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How to Use HARO to Get Media Coverage

By February 1, 2017January 25th, 2018Guide to PR, Public Relations, Strategy

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.

HARO, which stands for Help A Reporter Out, is a free program run by media database giant Cision that reverses the traditional PR relationship. While Cision’s stalwart media database gives PR pros access to journalists and publications in order to build lists to pitch stories, HARO allows journalists to pitch PR pros and marketers with queries. Read on, or check out this video that explains how HARO works.

In other words, HARO is where journalists look for sources. It’s not the only way journalists look for sources, but it is a very easy to use and convenient way to find media opportunities for companies and brands.

Here’s how it works.

Reporters looking for sources for stories reach out–anonymously or not–through the HARO platform. Remember, with HARO, reporters pitch you! HARO is used by 35,000 journalists and more than 475,000 sources have signed on, making it a great tool for brands and reporters alike. You simply register, select what topics you are interested in, and get three daily emails with a list of queries from journalists writing on that topic.



Here’s what a daily email looks like.


Does HARO work? It sure can. In his excellent blog, “If you’re not using HARO you just don’t give a damn,” “Bulldog” reporter Gary Frisch says, “In the past six months alone, my clients or I have grabbed the attention of writers from Forbes, Inc., the Associated Press, AOL’s Daily Finance, Nightclub & Bar Magazine, The Washington Post,, and The Huffington Post, as a result of HARO. I have formed good relationships with some writers and content producers and reignited other relationships.” Gary has a lot of great advice on how to respond to HARO queries.

Writing in Forbes, Zalmi Duchman, Founder of Fresh Diet, calls HARO, “Your PR agency’s worst nightmare,” since, in theory, it allows you find PR opportunities in your inbox instead through an agency. “Thru HARO, my company and I have received exposure in many top media outlets in the world,” he says. “From USA Today to CNN Money to INC and even this NY Times article.”

We’ve had some success as well, but HARO isn’t a magic formula for PR success. In the media in general, PR pros outnumber journalists by a 5-1 ratio. With HARO’s 450,000 sources vying for the attention of 35,000 writers, the ratio is more than twice as competitive. You still have to have a great pitch and be able to give the journalist exactly what he or she is looking for.

It’s a good idea to make it part of your daily routine to read over the HARO editions for any queries that could be relevant to you. You never know who could be looking to speak with someone in your area of expertise. Also, whether you are submitting a query or pitching a reporter, always be specific. Reporters do not want to waste time sorting through irrelevant pitches, and sources do not want to waste time developing a pitch for a vague query. This benefits everyone in the end. Learn more about HARO in our blog post, How to Be a SuperHARO.

This blog post is part of “The Ultimate Guide to Public Relations” blog series.