Imagine having to respond to 50 emails in one week. That’s exactly what I had to do when I submitted my queries on HARO. As the amount of sticky notes on my desk increased, there was a moment when I asked myself why I decided to give myself that much work. The problem was not the workload. The problem at the time was that I did not know how to get rid of the workload fast enough.
The people who use HARO for journalism know that it often requires a lot of work. Some journalists read hundreds of emails that they get from HARO every day. I knew that would eventually happen to me as I sent out more queries. However, I knew that by sending out more queries, I would also be able to build more connections and provide my readers with more quality content.
After sending out the query and getting all of the pitches, the first thing you need to do is read all of those pitches in 1 day. As you read the pitches, write in a notebook the names of the people who you would like to contact. On the next day, send these people emails telling them they are possible candidates or have already been chosen.
The big thing you need to do is have a rubric set up for the email. When I tell people that they may be included in my book or blog post, I send the same exact message. I am a big fan of personalized messages for the first few customers, but when it comes to responding to pitches, sending personalized messages is too time consuming. Create as many rubrics as you can until you are confronted with writing the content that will be included in your book or your blog post.
In order to send out emails faster, you need to flag all of the emails related to your HARO query. By flagging the emails related to your HARO query, you will be able to easily find those emails instead of searching for them in your inbox time and time again. When people respond to your first email, flagging those emails will allow you to identify the total number of emails that you need to reply to. Seeing the number of emails that you have to write will give you a goal. It is a well-known fact that we get more done faster when we give ourselves goals.
Your goal should be to dedicate an entire week of your time to send out all of the emails. After you send out all of the emails and start to get some responses, dedicate another week to respond to all of the responses. Another thing you want to factor in is how you will ask for more information. Some journalists call the people they want to talk to while others type some questions for the person to answer. I type the questions for people to answer because that saves a lot of times. Only during rare exceptions will I call someone on the phone.
The secret to being a HARO journalist is seeing and responding to as many pitches as possible. It’s not about creating a master piece of an email because the person who sent the pitch already sees you as a possible opportunity to build their preeminence. Saying “I’m interested in hearing more” and leaving the questions would still get a response. However, the ideal way to respond to a pitch is by saying you are interested in learning more (in 4-6 sentences) and then include the questions. In the sentences I use, I thank the person for sending the pitch, say they are likely to be featured on my blog or book, repeat the process of thanking them, and then remind them where they will be featured (some people send out numerous pitches every day).
There’s the secret sauce. This is how I respond to people on HARO quickly and effectively. What are your thoughts on this method, and how do you use HARO?
Thanks for the posts on HARO, Marc. I’d heard of it mainly as a research tool, never thinking I might use it this way. I have a question about it; when I registered I found you have to list a company. Since I do not have one of my own yet I listed my current employer. Is that a problem? Any answers I provide there will be mine alone but I wanted to make sure about this. Again, I appreciate your advice about HARO.
Marc Guberti says
Hey Louis, thanks for coming by. You rock!
Your question about HARO is a good one. For my queries, I have the link to my blog as the media outlet. This results in my blog gaining traffic and more people learning about my story. If you are writing a book, you can simply use the media outlet as the title of your book. You should not use your employer’s name if this is an independent project.