Help a reporter our (HARO) has been a fantastic resource for anyone in PR industry, both journalists and PR professionals alike. It lets journalists directly mention the types of pitches they are soliciting and the deadline for submissions. For PR professionals, it gives an additional channel to pitch relevant stories to the journalists.
However, in past couple of years after it was bought out by Cision, we have seen an overload of pitch requests from the journalists. Since there are now over 100,000 subscribers, it seems like journalists receive dozens of pitches for every request, dramatically reducing the success rate. Many PR professionals tell us increased decreased chances of even getting email reply back from the journalist.
In such a scenario, I think it will be useful to also look at some of the HARO alternatives.
Forbes councils: It is an invitation only offering that lets you get published on Forbes and serve as sources for their various news stories. Since its invitation only, it serves as gatekeepers and helps increase your impact. A potential downside is that the membership costs almost $100/month so even if you qualify their rigorous vetting process, its still a significant cost to subscribe the service unlike HARO which is completely free.
Quoted: This is very similar to HARO except that they individually vet the journalists so that we have journalists from credible outlets asking for PR pitches. HARO works more on a honor system where they allow anyone working at at outlet with Alexa ranking of less than 1 million to join the service and start sending queries. Another advantage over HARO is that unlike clogging out email box, quoted is a web based system so that all the queries and pitching is done after you signin to their dashboard.
Sourcebottle: Another HARO like free service that offers similar value proposition as Quoted. However, in this case, they allow small independent bloggers on their platform too so that definitely gives it a bit more broader appeal. We also noticed that lot of non-American journalists were using this so maybe if you want to reach a more European/Australian audience than this may be your platform.
#journorequests on Twitter: These days, journalists are simply tweeting queries and tagging #journorequests so you can search a bunch by simply search for it. This has become a simpler and more effective alternative for HARO for past couple of years or so.
Quora: you can find tons of open questions waiting for your answers on Quora.com and this has become one of the top places journalists go to find experts in any area.
PitchRate: This is a free service that helps you find experts in a field by using a keyword. They also list all the PR requests so that you can pitch to the journalists directly just like HARO. We did find that the amount of opportunities here were somewhat limited compared to simply searching for the hashtag on Twitter.
Profnet: We saved the most obvious HARO alternative for the last: Profnet by cision has been around since 1990s and it had been (and still is) one of the primary method of connecting sources with journalists, its not a free service, but the cost is worth it for many professionals. Back in 2008 when Peter Shankman created the facebook group that became into HARO, the goal was to find a simpler, more direct and free alternative to Profnet.