Laura Petrolino

The Non-Official HARO Query (Help a Reporter Out) Blooper Reel

By: Laura Petrolino | February 21, 2017 | 

The Non-Official HARO Query (Help a Reporter Out) Blooper ReelOne earned media tactic PR pros either love or hate is the HARO query.

HARO (which stands for Help a Reporter Out) is a platform that connects reporters to sources three times every day.

Very simply, a journalist submits a query, it goes out through email to the HARO list, and a source (or PR representation for that source) responds.

I personally love it!

How I Use HARO

I use HARO in a number of ways:

  • Directly respond to queries on behalf of clients
  • Research trending stories and areas of interest for outside pitches or owned content
  • Build relationships with reporters beyond the initial story (I’d say about 70 percent of the queries I respond to have resulted in a longer term relationship with the reporter or editor, which has resulted in other placements down the line).
  • Help out colleagues and friends. I’ll often see something I know would be perfect for a colleague and send it over. It’s a nice, small way to support the organizations and people I believe in.

If you haven’t used it before, I’d try it and see if you like it.

It takes very little time to scan the emails each day and see if there is anything of value for your client or organization.

Even if you never respond to one HARO query, I think you’ll find value just from the ideas perspective for outside pitching or development of your own content.

HARO Queries that Make You Go Hmmmm…

But honestly this post isn’t about how or why to use HARO, this post is about the other benefit of their emails…comic relief.

There is probably at least one HARO query every day that makes me laugh ridiculously hard.

I chose a few of the best I’ve collected during the last several months.

It’s a short week, it’s been a long month, and I think we all need some quality comic relief as we bring February to a close.

So, you’re welcome.

A HARO Query for Every Type of Organization (Even the Weird Ones)

  • Seeking doctor for “best laxative” article: Because what doctor doesn’t want to be know as the foremost expert in laxatives?
  • Calling all sword swallowers!: Dang it! If only I was a sword swallower, I’d be famous!
  • Prostitute from Germany personal essay for print mag: For every German prostitute waiting to tell her story….HARO has you covered.
  • Looking to talk to a porn star who got their start on Reddit: I didn’t even know that was a thing? I’ve obviously been trying to launch my porn career the wrong way (ohhh…so many innuendos). But really I’m joking guys. Don’t worry,Dad!
  • Tips to help cats with depression: Betsy Decillis? Did you post this one?
  • Do you have a tattoo and your partner has the connecting half?: Oh goodness, so many relationship regrets waiting to happen there…
  • Expert on penis injections: Hopefully not answered by the same respondents as the prostitute query.
  • Instagram users of the “oatmeal community”: There’s an oatmeal community? I mean, I love oatmeal, but do we need a community? #oatmealisbae? And the directions on this one: Needs to be an Instagram user who posts photos of oatmeal often.
  • Experts on intercourse tourism: Here’s another one for you Betsy.
  • Experts on uncombable hair syndrome: OMG! I totally have this some days.
  • Seeking senior citizens who pole dance: Life goals here…really! Beyond the club scene, pole dancing takes mad skill and strength. I’m barely coordinated to do it now!

And there you have it. Some of my favorites!

I do encourage you to join HARO, both to support your earned and owned media efforts, and for the mere comic joy on the oddball HARO query (or if you are part of the oatmeal community).

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.