How Helping a Reporter Can Help Your eCommerce Store

Have you ever seen your competitor or another similar online store quoted in a newspaper, magazine or online and wondered “How’d they do that?”

As it happens, they just might be subscribed to the free service “Help a Reporter Out” (usually known as “HARO”.)

The premise of HARO is simple. Reporters who need a source login to the site and write up a specific query. They may be looking for someone who sells organic pet treats or to quote an eCommerce storeowner on sales tax issues. No matter what type of source they need, they can turn to HARO for the answer.

Here’s where you, as a potential source, come in. If you’re signed up for HARO, you’ll receive 3 emails per day with all of the reporters’ queries. There are usually 40-50 queries per email, so chances are you’ll eventually find a media opportunity that fits your business.

HARO creates a wonderful symbiotic relationship between journalists who may not be able to easily find a specific source for their article and eCommerce business owners, who are looking for publicity and to gain credibility.

If HARO sounds like a good fit for your business, sign up here. But do be sure to keep the terms of service in mind, because HARO has very specific rules that can result in you getting kicked out of the service!

Some HARO rules and best practices include:

  1. Never republish a query on the internet. This is the quickest way to get banned from HARO.
  2. Only pitch a journalist when you actually fit their query. If a journalist is looking for a seller of organic dog treats and you fit the bill, then send in your pitch to that journalist’s disguised HARO-created email address. But if they’re looking for pet sitters, don’t be tempted to send in info about your dog treat store anyway. They can mark your off-topic pitches as spam and get you kicked off the service.
  3. Keep it short and sweet. Journalists can get dozens or even hundreds of pitches for a single query. To increase your chances of getting quoted, keep your pitch short and relevant. If at all possible, try to keep your pitch to 5 sentences.
  4. Don’t forget alternate contact info.  Many journalists who turn to HARO are on strict deadlines. If you pitch a journalist and then forget to check your email all evening, then you may miss out on your chance to be quoted. Provide a phone number so busy journalists can find you before their deadline arrives.

Have you ever used HARO to get press for your online store?