There’s no doubt about it—media coverage sells books far better than using advertising. Finding media coverage can be a challenge for an author but HARO (Help a Reporter Out) can be a matchmaking service made in heaven. From their website: “HARO provides journalists with a robust database of sources for upcoming stories and daily opportunities for sources to secure valuable media coverage.”
Journalists (and there are over 55,000 journalists and bloggers registered with HARO) are always looking for stories to cover, especially those with a fresh twist or particular relevance (for example, a book about climate change would be a natural pitch around Earth Day).
Media outlets, like TIME, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, use stories gleaned from this site.
How It Works
Registering is easy. There are already 800,000 users the service to connect with journalists.
There are two critical pieces to securing the best chance for your story to spark a journalist’s interest:
After sign-up, you will receive a daily email containing a list of topics journalists are looking for that day and you can look out for source requests relevant to you or your book(s). The list is blind—it typically does not say where the request originates (which journalist). Your best bet is to send in your pitch and hope for a response. In addition, HARO recommends that you check your email three times a day at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m. Why the odd numbers? No idea, and if anyone knows the answer I’d love to hear it.
Craft a polished pitch. Include any special requests for information, any specified requirements and a bio. It’s free to sign up to HARO and it can yield some great results, from connecting with influencer bloggers, to niche publications to major news coverage in publications like the WSJ.
CAVEAT: Don’t’ underestimate the importance of #2 above. You need to have your pitch honed and perfected to within an inch of its life. You want to be able to answer HARO requests as soon as possible to have your pitch first in the journalist’s inbox.
Good luck and I’d love to hear your success stories.
In other news, I am going to be away for the next three weeks. In my absence, Katarina Andersson will be contributing three blogs on building an author platform and a writing career in an industry that many of us know and love—wine! Enjoy!!
I will see you again on October 22nd!