Do you know of HARO? Help a Reporter Out, known as HARO, is a website that connects journalists to sources that can contribute to the articles they are writing. HARO could be useful for almost anyone in any profession but, this article is directed towards mental health professionals. As a therapist specializing in OCD, Tourette, & related issues, I’ve been using HARO for quite a while and have contributed to Huffpost, Bustle, UpJourney & more. Once you sign up for HARO, you will receive 3 emails per day with the various article ideas and questions from journalists. Below is what a typical email in the Lifestyle and Fitness category might look like.
Lifestyle and Fitness
43)Wellness Cruises: Looking to interview someone who's been on one (expert or not) (Reader's Digest)
44)College Grad Gift Ideas (Anonymous)
45)Benefits of Drinking Chlorophyll Water (Elite Daily)
46)Meatless Monday Promotions (Restaurants) (Chowhound)
47)Need healthy breakfast ideas (Live In The Now)
48)What doctors wish you knew about sleep (Bustle)
49)Travel Books South Africa (Lifney)
50)Books Every Millennial Should Read (Fupping)
51)Questions to ask a Pediatrician During a Visit (NYMetroParents.com)
If you feel as though you are qualified to provide the information they are looking for, you simply reply to the email listed. It’s just that simple and just that hard. We’ll discuss how to increase the likelihood that your submission is chosen later. So you already know the WHERE (https://www.helpareporter.com/) now let’s discuss the WHY and HOW.
Why would I want to spend time on this?
Great question and there are a multitude of answers.
If you are a therapist in private practice, it is an excellent way to promote your brand. When you contribute to large media outlets, not only do you get recognition as an expert on the matter but, you typically get the advantage of a backlink. What’s a backlink? This is when the journalist provides a link to your website within their article.
If you have a new book, research study, or academic article to highlight, you can often request that the journalist mention this as part of your brief bio. There is no guarantee it will be listed but, you can always ask.
HARO is a way to provide evidence based information to the public. Let’s be real….there is a lot of bullshit information out there. By contributing information based on research, you are appropriately educating the public and leading them to treatments, clinics, medication, and methods that can actually help rather than spending time and money on nonsense!
How do I use HARO?
There is a difference in simply signing up for HARO and actually using HARO to your advantage. Let’s discuss the latter.
First, be sure you have something valuable to contribute that sets you apart. Chances are the first thing that comes to your mind may be the first thing that comes to the mind of all others within your specialty. On the opposite side, overthinking it and spending an hour to write a 2 paragraph email isn’t a good use of your time either.
Make sure you provide the journalist a brief bio and ask for a backlink to your website. Your bio, although it will be fairly consistent submission to submission, can be slightly tweaked according to the content of the article. For example, the usual byline after my name is “Specializing in OCD, Tourette, & related disorders. However, if the story is specifically on tics, perhaps I would list Tourette first. Also, include any other media to which you’ve contributed.
I once read that a journalist can get anywhere between 500-700 responses to an inquiry. Each inquiry also lists the deadline. So, in order to increase the chances of your submission even being viewed, get in early. If their deadline is 7pm Thursday, don’t bother sending anything a 6pm…chances are they’ve finalized their choices.
Give copy ready information. The journalist wants to be able to use your information easily so, answer the question and assume your quote will be printed as-is. For example, let’s say you see an inquiry that says “Looking for Therapists to Speak About Anxiety’s Impact on Relationships”. Lead in with your bio so that you establish your expertise and they keep reading, then provide a 2-3 sentence quote (sometimes more) with relevant information you have to share. If you simply put, “I specialize in Anxiety and it effects many relationships” that is far too basic information and it likely won’t be chosen.
Use an interesting subject in your email. It doesn’t have to be cheesy and over the top but, again, if they are seeing 500+ emails what is going to set you apart?
Lastly, look to see if your piece was used. Only once have I had the reporter circle back to inform me that they used my quote. Typically, you will have to find this through a backlink checker or Googling the name of the article.
Have you had success using HARO? If so, feel free to share.
Go get ‘em,