SUCCESSPeople have been sharing their secret dreams with me lately. You know those dreams that you think to yourself – wow, it would be so amazing if I . . .

  • Hosted my own TV show
  • Wrote my own newspaper column
  • Got my products or business featured in the local news
  • Landed on the cover of SUCCESS Magazine (mine)

Here’s the things with dreams. Sometimes they’re really easy to dismiss. Somewhere our brain says, oh, that’s nice . . . and then there’s this feeling of “yea right, that’s not going to happen.”

OK, maybe that’s just me.

And I’ve let my inner naysayer run amok for too long. So I’ve been working on being more intentional about my dreams.

For instance, I’ve started taking that dream about SUCCESS Magazine more seriously.

And wouldn’t you know, once I got intentional about it, the next day I get an email with a HARO request from a writer with SUCCESS Magazine.

HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and it’s essentially a matchmaker service for reporters and sources.

Anyone who is curious about getting free press for your business, HARO is a great place to dip your toe into the publicity pool.

So back to the query. I saw it and thought for sure, yes, this is it. Not a cover story but the universe is sending me an opportunity to REALLY get into SUCCESS!

I feverishly banged out my response to the query and . . .

Nothing happened.

A warning about HARO. This is typical. If you don’t hear from the reporter, that means they’re not interested and there could be any number of reasons why (that’s something I can share another day if you care to know).

I admit, I was disappointed . . . but not deterred. Fortunately, I know from my agency days and past experience that this is how the HARO game goes – many pitches strike out. Some are home runs . .  . but only if you keep at it.

So when I saw another query this week for tips on building trust online I jumped at it. And this time I got quoted in The Experts Guide to Building Trust Online (Yay! Cue happy dance.)

You can get quoted too. And the more you practice responding to media requests from HARO, the better you’ll get at understanding and communicating with the media.

Why you should care about getting quoted or interviewed?

Because publicity has the potential — when done right — to launch you from obscurity to household name. You’ll get known faster. You’ll instantly be seen as a credible expert. Your following and subscribers will grow. High-end clients will seek you out. You’ll be able to charge more . . . and most of all, your powerful message will reach 10x, 100x, 1000x or more people in a single shot. When you know how to leverage that publicity to get more publicity, then you have momentum on your side and those numbers multiply quickly.

If getting free publicity is a new to you, here’s how you can easily get started today. I challenge you to try this out and let me know how it goes for you. Don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through the HARO game step by step so you can expand the reach of your message, impact more people and attract and retain more of your ideal clients.

1. Sign up as a Source. Go to and sign up for the free version to get a feel for the service before moving into the paid options. I got quoted by responding to a query I saw on the free service.

2. Pick your category. Media queries are broken into categories. Save time and select only the category relevant to you. I’ve been getting the whole edition for years and I’ve been ignoring it because it takes too long to scan (it doesn’t in real life, it just feels that way). I’ve been paying way more attention now that I’m only getting two categories. Much easier to digest.

3. Respond immediately. See a query that’s a great match? Drop everything and respond. I’m not kidding. Speed is crucial for getting seen. Reporters get inundated with responses. After 20 emails they’re going to stop reading so make sure you’re not email 21.

4. Get to the point. When you respond, give the reporter a BRIEF explanation of who you are and why you make a good source, then give them exactly what they are requesting. Here’s the query I responded to and my response to show you what I mean.

HARO query

HARO response

5. Wait. If the reporter likes what you sent they will either ask follow up questions or they will simply send you a note saying that they quoted you, which is what happened to me this time. In other situations, I would suggest following up when you pitch the media, but one of the nuances of HARO is that it’s more of a “we’ll call you” environment.

Reporters, producers, editors don’t bite. You just need to know how to speak their language. So if you have visions of being interviewed on Good Morning America and it seems like a long shot, I encourage you to take a small step today. Sign up for HARO. Look for opportunities to build relationships with the writers and producers there. Soon you’ll be feeling like that expert source you already are and you’ll have the confidence to go after bigger media opportunities.

I’m putting together a web show on this topic and I’d love to get your feedback so I can answer your burning questions about getting free publicity. If you’d like to sound off and help me tailor this content for you, click here.

When you see other people in your field get in the paper and on the news, do you feel like “That should be me?” If so, what’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Omar Draz on September 8, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Thank you for a very informative post. I think the key take away , other than signing up for HARO, is to keep at it, be relevant & be persistent. I will definitely give it a try and will let you know how goes it.

    • storystylist on September 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      You’re welcome Omar. Glad you found it helpful. So many people I’ve talked to about HARO have said they gave up because they never got featured. That’s where the relevance and persistence come in. So glad that message came through loud and clear. Good luck with HARO! It’s a great way to begin building your publicity file.

      • Omar Draz on January 18, 2015 at 5:36 am

        I thought I should give you an update that after few attempts on submitting articles and helping reporters through HARO, I was finally included on an expert panel feature of a financial blog. As you rightfully said, persistence does help and it sure did. Thank you again for your advice & encouragement.

        • storystylist on January 18, 2015 at 1:11 pm

          Wonderful Omar. Keep going & thank you for the update.

  2. […] Downside? Competition . . . HARO has millions of subscribers so you have to respond at lightning speed and be a perfect fit (and follow these other tips). […]

  3. […] Downside? Competition . . . HARO has millions of subscribers so you have to respond at lightning speed and be a perfect fit (and follow these other tips). […]

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