Help a Reporter Out goes to School

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Danny Kofke is not a PR professional.  He’s not a marketer.  He’s not a former journalist.  And yet he’s among the most successful sources among 100,000-plus members of the HARO community.

What’s amazing is that Danny hasn’t merely secured a couple of media interviews by replying to HARO queries – he’s secured hundreds: Fox News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, and The Wall Street Journal to name a few.  In fact, Danny’s been interviewed on national television 10 times and has conducted interviews on more than 175 radio shows.

Not bad for a professional educator that wrote a book called, How To Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher’s Salary.

Danny’s been a HARO subscriber for about two years.  He found HARO while searching Google for contact information on reporters. We caught up with Danny to ask him for some tips on what has enabled him to be so successful.  This is what we learned:

1. Immediate response. He replies to HARO queries as soon as they come out.  At first he was slower, because he was providing more information, but then he shortened his responses a bit and got them out faster. Of course, Danny teaches, and when he’s in the classroom, he can’t respond, but he’s confident the earlier you respond, the better.  The race is on.

2.  Pithy. Danny is short and to the point with his responses. A sample pitch might read, “Hi, I’m Danny, a special education teacher and author of a personal finance book.  I read your HARO query and here are some tips.”  He will next provide a few short tips that answer the reporter’s specific question.  It’s that simple.  And for Danny, it’s worked.

3.  Media builds media. He’s noticed that PR efforts tend to gain momentum over time.  In other words, PR is a process, not an event.  While many of his interviews stemmed from HARO, he’s noticed that once he’s landed a few interviews…he tends to get a few more.

4.  There’s no harm in trying. If you send a response and don’t hear back from a reporter, you’re still in the same position as when you started.  “It doesn’t hurt to try,” he said.  However, it’s important to note that this is not an invitation to pitch off-topic, and Danny cites Rule #2 on The Five Rules of HARO.

5.  You are helping reporters. “Reporters are people just like you and you are doing them a favor,” said Danny, adding that sources should “just be yourself.”  Reporters are looking for a story and to the extent you can provide information for their story, you’re truly helping them out.

Want a few more tips?  Check out this conference call with HARO founder Peter Shankman, “How To Pitch A HARO Reporter” or watch the video nearby with HARO tips.


How to Answer a HARO Journalist Query from Peter Shankman on Vimeo.



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