Tom Smith, a client experience analyst and strategist, has used Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a Cision-owned company, for more than 10 years as a marketer AND as a technology analyst. We recently caught up with him to discuss why he chose HARO and the benefits he’s gained from the experience.
- Why did you decide to join HARO?
I probably connected with Peter Shankman on LI and subscribed to HARO after reading about the site in an e-newsletter or Fast Company. I knew the value of PR and wanted to see if I could get some earned media exposure for my clients and employer. HARO was a very logical concept and easy to use.
- How are you using HARO to support your PR and communications projects?
I received a lot of coverage for FMI Corporation, including a feature in ENR. I was also able to connect with a lot of journalists in environmental sciences and wastewater to gain awareness and exposure for Anua International.
- What benefits or results have you seen from using HARO?
On the PR side, getting exposure for small companies without a PR budget and certainly without a PR firm. I did not have funds for any outside marketing firms at either company, yet I was able to generate several million in earned media for FMI and several hundred thousand for Anua.
- How has HARO made your job easier?
As a marketer, I've been able to generate significant earned media as a one-person marketing department. As a technology analyst, I was able to build a network of several hundred PR and corporate communications professionals that enabled me to conduct more than 3,000 interviews and write nearly 1,500 articles for DZone.com on 15 different subsectors of IT. With the help of this community, I created three different franchises of content that helped the company execute a successful sale to the financial benefit of the founders.
- Given your success, what advice would you share with another PR/comms professional?
Know that journalists are being asked to do more with less, aren't paid worth squat, and are interested in providing information of value to their audience. Get to know the writer as a person and see what you can do to help them achieve what they're trying to accomplish. Don't waste your time or the journalist/analyst's time emailing pitches and releases unless you've already personally connected.
The PR/comms professionals that took the time to know me and help me achieve what I was trying to do ended up getting better coverage for their clients and their company. Even though I'm not covering the IT space today, we know we can call on each other as needed. That's the nature of business and humanity.
About Tom Smith
Tom Smith is a research analyst, marketing strategist and writer. He has written more than 1,500 articles on the current and future state of technology. In his previous work as a marketing professional, Smith helped more than 120 companies in 18 vertical industries create their strategic positioning and brand story of what makes them different and better than their competition.