so journalists can instantly understand what your company does. Journalists may also see more potential in your story knowing you have quality visuals they can include their article.
- Before pitching journalists, find ones who are actively requesting stories related to your company first. It is much easier to land a feature from a journalist who’s already working on a story relevant to what you do.
- Start off pitching local publications first. They are much easier to break into and give you credibility to move up into broader reach publications.
- Don’t just pitch what your company does, find a compelling angle that’s related to it since many more journalists cover bigger issues and phenomena, not write about the work of one single company.