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How to be the best source for HARO – tips from Brad Hines

bradford hines

Bradford Hines, a Digital Marketing & Social Media Strategist and big  time HARO user

We want to be the best source we can be when we use HARO, a free media and publicity tool. I had real fun “interviewing” Brad Hines, a Digital Marketing & Social Media Strategist to get some great tips.  Brad had “interviewed” and quoted  me in a story that he wrote: 8 Marketers Give Their best Advice  and I wanted to find out what a writer/reporter/blogger had to say about getting responses to their requests.  I respond to writer/reporter/blogger requests on a daily basis and I want to be the best I can be!

Read on for the inside scoop from Brad:

Trudy: What is your best advice for making pitches?

Brad: When I receive pitches, I like to see a few things: 

  1. That they have given a quality, original answer that is grammatically correct and spell- checked. 
  2. They have gone ahead and answered the parameters of my enquiry directly rather than ask to set up an Interview (although sometimes if it’s a publicist asking to set up an interview with a notable expert I will indeed ask for a meeting).
  3. I like when they have the details I asked for neatly marked in the respective order I marked, for example their full name, title, and how to be sourced if I use them.

Trudy: How often do you use HARO as a writer?

Brad: I’ve consistently put out about two enquiries a week.

Trudy: How many pitches do you typically get per request?

Brad: I’d say 25 is the average.

Trudy: Do you have anything else to share about making pitches?

Brad: I have a policy to answer back every single person who pitches me no matter what. It is both the right thing to do, and a good way to develop contacts. [my comments: I love this one because very few writers/reporters do this].  I have answered hundreds of queries on HARO myself. To the tune of about 20 received press appearances last year and when I follow the above guidelines, my pitches are more likely to be accepted too. I also believe that answering the query promptly helps.

Trudy: How do you “research” your potential contributors? Do you read the mini bio provided?

Brad: Yes.

Trudy: Do you click on website links (if provided)?

Brad: Yes. Especially to get a feel for who they are.

Trudy: Do you click on a linkedin profile?

Brad: Sometimes but not usually. Although I do thank all of them for their contribution, and ask them if they’d like to connect on social media. The majority choose Linkedin given the business aspect of the connection.

Trudy: Do you click on video link if provided? 

Brad: Yes. Especially if it is relevant to their pitch.

Trudy: Do you google them?

Brad: Yup.

Trudy: Do you check them out on Facebook or twitter?

Brad:  Less so, again, this mostly happens after the fact if they add me after I had told them they could do so. It’s less democratic of an approach, but you can check things like facebook and twitter to get a feel for their following and capability of sharing the story itself. I like to think most people receiving pitches go by the merit of the answer, but this is realistically not always going to be the case.

Trudy: Does the fact that someone is a published author give them more credibility?

Brad: Yes, although more importantly, I never rule anyone out simply because they were not published previously.

Trudy: Any final feedback?

Brad: With either answering pitches on HARO, or putting out enquires and dealing with pitches back, my best advice for either side of the fence is to treat everyone with a human approach. Give thorough well thought responses in both direction, be appreciative, and strive for understanding either when your pitch is rejected, or when people don’t pitch to you quite what you were looking for.

Thanks Brad!

PS. If you want to find out more about Brad here is his information

Digital Marketing & Social Media Strategist &
Freelance Writer | Founder

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18 Responses so far.

  1. Very interesting that he personally responds to each comment. I have had direct connections to HARO requests and not had any response. Perhaps I need to try again. I also couldn’t stand the barrage of emails!

    • Trudy Scott says:

      Mary Ellen
      Yes it is interesting that Brad responds to every pitch – and pretty unusual. He was great to work with! We emailed back and forth a few times before the article was even written and we now follow each other on social media.

      I typically get a response from journalists/writers/bloggers when I’m featured but even then, sometimes not. I may only know I’ve been featured when I get a google or talkwalker alert.

      I find it interesting that the “barrage of emails” bothered you – 3 per day at 3 set times seems reasonable to me especially when you consider the wonderful opportunities they lead to in the way of media coverage. To me, 3-6 media pieces a month makes it totally worthwhile! This plus some quotes in big, well-known publications like AARP, Glamour and Shape.

      I think you’re saying you have not had any success with HARO? If this is the case, I encourage you to be consistent and you will get results. I will be teaching a HARO class next month – to share what I have learned to get consistent results – it’s not rocket-science but I’ve found a system that works for me.


  2. This is helpful information, Trudy! I’m looking forward to learning more about using HARO. I think I saw you’re teaching a course on it, correct? I’m sure it will be awesome!

  3. Jessica says:

    These are great tips. Thanks for interviewing him Trudy!

  4. Sue Painter says:

    Great tips, Trudy. I used HARO in the past and then fell off the wagon – got busy with other things. I admire you for making such good use of it.

  5. Mitch Tublin says:

    Great insider tips on responding to HARO requests.
    Appreciate you sharing this with all of us.

  6. Trudy this is great info. I love that you’ve gone more in-depth on this topic and shared live responses from someone who searches for information and sources using HARO. And I agree it’s wonderful that he responds to everyone, like you that has not been my experience.

    But it’s an amazing tool and I’m really grateful to you for sharing it and how to use it effectively.

    • Trudy Scott says:

      Thanks Mira – I don’t ever want to assume what I’m doing is right so I figured I’d ask! I’ve actually “interviewed” a few others too and will be sharing their tips in future blog posts.

      I agree, it’s an amazing tool – and free!

  7. Heidi Alexandra says:

    Interesting to read this Trudy and to see how important social media and our personal brand profile is. I don’t use Haro so much here in Oz but a similar service called Source bottle and I have had a few mentions and articles used in daily newspapers and online as a direct result

    • Trudy Scott says:

      Thanks Heidi – I’ve heard of the Australian version, Source Bottle. Glad to hear it’s been working for you to get you some media coverage. Interestingly I signed up with them and tried for 3 months with zero response. I’m guessing they were wanting “local” – as in Australian – sources.

  8. Love this article Trudy! I have subscribed to HARO but I have not been taking the time to commit to the process. This article has inspired me. I will be reading the following up with HARO in the future.

    • Trudy Scott says:

      Hi Rose
      I hear too many people say they haven’t really worked at it and it’s such a pity because it’s such a great resource. I’m glad to hear it’s inspired you!

  9. Sonya says:

    I hadn’t heard about HARO until today. I really appreciated Brad’s recommendations about how to improve the likelihood of having one’s pitch accepted. I’m looking forward to learning more about this resource.

  10. Trudy, this is a fabulous post. Thanks for this very transparent interview. Today is the first time I’ve heard about HARO. I really appreciated Brad’s comments. Your questions gave me a solid understanding of what HARO looks for. I’ll be checking this out in more detail.

  11. Lisa Manyon says:

    Great interview and a nice refresher.
    Write on!~