5 Reasons Why HARO is Like Craigslist

Including 5 Ways HARO Can Help Build Your Brand

HARO logoHARO, also known as Help A Reporter Out, is a service that connects writers, bloggers and reporters with a broad base of resources that extends beyond those represented by PR professionals. HARO is the brainchild of Peter Shankman, who’s known for helping media folks find subject matter experts, whether they’re his clients or not. Peter created HARO by applying his media-matchmaking to a Facebook fan page. When the group outgrew Facebook’s ability to send its email updates, he moved it to its own website and added Twitter for urgent requests.

Three times a business day, HARO sends regularly scheduled emailings with Peter’s colorful, personal comments that encourage readers to spread the word. HARO’s service is free, supported by a single text ad written by Peter that appear at the top of each emailing. Garnering double-digit click-throughs (CTRs), these ads are highly effective because there’s no ad clutter and it’s integrated with short, scannable content that’s fun to read. Best of all—it doesn’t look, feel or smell like an ad.

5 Ways HARO is like Craigslist

Unlike established PR lead-generating companies, HARO leverages current digital tools to provide this service. Therefore, it’s not just media companies that need to worry about disruptive technologies. HARO is like Craigslist in the following 5 ways:

  1. Is free to use for both writers and potential sources. It doesn’t require access to a PR professional paying for an expensive subscription.
  2. Has broad reach since it taps into social sharing. Readers refer writers to members of their social graph to help their colleagues, not for financial reward.
  3. Uses social media platforms to extend reach, provide service, and build community compared to its more traditional competitors.
  4. Is strongly associated with its founder, Peter Shankman, versus an impersonal company. In the process, like Craigslist’s Craig Newmark, Peter’s extended his personal brand.
  5. Is a lean start up with limited overhead versus an established organization with fixed costs.

5 Ways to use HARO to build your brand

Regardless of your area of expertise, including that of stay-at-home moms, HARO yields value for its users. Here are five ways that HARO can expand your online footprint:

  1. Provide a free PR lead resource to make contact with writers covering your area of expertise. This helps build your reputation.
  2. Use to help networking efforts by giving networkers a reason to contact executives with relevant leads for timely stories while building good will.
  3. Is a useful resource to get input for your content such as third party columns, websites and blogs.
  4. Can find events where you can promote your product via give-aways and/or promotional offers to those looking to fill goodie bags
  5. Gives early insights into the types of stories reporters are covering which can be the basis for content on your website.

HARO’s lesson for both marketers and media entities is that you can’t be an ostrich sticking your head in the ground when new technologies are introduced. Instead play with these new tools to determine which ones are the most useful to your business. It helps to offer a product that builds goodwill through its sharing and whose participation is relatively frictionless.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

To sign up for HARO’s emailings, click here.
To follow Twitter alerts, click here.

Note: HARO was just sold to VOCUS, a PR services company best known for its PRWeb offering. Word is that little is expected to change with HARO’s offering.

Disclosure: Peter Shankman is a friend and colleague. He’s consistently a favorite presenter in my Digital Marketing classes at NYU’s Masters of Integrated Marketing.

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