Peter Shankman’s “If I Can Help a Reporter Out” – Awesome Resource

Posted on August 20, 2008

HARO

Peter Shankman’s “If I Can Help a Reporter Out”

This is a very cool site for both sides of the story – the writer/documentarian and source. There’s two parts to HARO.

The main part is where anyone can sign up for the mailing list. A few times a day you get an email with a list of request for experts or opinions on all sorts of topics (life hacking anyone?). You then reply to the reporter if you fit what they need and boom – a reporter gets a valuble source.

The other side is obviously if you’re writing an article or working on something where you need a quote or source on a topic. Fill out the form and your request will go out in the next email.

I’ve now used this twice, once with poor results and the other with very good.

The first time I asked for life hackers to get back to me if they were in California and wanted to be interviewed. Only one person got back and I did interview her and she was great, but still, only one response. Looking back, it’s probably because no one knows what the hell life hacking is.

The next time the headline was ‘4-Hour Workweek Followers,’ based on Tim Ferriss’ bestselling book. I sent that a few days ago. I’m still getting responses.

The request was even forwarded all the way to Tim himself and he actually responded to my emails and called me. Yeah, you know I saved that message. We’re now set up for an interview this Thursday.

So some tips I’ve discovered to get maximum responses:

  • Use the most well known description of what you’re looking for, even if that’s something very specific. Better to filter out responses than get none.
  • There’s a spot if your request is location specific. No one reads that. If it really is loc specific, restate that in the description.
  • If you have a site, put it in the description. This is something I wish I did. Even if they don’t respond, it’ll still generate some traffic and awareness.
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