How to Use Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

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One of the best ways for you to be perceived as an authority on insurance is to be quoted by national, regional, or local news sources. Public relations firms charge thousands of dollars each month to place you and your content with media outlets. And, you don’t need to pay that much. You can do it yourself using just a little bit of guerrilla marketing.

HARO

Last week, a quote from my book, The Bezos Letters, was included in an article published on the Data Center Frontier website. The placement of that quote did not happen by accident. The author included my quote because I pitched him after he asked for comments from experts willing to contribute to his article. I pitched him based on the information contained in my book. He ended up using my quote, and I received exposure to an industry that was not on my radar at all.

You can do the same thing with a little bit of work on your part.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a service sponsored by CISION (a press release delivery firm) that connects journalists seeking expertise to include in their content with sources who have that expertise.

Once you sign up as “a source,” you will begin receiving three emails a day for each specific topic. As you can see from this picture, I currently receive requests for High Tech and Business and Finance.

Query Examples

The Business and Finance category often includes requests for experts about various insurance topics. The following are some actual examples from the last few weeks.

Media Outlet: Forbes

Query:

I’m working on a story about auto insurance for people who own electric vehicles and hybrids. What kind of insurance do you need for your car? How is it different from a conventional car? I’m interested in hearing from anyone who owns an EV and had to buy insurance recently. What were you looking for? From insurance experts, I’d love to get your advice. How does insurance differ if you’re driving an EV or hybrid? Are there any claims issues that might be different when you’re driving that kind of vehicle?

Requirements:

Please read this before answering. I’d be very grateful if you could send an initial response to my questions by email. Please do not respond with a note that says you would like to be considered for this story or want to set up a phone interview with a source. I’m happy to consider you for this story. I’ve included all of my questions in this query. Please take a minute to briefly answer them. If a phone interview is necessary, I will follow up right away. Kindly also include your full name and a jargon-free, brief (two to three word) description of your company or affiliation as you would like it to appear in the article. I will do my absolute best to acknowledge that I received your pitch and will make every effort to let you know when the story appears.

I would certainly like to be able to include being quoted by Forbes on my website and LinkedIn Profile, wouldn’t you?

Media Outlet: National publication/news site

Query:

For a finance site: I’m looking for experts to explain the difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker.

How are each paid? Are each always truly acting in the best interests of the client, or are they motivated by commissions, fees, etc.? Can both offer the same types of products?

Summary: Looking for property & casualty insurance experts

Query:

I’m looking for property & casualty insurance experts to guide restaurants/bars offering outdoor dining.

If you’re an insurance agent or broker, please answer these questions:
– What are the essential types of coverage restaurants/bars need to protect themselves against storm damage?
– What insurance do mobile restaurants/bars (e.g. food trucks) need?
– How can uninsured restaurants/bars get help if they were damaged in the recent storm?
– When is flood insurance important?

Requirements:

– Must be working in the property or casualty insurance industry and willing to be quoted online.
– Please send your name and job title.

Who, Not How

Starting to look for media opportunities using Help a Reporter Out is an example of the principle of “Who, Not How.” What I mean is you should now be thinking who can I find to do this for me, not how can I do this myself. This is a principle I continue to teach myself.

If you sign up for HARO, you will start receiving three emails a day — morning, afternoon, and evening – with queries from a wide range of publications. Sometimes each email contains 10 to 20 different questions. You need to realize that scanning through these emails looking for a query you want to respond to can take some time. I think finding a high school or college intern who can do this on your behalf is well worth the effort. You should also consider using a virtual assistant.

You can also use these queries to guide the development of your website content. If a reporter is asking the question about insurance differences based on the type of electric vehicle, that may be a topic you will want to research and write about.

It takes work to make this strategy pay off. I currently get about one media placement for every 5 to 10 query responses I make.

What local, regional, or national media placements have you been able to make?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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