How PR Pros Can Take Advantage of ProfNet and HARO
In the public relations world, you nearly always have an inbox full of ProfNet and HARO queries. If you don’t know what either of those things are, you definitely should.
HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a free service that connects journalists to sources. Each day, HARO will send out several emails containing queries from journalists that explain stories they’re working on and exactly what kinds of sources they need.
ProfNet, a division of PR Newswire, essentially does the same thing, but there is a fee to receive the emails. Subscribers receive around 15 emails per day containing queries from journalists seeking sources for their stories.
In both HARO and ProfNet emails, journalists provide contact information and a deadline so if you have a client that matches their query, you can respond in a timely manner. However, be extremely selective with who you respond to and ensure you have exactly what they need.
Because HARO and ProfNet are extremely popular tools for PR pros, journalists who submit queries receive floods of responses, some good and some bad. So how can you make your client stand out?
- Read the entire query: Imagine yourself in a journalist’s shoes. You have to write a story on a tight deadline and need an expert source immediately. You turn to HARO or ProfNet and send out a query detailing what you need. Your inbox begins pinging every second with hundreds of responses. Imagine how annoying it must be to receive responses that have absolutely nothing to do with what you asked for. You took the time to detail out exactly what you need – why can’t PR people take the time to thoroughly read it to make sure it’s a good fit? So, read the entire query and read it again to be sure your source fulfills the journalist’s needs!
- Be concise: Nothing is more annoying than reading a 10-page long email when you’re in a hurry. The simple fact is that no journalist is going to take the time to read through more than a paragraph or two when they have hundreds of other responses.
- First come, first served: If you respond to a ProfNet or HARO even a few hours after it was sent out, you’re probably too late. As I’ve said, journalists get so many responses to these queries. They’re going to dig through the first responses they get until they find a reliable source, and then they’ll probably ignore the rest. So, it’s extremely important to periodically check your inbox for ProfNet or HAROs to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities.
It can be time consuming to read through all of the ProfNets and HAROs that are sent in a day, but when you get a client in the Wall Street Journal, as SPR Atlanta has done several times, by responding to relevant queries, it’ll all be worth it!