Ever wondered how some small businesses get all the breaks? They get invited to be highlighted in local magazines and newspapers, give interviews on radio stations, and even make appearances on morning television shows.
This could be your small business!
In 2008, Peter Shankman created a website called Help a Reporter Out (HARO). The idea was simple. Introduce subject matter experts all over the nation with journalists looking for original stories and sources. If the writers think your expertise or story is compelling enough, they just might call you. I know, because it’s happened to me! In 2010 I was interviewed by Inc. Magazine for a story about Foursquare. I guess I wasn’t interesting enough because I didn’t make the article – but I digress.
How do you get involved?
Sign up for an account at Help A Reporter Out. You’ll get an email daily with a list of subjects and stories that journalists need help with. Scan the list, and look for requests that you can help out with. If you think you’ve got something worthwhile to add, you can email the reporter directly and pitch your story or offer your perspective.
There won’t be opportunities for you every day. You have to watch the list, and you may go weeks without seeing something on the list that you want to respond to.
If you plan on responding to a HARO request, have some background information about yourself ready in case the reporter asks for it. They may ask you to send your credentials or other info to them. It’s important to have a few things ready to hand over because reporters and writers are often under tight deadlines and need to turn their story around quickly. For some diligent and timely work on your part, you might just get mentioned in a publication or on television.
If you are looking for some exposure for your small business, subscribe to HARO. It just might provide some much needed (free) press that you can ride for months to come. Imagine using “As seen on the Today Show” in your local marketing!
Do you have experience with HARO? If so, tell us your story.