New to public relations and working on building a network of professionals? Working on producing a story but don’t yet know any professionals in that particular field? Want to find the most knowledgable person on your topic to help you out? Not to worry HARO is your HERO!

What is HARO?

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free website that allows journalists all around the world to request expert interview sources for the stories they want to produce.

HARO was developed by CEO and entrepreneur Peter Shankman and founded in 2008. It began with a simple Facebook page to help out his friends find sources. Today, it is a dream come true for communicators growing from a Facebook group with 1,200 followers, to a list of more than 56,000 email subscribers today becoming the most popular way for journalist to connect with professional sources.

How it works is this:

1. Go to helpareporter.com

2. Click on the Submit Queries button

3. Read the “How This Works” if you haven’t already.

4. Click on the Submit Query button on the right

5. Fill out the short one-page form with your information including your name, email, media outlet, target source, and due date.

6. Click Submit Query button

7. Your query will be sent to HARO’s mailing list and generally within 24 hours you will begin receiving pitches from suitable interview subjects on your topic.

Now sit back and be amazed.  HARO’s tagline, “Everyone is an Expert at Something” rings true. The great thing about HARO is that it takes the stress away from having to know everybody and having to already have all these connections set up in order to write a story that takes a good amount of research and professional interviews.  All that is right here at our fingertips.  Communicators helping communicators communicate well, and everyone contributing their best. That’s what I love about HARO!

How can you and your clients benefit from Help A Reporter Out (HARO) as a PR practitioner?

You can “like” HARO on Facebook and also find them on Twitter.


Webinar – 10 Social Media Tips

Here is a webinar I found on youtube. It’s 10 Social Media Tips by Heather Mansfield and Kami Griffiths. Enjoy! 🙂

Guest Blogger!

jennmbrowning is my guest blogger for the week. Enjoy!

Landing Your Dream Internship

October 7, 2011 by jennmbrowning

The PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society Association) shares some vital and appropriate information to every college student seeking an internship. It is important to know how to market yourself to potential bosses and companies. These tips to gain an awesome internship will “not only enhance your resume, but your carreer”. (PRSSA Blog) I feel it is important to start early in the game to be as professional as you can to gain highly respected and admired internships and carreers.The 10 Tips:1.Research the company you’re interested in

2. Networking

3.Write details about the person you have networked with on his/her business card

4.Start your internship search early

5.Make a list of Target Companies

6. Be yourself

7. Send a thank-you card

8. Have strong writing samples

9.Have your resume reviewed

10.Apply for numerous positions

 Thanks Jennifer!

How Poynter Can Point You in the Right Direction

My Writing for Public Relations and Advertising (COMM4333) class does quite a bit with the Poynter website, specifically with the News University Courses (see also previous post).  However, there are several additional resources within Poynter along with the NewsU courses that you may find quite beneficial as you begin your career in public relations.

Poynter has the latest news as well as upcoming training and events which include webinars and online seminars.

If you’re not familiar with Poynter’s NewsUniversity, you should definitely check it out. Also see previous posts on my blog about some of the NewsU courses. NewsU has 40 self-directed courses, totally free yet completely worth the time. Not to mention Online Group Seminars, Webinars, Video Tutorials, and many others.

Poynter also has “How To’s”  for news gathering and storytelling, digital strategies, leadership and management and community engagement.  Poynter also has online chats that you can participate in.

You can “Like” Poynter on Facebook

Connecting with PR Pros

Amy Howell gives 14 Essentials for PR Newbies As a PR professional posted on Ragan’s PR Daily. She says “You’re never finished learning, growing, and listening.”

With more than 25 years of PR and marketing experience, Amy Howell serves as CEO of Howell Marketing Strategies (HMS). A version of this story first appeared on the company’s blog

Generation C

Generation C… if you’re between the ages of 18 and 34 that’s what marketers are now calling you.  C stands for CONNECTED.

An article in Ragan’s PR Daily

You know that’s right. With all the technology and social media that’s one of the best ways I think we can describe this generation…and I’m part of it, so I know. There’s not one day that goes by that I don’t use some sort of communicating device. Phone, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, you name it. Our generation uses social media like it’s second nature.

I think the most interesting thing about this generation is that many of this generation can’t remember when there wasn’t MySpace or Facebook or Twitter. It has simply been a part of our everyday lives.

I wonder, what did marketers name the other generations? Our generation is one tough “cookie” to market to…there’s so many outlets.  No longer is there T.V., and radio…now there’s so many things and marketers now have a greater responsibility than ever. Their job is harder than ever.  And it’s not even all that will be out there. Every day ways of connecting and media is changing.  It’s exciting and nerve racking at the same time.

Are you part of “generation C”? I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Feel free to leave a comment! 🙂

Negative Comments not so negative?

I was reading a couple articles from Ragan’s PR Daily.  One was called 7 tips for managing negative comments online.

It had some great pointers on how to respond when someone leaves a negative comment on your blog.

 FIRST: Listen to what is being said.

SECOND: Respond quickly

THIRD: Take it offline

FOURTH: Be apologetic

FIFTH: Know when to walk away

SIXTH: Know when to asks for help

Language of the Image

I recently took another one of Poynter’s (free) News University courses and I must say this was one of the most enjoyable ones I’ve ever done. It’s called Language of the Image.  I enjoyed it because it inspired me to take more beautiful photos.  It made me realize that there is a lot that goes into making a photo memorable. It’s about being able to identify those elements of what makes a photograph stand out, what makes you pause as you’re scrolling through hundreds of photos or stop and gaze at a photo in a magazine.

The course was laid out in four different sections:

Photo types — There’s three types of photos:  informational, passive and active.

Single elements — There are fifteen different photographic elements that help an image tell a story.

  1. Graphic
  2. Quality of light
  3. Emotion
  4. Juxtaposition
  5. Mood
  6. Sense of place
  7. Point of entry
  8. Impact
  9. Rule of thirds
  10. Perspective
  11. Surprise
  12. Layering
  13. Moment
  14. Personality portrait

Multiple elements — Good photographers use more than just one element to enhance an image’s storytelling potential.(In this section you match up which elements are used in each of the particular photos).

Different approach — There are many different combinations of photographic elements that can make an image effective.  For instance, two photographers can go to the same event and take pictures of basically the same things, but the approach in which each one takes (i.e. quality of light, point of entry, rule of thirds, layering, etc) can make the difference between a photo you glance at and that doesn’t catch your eye, and one that catches your eye and keeps you there, makes you think, and provokes emotion.

I highly recommend taking this (short) course as it packed with valuable and easy tips and tricks. Knowing these qualities and considering them when taking photos can enhance the quality tremendously.  I was very surprised by the quality of the photographs.  I would love to learn more about photographs!

AP Style

The Associated Press is the single largest news organization in the world have published set of rules and guidelines for formalized news writing called AP Style. 

The Associated Press Stylebook is what PR professionals and journalists use to ensure something is written the correct way, with over 5,000 entries from punctuation and spelling, to abbreviations and usage.

The thing I find the most difficult when learning AP Style is when to hyphenate.

For instance,

If you’re like me and are having trouble with hyphens, check out DailyWritingTips: 5 Tips to Understand Hyphenated Words.

You can also listen to Grammar Girl::Hyphens::Quick and Dirty Tips podcast.

By the way…you can find the AP Stylebook on Facebook!

The News Release

In this post I’m going to cover some points in Chapter 5 “Writing the News Release” in the book Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques by Dennis L. Wilcox including…

1. What a news release is.

2. Parts of a news release.

2. What it looks like.

3. What the components of it are.

1. What is a News Release?

A news release, AKA a press release.  A press release is a short, compelling news story written by a public relations professional. It answers all the questions: Who, what, where, when, how, and why.  It is sent to members of the media. The goal is to pique the interest of a journalist so they can write a news story off of it.

2. Parts of a traditional News Release (You have six basic components):

  1. Letterhead
  2. Contacts
  3. Headline
  4. Dateline
  5. Lead Paragraph
  6. Body of Text

(A seventh element is optional and it is a short summary of the organization.)

It looks something like this:

There are different types of News Releases:

  1. Announcements
  2. Spot Announcements
  3. Reaction Releases
  4. Bad News
  5. Local News

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