HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, is a free service that links news stories, businesses, reporters and bloggers together. I had never heard of this great service until recently. Not only does this service provide reporters with potential stories, but it also is another social site for networking with other professionals. Help a Reporter Out was founded in 2008 by Peter Shankman, a businessman, author, and speaker, among other things.
Help a Reporter Out is beneficial for several reasons. Some reporters may like to stray away from the typical stories revolving around politics and tragedies occurring around the world. That is where HARO comes into play. With over 100,000 news sources to peruse, a reporter will surely be able to find something worth writing about for his publication.
The fact that so many people use this service provides more opportunities to network. When a reporter or blogger begins to network, he is in essence marketing himself to potential employers, clients, contacts, and other professionals. The people you know, the easier it can be to score an interview with someone you might otherwise not be able to meet with.
HARO allows users to submit pitches. This is useful because it allows users to share ideas about a particular company. PR practitioners can submit pitches to reporters to spread the word about the company they work for. Submitting pitches on HARO (and other online sites) is a much faster method of spreading word about company events and news than faxing and e-mailing. This is because the site is constantly being fed and updated.
This is an excellent site for people who are just beginning in the public relations field or for people who have been reporting for years or even for entrepreneurs who are running businesses. When using this service, as with any news service, it is important for companies and individuals to use discretion with what they post.