​Lawyers Guide to HARO

By June 5, 2017Branding, Reputation

HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It, along with other query services like SourceBottle and ProfNet, are some of the easiest do-it-yourself publicity tools for you and your practice. Journalists use these services to find experts, information, tips, case studies, and quotes to use in their publications.

All you need to do is create an account and start scanning the daily emails that come in. Then, respond to those related to your field and those that match your experience. You might find yourself quoted in publications as diverse as Fortune and Huffington Post. There are also opportunities to be interviewed for radio and podcast spots.

Setting Up an Account

The subscription is free and once you create your account, you’ll immediately start getting ‘master’ emails. There are three daily emails with queries broken down by categories. We recommend that you stick to these three daily emails. If you filter the categories based on your field, you’ll end up getting even more daily emails. Plus, you might miss out on a great opportunity because you’ve filtered something out.

Search for All Opportunities

The key to finding success with HARO is by finding and responding quickly to a query. It’s important to take two minutes to scan the emails as soon as they come in. Take note, if the source is anonymous or not listed, these are typically from a major media outlet.

If you miss the emails on any given day, go ahead and delete them. The idea is not to waste your time chasing leads that are already gone or are not a good fit for you. The idea is to catch the leads that help you promote your expertise and your practice. Respond only to the best leads. But there are a ton of queries – so it’s ok to be selective. Especially as you’re getting familiar with HARO.

Another good practice is to do some quick research on the media outlet. If it’s one that you want to be associated with, then move forward. Other things that you might want to consider:

  • How mainstream is the publication?
  • Do your clients read the publication?
  • Is it credible?
  • Would other attorneys be impressed to see you quoted in the publication?
  • Is this something you want to align your practice with?

Who Can Use HARO?

Anyone with expertise to share can respond to a HARO inquiry. This is about promoting your practice and getting exposure. For each article that you’re featured in, potential clients will see your name and come to associate you as an authority.

How to Respond to a Source

Once you find a query that’s a good match, you need to write a concise email response that follows the guidelines exactly. Spend 30 minutes or less crafting your pitch. Most journalists provide specific instructions to follow.

It’s a good idea to start with who you are and why you’re the best person to answer this question. That way the report has some context for your response.

Tips For Responding to Requests

  • Reply to requests with complete and relevant information that answers the journalists
  • Include a bio of yourself and your contact information but… keep it brief. Very brief.
  • Don’t include attachments. If you have supporting documentation, use a Dropbox link in your email.
  • Respond quickly. As quickly as possible and definitely before the listed deadline.
  • Respond with precise information. Make sure you’ve answered the question or questions.
  • Don’t suggest a different story. HARO is clear that journalists are not to be spammed.
  • Get to the point. No need to pad the response.
  • Don’t respond with a generic line, directing a journalist to your website for the answer. You may have answered the question in a previous blog, but you still need to answer it directly in your response.
  • Do include a link to your website or LinkedIn profile as an additional reference.
  • Once you’ve been featured in a few places, you can also include those links in your response.

Sample Response Template

Subject Line: Attorney for {Query Topic}

{First Name},

I’m an attorney with {experience in subject matter or product line}.

In reference to your query on {subject}, I can {answer query requirements}.

Would you be interested in talking to me further about {subject}? Please email me or call me at {contact info}.


{Website or LinkedIn page}

Best Practices

It’s really very simple. Respond quickly, respond thoroughly. Don’t try to sell something the journalist is not buying. Explain who you are and why they should use your response.

Be sure to stay on top of media mentions by setting up Google Alters, Mention, or Talkwalker. Journalists won’t always notify you that they are using your response in their article. These alerts will let you know when you’ve been mentioned in the news. Then, share the link to the publication on your social media and website.

It also doesn’t hurt to send the reporter a thank you note or re-tweet another article they’ve written.

Are you ready to be quoted in the most prestigious publications of your field, but need help getting started? We monitor, screen and pitch directly to reporters on your behalf so you never miss an opportunity.