Saturday, April 4, 2009
A New Free Tool for Media Relations 2.0
Peter Shankman, CEO of Geek Factory, is my new best friend.
He's recently launched a great new resource for reporters and PR people that I learned about through one of my young professional friends - I'll tell you without them we grown-ups would be living in the dark ages. It's called HARO (the acronym stands for Help a Reporter Out).
HARO is perfectly positioned for success in the Web 2.0 world. As more reporters, editors, producers, etc. lose their jobs and shift over to freelance - and as more media outlets depend on them - services like this are desperately needed. HARO started on Facebook but got too big so now it's a web site.
The URL is www.helpareporterout.com
Freelancers and independent PR people, even those within associations and small agencies, cannot afford to pay the $1500 beginning prices for PR Newswire's ProfNet. And as more reporters learn about HARO, more will come.
You get up to three emails each day with 15-30 queries in each, so clearly ProfNet is far bigger. But HARO is up to 50,000 sources so far and it's growing like crazy.
To test HARO versus ProfNet, I posted information about people I need to interview for my book on science, alcohol and kids. I'm looking for teachers, psychologists who specialize in adolescents and alcohol, and people in their twenties who started drinking young and do not drink anymore. We want to tell their stories as a wake-up call to parents. The book called "Delaying that First Drink" is due out in the fall.
I got several resources who contacted me through HARO and about double the number from ProfNet. The HARO contacts came from smaller companies and independents and the ProfNet from bigger firms representing bigger entities. All of the ProfNet people were media stars, they had books out, they had the "top" clinic for adolescent addiction in the country, etc. Good resources but you get what you pay for right?
Not really. My HARO resources were good too - like Dr. Mitch, who runs a clinic in Florida for kids and families with alcohol problems, and has done so for decades. He has a voice that reminded me of my Brooklyn relatives and Jerry Seinfeld's parents. And he was very helpful.
HARO queries are divided by subject into categories making it easier to find stuff. They include: Business and Finance; Health and Fitness; Lifestyle/Entertainment; Technology
You do have to put up with a bit of Peter hawking his advertisers - one plug comes with every update about stories reporters are working on. But he tells you upfront that's what he's doing and turns it into something funny and easy to read.