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HARO Sea Change for PR

HARO Sea Change for PR

By: Suzanne McGee, Account Director, Fusion PR

In case you’ve been working too hard, been on vacation or happen to live in a cave, you are missing out on a sea change in PR.

What is it? It’s Peter Shankman’s Help A Reporter Out listing and outreach. Designed to connect reporters with PR resources, this friendly guide lands in your email box twice a day with a lengthy list of topic queries.

Hmmm, what’s different about this compared to similar services? For starters, it’s free, witty, lengthy and very relevant to our business. These e-mail missives include 15 to 30 requests for interviews, along with posts from Peter about a number of different topics including how his cats react to the heat to sponsorship plugs (American Apparel to the House of Jerky). He has done an incredible job of creating an amazing amount of PR followers who are dedicated to his cause and respond to his plugs and plays with words in a media built on combinations of 26 letters.

However, there is a difference in that anyone can get HARO – including your Grandma Ethel. Yup, no subscription fee, no hoops to jump through or sharing needed. This means that your clients can also get these and check out what might be a fit for them. In fact, they can actually beat you to the request while you are merrily eating a sandwich in Bryant Park. Just as bloggers have snagged exclusives from reporters, now your clients can pitch their own angles. This doesn’t substitute media relationships, but it does mean that you need to be more proactive in following up on all opportunities no matter the source.

I don’t think this is the end of expanded media opportunities that have a Web 2.0 interaction. Peter has the right mix of his personality, sponsorship opportunities and healthy lists of pitch opportunities. You don’t feel put upon, though you do feel bad for his cats. There is room for more personalized interaction, which is clearly a message across the Net, echoing into the mobile world. Interesting to see it catch on in our profession — one that is built on combinations of just 26 letters and the abilities to write and talk.

So, who will we reach next?

  • Peter

    August 1, 2008 at 12:00 pm Reply

    Three times a day. 🙂

  • Daniel Wright

    October 1, 2008 at 8:35 am Reply

    With the rise of social media, services like HARO will continue to come up. Although anyone can receive and respond to these e-mails, credible sources will always be taken seriously. Clients pitching their own angles may not have the same success rate as those with the experience of doing so. If clients want their stories pitched properly, and successfully, they will wait for their PR reps to do so. It is their company’s name and reputation on the line, not the public relations practitioner’s.

    There is no harm in being proactive, and maybe this will push PR reps to be more so.

    Change is always good. A ‘sea of change’ in any industry brings new and fresh ideas. Blogging may have seemed strange and new in the beginning, but has since become a successful tool for networking. Who knows where we are going in this technology filled environment.

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