If you’re a business owner, you’re going to love Help A Reporter Out, or HARO. Why? You will have about 150 topics from journalists looking for expert sources for in your inbox! (Publicists love it too!)

One person responded to everything that he could, that was fit, in one month using the tips I outline below and earned 60 media hits IN ONE MONTH! (FYI – that’s an INSANE amount.)

You can sign up for HARO for free and be quoted as an expert at www.helpareporterout.com.

I suggest signing up to get three emails a day with everything. While something may NOT be in your niche, you could be in a story that someone in your niche sees. I can’t tell you how many times those little things that appeared to not make sense turned into something big. (Plus, many times a health story will be filed under “general” instead of “health” for example.)

HARO, Help A Reporter Out Now, lots of people get these emails and respond. Because I’ve been on both sides, I have some tips that will ensure your reply to a HARO request is used.

Be quick.

Most journalists don’t wait for what’s best. They take what’s first. I already set times to check my email every day. I suggest scheduling when you check your email and time it for right after a HARO comes through – around 5:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 5:30 pm.

The subject line.

Unlike any other email where you want to make the subject line sexy, in this case, you want to copy and paste EXACTLY what the journalist put in the HARO request. This makes it easy on their end to know what you’re emailing about if they have more than one HARO request. Note: The email you’re responding to will not show their email address. It’s a HARO address that feeds into their email.

Give them EXACTLY what they want.

Many times, journalists will not respond to you to hear more. They will copy and paste whatever you wrote. So be sure to respond to whatever their question is. This is NOT a time to promote yourself. It’s not their job to promote you. Remember, they already have their story. They need your help telling it, so just help them. free-media

End with your credentials, contact information, and social media channels.

At the end of every pitch, I let the journalist know how I want to be titled, what my website is, and how I know what I’m talking about. Two to three sentences work for this. Link backs are everything because they make it easy for others to find you and the more you have in other places, the better your SEO, which leads to you being found higher in a search engine.

Start a relationship.

Add a little note to the journalist like, “Please let me know if this is published so I can share it with my network.” I also ask who I should tag on social media. By saying this, you give the journalist an incentive to use your quote because you just told him or her you’re going to share it. When you do share it and tag them on social media, they will notice and come back to you for more.

If and when they respond to your pitch, you will have their direct email address – not just the HARO address. SAVE THIS! Start building a media list with this so you can pitch this journalist again since you’ve started a relationship.

Now, go be your own publicist!