We’ve all seen those cheesy movies where a woman trips right as a handsome gentleman walks by. He catches her before she hits the ground. She looks up, their eyes meet, and the music begins playing as they set off towards their happily ever after.
There are some things are that are too good to be true or are reserved for those hokey films. Unfortunately, most of us throw the idea of getting a reporter to cover our story into one of those two categories and never give it another thought.
But what if there was a way to not just hope a reporter would be interested, but to actually know what reporters are looking for on any given day and then contact them with your piece? Cue the music, for it is easier than you think, and you don’t even need a handsome man to stroll along.
If you want to know how to get a reporter to care about your story, then you should check out Help a Reporter Out (HARO). It is free to register and only takes a few minutes to complete the initial set-up, which allows you to select the topics that pertain to your story. Then you receive an email Monday-Friday listing specific topics reporters are looking for. They are categorized by topic, making it easy to scan through them.
Once you find a posting that fits your story, you can scroll to the bottom of the email for more information and then respond via HARO directly to the reporter.
Let’s look at a real tidbit that HARO sent out (with identifying information changed):
Name: Jane Smith of a Big Magazine
Category: Biotech and Healthcare Email: SomethingorOther@helpareporter.com
Media Outlet: Big Magazine
Deadline: 6:00 PM EST – 9 September
Query: Hello, I am writing an article on the connection between psoriasis and stress. Why does stress trigger flare-ups of psoriasis in some people? What are some good ways to manage stress (exercise,meditation, yoga, etc?) I need to speak to a dermatologist who treats people with psoriasis and a person with psoriasis that uses stress management techniques as part of their treatment plan. Thank you!
Requirements: Dermatologist that treats people with psoriasis; person with psoriasis who uses stress management techniques to manage the skin condition.
It’s like getting a cheat sheet since you already know exactly what they’re looking for, so you get to tailor your story to highlight the things they are asking for. In this particular instance, you can e-mail your story back to the reporter, whereas other queries request that you’re available by phone and/or for a media appearance (which, of course, is a beautiful problem to have since you could land free air time for it). Before you know it, you’ll have reporters from across the nation sharing your content.
Rhiannon Hendrickson is the founder and CEO of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations, which helps purpose-driven businesses increase awareness and attract clients and partners. She has worked with organizations of all sizes across myriad sectors to develop memorable and effective communications programs that generate awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, support for those that are making a meaningful impact.