One of the easiest tools for do-it-yourself publicity is to subscribe to reporter query services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), SourceBottle, ProfNet and the like.

Guide to responding to reporter's queries (like HARO)

(Those are services used by journalists and bloggers to find experts, quotes and information for their publications.)

Just sign up, scan the daily emails and respond to those that match your experience. For a lot of professionals, it’s not as nerve wracking as cold “pitching” (contacting a journalist or blogger and suggesting a story yourself.)

Responding to HARO queries has gotten me ink in a wide range of publications like Fortune, the National Federation of Independent Business, BizSugar and the New Zealand Herald (multiple times), along with interviews on podcasts and radio.

I’m a total fangirl.

I saw a HARO query that I thought would be a great opportunity for a woman I’d recently met at a business conference, so I sent it to her.

Next, she and I had an email exchange.

She said she was nervous and had no idea what to do.

I gave her some advice.

Then I thought that these quick tips might be handy for my fellow business fame seekers, too. Here’s the dialogue, along with the actual query.

Me: “Hi Amy, I saw this item on today’s Reporter Connection email. It’s like HARO, a list of reporters, radio hosts & bloggers who are seeking experts to interview for stories [and sadly, Reporter Connection is no longer.] I thought this would be perfect for your expertise (especially since you are somewhat recently married, too!)”

Actual journalist’s query (with names and links removed):

Your Guy On His Wedding Day

Submitted By:   Writer’s name

Title:  Freelance Writer

Media Outlet:   National Women’s Magazine

Deadline:       Wed, Dec 12, 20xx – 06:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

Hi, I’m looking for a beauty expert and/or author (published in 2012 or after) to talk about four or five things you can do to make sure your guy looks and smells good when he walks down the aisle — since to-be wives won’t be there to help him out.  Think: book a professional shave and eyebrow trim, buy him a bottle of new cologne.  For a beauty website, on deadline. Thanks!

Respond To This Listing: [Link]

What I wrote to Amy:

“This is for a national magazine, so it’s a long shot. The writers get TONS of responses. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear a response. You won’t, unless she wants to use you.

In your case, I’d mention that you’re a licensed medical aesthetician who writes a column on skin care for As a recent bride yourself, you can share…[your 4-5 tips, written as bullet points.]

It’s a good idea to Google the writer (if the name is mentioned) to read some of her work or see where she’s been published.

This particular writer is pretty successful; she has a monthly column in Cosmo, has written her own books and co-written books with Howard Stern’s wife, as well as Guliana and Bill Rancic.

From her book titles, she’s witty, so I might try to be a bit witty with my response.”

I want to help you get more publicity hits to boost your business fame, so I’m sharing a few DOs and DON’Ts to help your response make it to the top.

The ironclad rules:

  • DO respond as quickly as possible, and definitely by the deadline. In the national news magazine example above, the writer will be inundated with responses. She’ll probably read the first 30 or so with relish. But then, she’ll get burned out. Too jaded to keep plowing through. Wouldn’t you?
  • DO respond with *exactly* what the reporter is asking for. If she wants tips for a groom to look his best on his wedding day, do not respond with general beauty advice. Read and reread the request to be sure that you know what’s being asked.
  • DON’T ever respond by suggesting a different story. This is actually the second of the Five Rules of HARO. “Don’t SPAM reporters with off-topic pitches in response to their queries.” Why? Often, it’s because an editor (the journalist’s boss) has assigned her the specific story you see in the query. Responding with something off-target just adds to the email overwhelm.
  • DO be concise, not long and ramble-y. Make your point quickly.
  • DO let the reporter know at the outset who you are, why you fit what she’s looking for (your expertise/qualifications) all in one to three sentences, and then share your tips (or whatever she’s requested.)
  • DO include your specific tips in your response – three to five work well. Follow the instructions and provide exactly what’s requested in the query.
  • DO let the reporter know how to contact you directly if she or he needs more information.
  • DON’T write, “I’ve got great tips for you. Visit my website at —-. or read my article.” That’s an instant <delete>.
  • DO include a link to your website’s About page or other section, IF it offers additional information that would be helpful to the writer. You can also link to other places you’ve been featured, to boost your credibility as a source.
  • DO take advantage of any media mentions! First, don’t expect the journalist to notify you if they use your quote in the publication. Instead, make sure you have notifications like Google Alerts, Talkwalker or Mention set up so that you’ll know when your name hits the news. Next, share the article on all your social media sites, tagging the journalist, whenever possible. And be sure to add a link to the coverage on your website.

There’s no magic formula that guarantees your response will make it into print or online. But you can increase your chances (and maybe even add a journalist or two to your fan club) by following a few simple guidelines.

Want a cheat sheet for your very own? Just click on the link to download it now.

****Grab it here!****

Your fame boosting assignment:

Schedule a few minutes on your calendar each day to review emails from HARO, SourceBottle and others. When you find one that fits your expertise, craft your hot response and send it off. Boom! On your way to business fame…


  1. Nancy Tierney on January 23, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    This post totally rocks! Thank you for these extremely helpful, wise tips. With your great guidance, I now feel I can respond to a HARO query and actually have a clue as to what I am doing.

    • Lori on April 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Awesome, Nancy! I want to see you featured as the expert you are.

  2. Alyssa on January 25, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    GREAT post! I’ve been a little hesitant about giving these a shot because I wasn’t sure how to respond to them appropriately outside of the guidelines HARO gives. You just removed that barrier! Thanks Lori!

    • Lori on February 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      Awesome, Alyssa! I want to see you name in lights (er, ink) soon.

  3. Laura on January 26, 2013 at 6:27 am

    I’ve just become interested in HARO………….but have been timid.. Your tips are HUGE! Thank you 🙂

  4. Kelly on January 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    This is a fabulous “how to” guide! One worth holding onto! Thanks!

  5. Emily Zillig on January 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Wow, Lori – thank you! I’ve seen HARO requests before, but I’ve been a little intimidated to jump in – haven’t been sure what to say! This really helps!

    • Lori on April 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

      I’m so glad Emily! Go ahead, take the plunge.

  6. Jon on April 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Hi Lori

    If doing this on behalf of clients, would you always recommend the client make contact? Is there any room for a middle-man here to reduce the work on the client?

    Also, I think you mention to make contact with the info you’re offering. Again in the interest of reducing the work on the client, is there a place for sending an email with a “Hi, our client has what you need, give us more info” – A testing the water approach, as long as it’s enticing?

    • Lori on May 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Jon, yes, you can definitely do this on behalf of your clients. However, be sure that you know enough about your client’s expertise to be able to respond with his or her tips and advice and include contact information and links to more, in case the journalist wants it. But, just responding that your client has what the journalist needs and putting the onus on the journalist to contact the client won’t work. They are too busy and want the information delivered directly.

      • Jon on May 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm

        Awesome, thanks.

  7. Kendra Dee on June 11, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Hey there~ Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to write this up and share it with all of us. Whether we’re starting a new business, trying to become experts in our field- learning how to get attention from various media outlets is so key. I definitely just used these tips to write my first HARO response. (Keeping my fingers crossed) Though, I will surely be replying to more. So thanks again!

  8. Marissa on December 22, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Thanks for the article. I feel much more confident about using HARO now. I appreciate the tips.


    • Lori on January 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

      I’m so glad it was helpful, Marissa.

  9. […] Help a Reporter Out or HARO, for those in the know, is a web-based reporter-source matching service. You can visit and sign up for 3x daily updates. (Get a little help on using HARO here.) […]

  10. Jacki on September 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for this list, Lori.

    I’ve had medium luck with HARO but have never heard of SourceBottle so will try it. has been very good for getting interviews on podcasts and radio shows, though.

    Please keep the tips coming!

  11. Anika Mikkelson on September 22, 2015 at 3:14 am

    Thank you so much for this information. I love how clear it is – exactly what I was looking for! Happy writing!

  12. 9 Ecommerce Link Building Ideas on March 21, 2016 at 4:15 am

    […] not only read your answer but also use it in their article? This is an important  question and Lori of Famous in your Field has written a detailed post about it that I recommend everybody to read before responding to […]

  13. […] not only read your answer but also use it in their article? This is an important  question and Lori of Famous in your Field has written a detailed post about it that I recommend everybody to read before responding to […]

  14. […] not only read your answer but also use it in their article? This is an important  question and Lori of Famous in your Field has written a detailed post about it that I recommend everybody to read before responding to […]

Leave a Comment