It can be frustrating to constantly attempt to answer queries on HARO and never get quotes or receive any type of media coverage. At times, it can feel like you're getting nowhere fast. If you're looking to get more media attention for the work that you do, HARO can be a wonderful resource.
1. Make sure you are answering their questions.
While some queries have more general questions, other times they involve more specific, detailed requests. They do this to make sure that they can corral up answers that truly fit their media coverage. It's vital to be as clear as possible. I once sent a bunch of money saving tips to a writer. I gave her tips based on what I thought she wanted. Instead of wondering if I was on target with her request, I simply gave her a few great ones and then asked if this is what she had in mind. I could have written a book, but why do that if I wasn't sure. That would leave me and the writer frustrated if I wasn't interpreting the question properly. Also, some articles only need two to three sentences. Don't give over too many gems at once, especially if you're not sure. This is what I wrote after giving some of my best tips:
"Are these tips what you had in mind? I have tons of tips.
Feel free to follow up with more questions if you need anything."
2. Take a stab at answering while asking for clarification.
Using tip 2 will allow you to send great answers while still checking for clarification. If your answers are a fit and the writer needs them right away, all your bases are covered. If they need more detail or if you have to tweak things a bit, you give them permission to follow up. In some respects, you're covered both ways. You give tips but slightly excuse yourself if you're off the mark. You don't want to appear like a dodo. Also, you excuse yourself in advance if you were, in fact, being a dodo in the moment and misread the information. Give permission to make them follow up. It also takes the awkwardness out of everything for the writer if they didn't word things correctly or if their request was too vague or confusing.
3. Be brief in the beginning.
I recently was chosen to give tips for an article about credit card hacks. Here's what I wrote:
"One of my favorite hacks is buying discounted gift cards with my credit cards. I take a budgeted amount for groceries and personal care items and spend the allotted amounts on gift cards.
I'll buy large increments to use for the month. I get the advantage of paying less for the gift card (larger increments usually offer a higher percentage off), I reap credit card rewards and stay on budget."
Once I was selected, the writer had a series of questions for me. I cut and pasted them into my email. (I mentioned that in my last post about tips for getting free publicity on HARO but I wanted to be more specific here.) I did this for two reasons. It helps me make sure I answered each question. It also helps the writer see their questions and your answers all in one spot. It's nicely organized for them. Any time you make someone's job easier, it's easier for them to pick you.
So once I received the specific questions, that's when I spilled the beans in detail. I gave the specifics about the percentage savings on the gift cards and wrote a longer email with tons of details. This way you give the writer numbers, research, maybe even a personal experience of your own, if applicable.
Luckily, I had all of my receipts from the app stored on my phone. So I gave the names of the stores, how much I paid for the gift cards, the value of the gift card and the exact percentage off. Whether you have a cat grooming business, teach people how to get errands done quicker in ored to spend more time on your business or you're an expert on the new future of the payment industry, when applicable, give exact numbers in your response. Estimates don't sound as believable and the one person who checks the site or app and doesn't find the number you quoted, will think you're an imposter. The writer thanked me for giving specific answers. Not to completely brag, but whenever I've been chosen that's what they tell me, so I run with it. My clients have been successful with these strategies as well.
The Bottom Line
It can be tough to write query after query and never get a response on HARO. Unless you've just had it and it makes more sense to hire someone, consider changing your strategy a bit. Try out some of the tips listed above and see what happens.
3 More Ways to Get Media Coverage for Free on HARO was written on the Payments Blog by Karen Cordaway.