PR for Startups and Small Businesses – Using HARO to Get In Other People’s Content

PR for Startups


In our last blog post, we went through how you can use HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to source your own blog posts and beef them up with external experts.  Now, we’re going to flip the script and talk about how you can use your own expertise to get your company or personal brand featured in other people’s blog posts, magazine articles, books, podcasts, and more.

Let’s look at how you can start finding writers who will put your advice, stories, and brand(s) right into their content.

To get you up to speed:  HARO is a site that helps journalists and content creators get connected with ‘sources’, or people who have some expertise to share regarding a topic they’re writing about.


Step 1.  Head to HARO and Sign up

HARO header

The first step is to grab a free HARO subscription.  Head to, click “I’m a source,” then follow the instructions to join their mailing list.

When you sign up, you’ll receive 3 emails per day in your inbox, each with 20-50 new pitches for projects people are working on.  They will be divided into categories, so you can skip right to the pitches regarding business & finance, or health, etc., depending on what you feel you can respond to in an interesting way.

email example

An example of some story request headlines in a HARO email; clicking on each gives more details about what the content creator is looking for.


Step 2.  Respond to the pitches you can offer insight on.

email to journalist

Each pitch will describe what the author is looking for, along with any specific requirements (“must have been working in HR for 5+ years,” “please include photos with your text,” etc.).

If you click the link to reply to a pitch, you’ll get a fresh email window filled in with an address that will forward your input (or “pitch” in HARO-speak) right through to the author.  They will then be able to take a look at what you’ve submitted and decide if they want to use it in their story or not.

That’s a pretty damn simple way to generate some PR for startups, right?

…or is it?

While the actual process of responding to a story or content prompt is easy enough, there are still a few steps you can take to increase the chances that your pitch gets included in the final piece:


It’s for them, not for you.

Even though you want to get your company talked about in a major publication, your exposure obviously isn’t a priority for author of a piece.  Instead, they have stakeholders (readers, subscribers, a boss/editor, etc.) who have certain expectations for the quality of their content.

The best path for you to take is to reverse-engineer the goals of the author and make sure that you frame your pitch so that it best meets those goals.

For example, if you know the publication you’re pitching too is a blog for app developers, you should highlight in your pitch why their app developer would find what you have to say interesting/useful.  Sell the benefit!


Ask for confirmation of your PR placement.

Publications gets slammed sometimes when they ask for pitches on HARO, and it’s rare for every single one to receive a response.  That said, you can always ask to be notified if your pitch is used, at least.

Again, the best way to do this is to frame it in terms of benefit to the author:  “I would love it if you could shoot me an email should you decide to use my pitch, as I would happily share the story/link around with all of my contacts!” should do the trick.  It’s easy extra exposure for them.


Use the links you land!

Once you hear that you’ve been published somewhere, make sure to use that content in your social media sharing cycle, blog, PR newskit on your website, etc.  Getting exposure alone to a new readership using HARO can be great, but you can augment just how useful that placement is to you by putting it to work everywhere else as well.

Here’s an interview we landed, then used as social media content:

social share

Get creative to help make every new story work for you as much as possible.


Don’t be afraid of a little spin.

Sometimes, you might look at a HARO email and think “nope, nothing in my field today…”  Not so fast!

Let’s say you’re a nutritionist who wants to get featured in health publications.  Today, however, nothing in the Lifestyle & Fitness group of pitches is jumping out at you.  Just as you’re about to exit out, something catches your eye – “Looking for small businesses who have been around more than one year to share their advice.”

“Hey,” you think, “I’M a small nutrition coaching business that’s been running for several years now, I bet I could share some interesting advice!”

Often, there is overlap between the immediate scope of your business and other categories you might fall into, try to use these broaden your reach to new audiences and publications you might not have previously thought about.


A HARO placement might look like…

Using a service like HARO makes it easy to land content placement, like this interview I recently did with   The interview ended up being one of the most-liked recent pieces of content on our Facebook page when we shared it, and the interview itself has several hundred views.

Additionally, our CEO Alex has received interviews via both Skype and email for upcoming books on entrepreneurship – that’s pretty neat!


Now it’s your turn!

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to land your first placement in a publication using HARO.

This could be to boost your exposure as a professional or speaker, to help spread your brand or startup idea, whatever’s most helpful to you.  If you’re proactive about reaching out to any and all pitch requests that are relevant to you, you’ll be published within the week!  Good luck!


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