A PR Professional's Guide to Journalism Matchmaking Services

Services like HARO and ProfNet can help you get in front of reporters working on active news stories.

Services like HARO and ProfNet can help you get in front of reporters working on active news stories.

You don't have to rely solely on your own pitches to get quoted or cited in the media.

Sometimes, you can get coverage by connecting with journalists when they are looking to find an expert as they report their own stories.

But how can you make sure you get the reporter's call when she or he needs a source in your subject area?

One way is to sign up for an online service in which reporters and bloggers solicit sources for their stories.

These matchmaking services offer you a chance to get daily queries from writers who are working on assigned stories.

The best-known service is HARO -- or Help a Reporter Out. Three times every day, HARO delivers an email to sources that includes dozens of queries from reporters who are looking for experts. 

The reporters provide descriptions of the stories they are working on -- and the type of expertise they are seeking.

Potential sources can reply to each relevant query and say why they should be considered as an expert for the story.

But while HARO is the biggest and best-known service, it is far from the only game in town.

Other options include:

ProfNet -- ProfNet is built for public relations professionals who want to find opportunities to pitch their organizations to journalists. You can set up an online profile and set preferences for the types of queries you are interested in seeing.

When journalists are looking for sources to help them when covering breaking news stories and events, they’ll browse the database and — if you match what they’re looking for — reach out to you for comment.

SourceBottle -- SourceBottle is an online matchmaking service that connects journalists with sources. It includes a searchable online database of active queries, which makes it easy for time-strapped PR professionals to find queries that line up with their areas of expertise.

PitchRate -- PitchRate provides queries — mainly from bloggers and websites — that are looking for experts to comment or provide written materials for publication.

Each of these services can be quite useful for showcasing your expertise, connecting with reporters, and building relationships.

But they can also cost you a lot of time if you don’t use them smartly.

In my next post, I’ll provide some advice on how to stand out from the crowd when you’re using HARO, ProfNet, or another PR matchmaking service.