Get book publicity with HARO

HARO

Want free book publicity? Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out — HARO.

HARO is a free daily email service that connects journalists with sources. The 800,000-plus people who use it receive three e-mails a day loaded with queries from journalists who describe what they’re looking for in a source and why.

If you make the effort to scan those emails for opportunities to contribute your expertise or experience, you and your book could be mentioned in the news or on a blog.

The trick to getting an interview and subsequent exposure — all of which you don’t pay for — is responding to the right queries appropriately. More on that later, though. It helps to first understand more about HARO and how the system works.

How HARO works

Once you sign up to receive HARO emails, you’ll receive an email with queries in the morning, at midday, and early evening.

The queries are divided into a few broad categories:

  • Biotech and healthcare
  • Business and finance
  • Education
  • Entertainment and media
  • General
  • High tech
  • Lifestyle and fitness
  • Travel

A recent edition included queries from a wide range of publications, including Reader’s Digest, CreditKarma.com, and U.S. News & World Report. Topics needing sources ranged from osteopathy for pets to creating a career bucket list and seasonal affective disorder.

Journalists from print, online, and broadcast media outlets as well as bloggers are often searching for either expert sources or anecdotes to quote in their pieces.

Here’s an example query pulled from a recent HARO e-mail. (Note that I removed identifying information to protect the journalist and the outlet, replacing those identifiers with “deleted.”)

book publicity with HARO 2

How to respond to HARO requests

HARO 3As already noted, if you respond to these queries appropriately, you’ve got a shot at getting your name, book title, and advice included in an article or segment.

If you respond inappropriately? The journalist deletes your response. You’ve lost that opportunity to get your book title in front of the right people or showcase your subject knowledge.

The folks at HARO offer helpful “Rules for Sources” that can guide you. Read them carefully — they offer a good start.

I also offer six “must-dos” and three things you should never do when responding to HARO queries in my free “How to Respond to HARO Requests” cheat sheet.

All you have to do is click the blue bar below, and I’ll email it to you immediately. It’s free. And, it could make the difference between getting an interview and resulting valuable media exposure or having your response to the reporter deleted.

Some sources say that publicity — that free media exposure you get when you’re interviewed or the media runs your press release or tip sheet — is worth 10 times more than paid advertising. With that in mind, why wouldn’t you use a free service like HARO to try to get book publicity?

HARO works

I know it works.

My second book enjoyed three press runs partly because I used this and another similar service to connect with journalists writing articles about the book’s subject.

As a freelance writer, I regularly use HARO to find sources to interview for article assignments like this one, “Build-A-Box.”

I’ve used it as a blogger, too. For example, I found many of the sources for my recent post, “28 book marketing tips from authors, publicists, and marketers,” through HARO.

Give it a try. But please, read the company’s guidelines and my cheat sheet first. These resources will keep you from wasting your time.

We want you to succeed.

Have you used HARO or a similar service to snag great book publicity? Tell us about it in a comment! 


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” (https://buildbookbuzz.com/gift) and you’ll also receive the free weekly
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9 Responses to Get book publicity with HARO
  1. Marcia Yudkin
    November 22, 2017 | 12:16 pm

    Sandy, I wonder if you could offer some tips on how to make responding to HARO requests a habit or how to work it into one’s daily schedule.

    Even though – like you – I recommend people use HARO, I found myself unable to use it for publicity seeking myself because 1)The daily volume was off-putting and 2)The effort required to think through each appropriate request from the point of view of the media person involved was not something I could manage every day on the spot, yet this works only when you jump on each appropriate request.

    The only coping mechanism I know of for this problem is to have a virtual assistant (VA) screen HARO for you as one of her paid duties.

    Other ideas?

    Marcia Yudkin

    • Sandra Beckwith
      November 22, 2017 | 7:08 pm

      Marcia, for some, making it a daily habit might not make sense. It might be better to scan only one of the three emails daily, or only look at all three in one day during one day a week, etc. I also look at only the category where I’d find queries requiring my expertise, so I can scan them quickly — as in, it takes me just seconds.

      I’ve also noticed that I can sometimes copy and paste from past responses to HARO and then do some customization. To facilitate that, I have a “HARO” folder in my email and funnel copies of my responses there so I can find them easily if I think one of them might be a good starting point for a new response. It saves reinventing the wheel.

      I’ll add that as a journalist who uses HARO for sources, I rarely send a query for an assignment with a short turn-around time, so the early bird doesn’t always get the worm. I focus on expert quality, not speed of response, because I can. That means that even if you respond to my query 48 hrs after it shows up in your inbox, if you respond appropriately and it’s clear you’re a great source, you have a good shot at getting an interview.

      In general, though, whenever I need to turn something into a regular habit, I add it to my calendar. That step protects the time and I get a pop-up reminder that forces me to address it.

      I hope this helps…even a little!

      Sandy

  2. J Marie Booklets
    November 22, 2017 | 3:21 pm

    I have used HARO for a long time. I was a journalism student and used it as a way to get sources for the articles that I wrote.

    Now, I use it as a way to get publicity for my books. I was interviewed 3 times this year, and one magazine even had a photographer come and do a photo op with me. Talk about jumping up and down when I got a copy of the magazine!

    The volume of requests can be overwhelming, but when I think of the publicity I could be missing out on, I just buckle down and read them.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      November 22, 2017 | 6:57 pm

      That’s fantastic! Congratulations! Based on your experience, if you could offer authors one tip on how to use HARO effectively, what would it be? (And hey, no problem if you don’t want to answer that question!)

      Thanks!
      Sandy

      • J Marie Booklets
        November 24, 2017 | 8:57 am

        When I send a pitch, I don’t include the fact that I’ve written a book. I just try to sell myself as best as I can. If they do decide that they want to interview me more, when they email me to ask additional questions or to schedule a telephone interview, they’ll see a list of my books underneath my email signature.

        I’ve tried mentioning the fact that I have written a book in the pitches before and I was unsuccessful. So I just tried a different approach and it worked.

        • Sandra Beckwith
          November 26, 2017 | 3:34 pm

          Thanks! This is really interesting because as a journalist, I often look specifically for authors to interview.

          Sandy

  3. Shoshanah
    November 27, 2017 | 3:24 pm

    Thanks for this info. I look forward to reading your cheat sheet. I hope it will help me to use HARO more effectively.

    I have had one comment published, but they did not mention my book title, just stated I am an author.

    Looking forward to working through the material you send.

    Thanks for putting this together

    Shoshanah

  4. Richard Lowe
    December 3, 2017 | 1:51 pm

    I’ve had a lot of good luck with HARO. I’ve gotten featured more than 50 times over the last year.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      December 3, 2017 | 10:46 pm

      It’s a great resource. Glad it works for you.

      Sandy

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