Three times each weekday an email from Help A Reporter Out™ (HARO) arrives in my Jeff Fisher LogoMotives inbox. Each cyber missive lists requests from reporters, writers and editors for sources on a wide variety of news or feature story topics. Making use of HARO has become an important aspect of the marketing and promotion of my design, writing and speaking efforts.
Peter Shankman created HARO due to reporter friends calling him for sources. On the HARO site he mentions, "Rather than go through my contact lists each time, I figured I could push the requests out to people who actually have something to say." (Shankman also occasionally posts an urgent media request on Twitter using the handle @skydiver.)
Over the years developing relationships with the media has resulted in a great deal of exposure for my business in newspapers, magazines, websites and books. In the past, much of that exposure was a direct result of my Toot! Toot!" press releases. I've always told "creative types" that when a writer or reporter touches base with possible media exposure, everything should be dropped to respond to the request. I'm always ready with my own customizable media kit.
With a latte in hand, I will scroll through the daily HARO email listings searching for source requests that may be appropriate in promoting some aspect of my business efforts. The results have been surprising - and incredibly valuable as marketing efforts.
Writer Tim "Gonzo' Gordon, of the blog Communication Steriods, posted a HARO request asking public speakers to share how they made past presentations fun and entertaining for their audiences. I've been know to do just that. I sent Gordon a few examples for inclusion in his blog, and possible future book, and was included in the recent entry Making Public Speaking Fun (Part 5).
Gwen Moran posted a HARO request, in preparing an article in a national business magazine, for marketing re-designs to be featured and critiqued in the publication. I submitted the case study for one of my most successful redesign and branding efforts. Moran then contacted me, suggesting that instead of having a worked critiqued in the article I be a member of the three-person panel reviewing the re-design projects of others. As the author of the book Identity Crisis!: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands, the writer felt I was more than qualified to be an expert for the piece. The result was the article Five Great - and Necessary - Marketing Makeovers in the February 2009 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. (Note: The article has since also been posted on the site of U.S. News and World Report.)
I certainly didn't expect to find a HARO item requesting "graphic designers who have worked with nail salons." That seemed a bit specific - but I had created identity designs and more for the three nail salon ventures of one client. I sent the information to writer Ami Neiberger-Miller and was soon being interviewed for an article in the leading trade publication NAILS Magazine. My very happy client and I were featured in the article Graphic Design 101, both in print and online.
I would recommend that any business seeking increased media exposure, or wishing to establish valuable relationships with media individuals, visit the HARO website and register to receive the email updates of source requests. The potential exposure, and possible customer introduction to your business, are more than worth the investment in time - and a latte or two.
© 2009 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives