I’m a big fan of HARO (Help A Reporter Out). I wrote a guide on it on here, and since then I’ve written a guide to repurposing HARO requests over on State of Digital. This is a follow-up to the latter – a quick, head-slappingly, can’t-believe-I-didn’t-think-of-it-sooner follow-up tip.
To be fair, the entirety of this blog post can be summed up in the following six words: record your efforts in a spreadsheet. There you go – you can go now. …Although if you want to keep my ‘average time on site’ stats nice n’ healthy in my Google Analytics, then do please feel free to read on.
The problem with HARO is that it’s very much fast-paced. You get three emails a day – which is overwhelming enough as it is – and then when you find a good potential request, you have a deadline, which is sometimes (although rarely) up to a week or so, although more often than not it’s only a day or two. If you’re answering it yourself (e.g. I do SEO and freelancing ones on behalf of this blog and my own business) then you need to think of something good to say within that timeframe, too. If your client has to answer it (e.g. I like the client to respond – s/he is the expert in their industry, after all – rather than ghost-writing it for them) then not only do they also have to think of something good to say, but they have to do it in time, which can sometimes be a real challenge. Finally you get something sendable, send it across, and that’s it. WHEW. And relax.
The problem with this? There’s very much a ‘send it and forget it’ mentality about the whole thing. Once it’s done it’s done. If it gets picked up then that’s great; if it doesn’t then never mind.
…Unless you want to repurpose it.
I’ve started to compile a spreadsheet on behalf of myself and my clients of HARO requests that I’ve answered, along with their status. It’s a useful go-to doc that I remind myself to revisit whenever I have 5 mins spare every 1-2 weeks, and it’s much more organised and quicker than randomly trying to find an email you sent to someone at some point, by which time you’ve probably forgotten when you sent it and what you were even talking about, all of which makes it all the more hard to find.
Here’s a snippet of mine:
It really is an easy, sensible, time-saving (in the long run) exercise that helps you to keep on top of your HARO repurposing efforts and therefore increase your chances that your content can be reused. Because hey – you put effort into creating that content, especially if it’s a few hundreds words, so if it didn’t get picked up, don’t let it go to waste.
If you have any tips about using HARO then I’m all ears – drop a comment below or tweet me: @steviephil. I’m obsessed with the tool and even have plans to do the most meta HARO of all: a HARO request asking people about what makes a good HARO request. …Head hurt yet? Mine sure does.
[Image credit – Jonathan Harford]