Guest Posting: HARO — A Speaker’s Secret Weapon, by Mickie Kennedy

Mickie Kennedy founded eReleases PR back in 1998 when he saw how hard it was for independent startups and businesses to achieve really quality PR. For more, download some of Mickie’s free ebooks and whitepapers.

HARO: A Speaker’s Secret Weapon, by Mickie Kennedy

First of all, congratulations on being one of those people who don’t melt into a quivering pool of fear in a corner when speaking in public. Even though I’m a veteran PR guy, public speaking has never been my thing — I rate speaking in front of a large group of people as being just slightly more frightening than death.

As a public speaker, you know already that what you have to say brings value into people’s daily life. In order to build your business, you have already done the usual networking, chamber of commerce, local rotary type of events and now you want to go further.

So while I may not be the best at standing up at a podium and exuding confidence and inspiration, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to getting attention and leads to flow my way. My favorite, the easiest one? The FREE service called HARO (or Help A Reporter Out).

HARO LogoHARO is a service set up to connect reporters with sources, whether it’s getting a quote, gaining expertise on a subject, or just soliciting opinions. As a source, you sign up to receive three emails daily from lists of reporters who have requests. If you have any knowledge about a request, send the reporter an email. Your answer creates a greater awareness of you as an authority on the subject. It also gives the reporter the opportunity to follow-up with you if a similar story comes along.

The tips for writing a great response to a request are similar to what you already practice as a public speaker:

  1. Title/Subject Line
  2. You already know that having an imaginative or insightful title to your talk can create interest in what you have to say. The same holds true for subject lines in your responses, make sure that they catch the reporter’s eye.

  3. Expand, Don’t Fill
  4. Reporters are busy people and they don’t have time to read fluff, so keep your response well-written, but brief. You will lose the reporter the same way you would lose an audience if you keep adding words.

  5. Don’t Expect Experts
  6. If the request involves complex theories or uses industry-specific jargon, explain it simply. You wouldn’t expect your audience to be experts, so treat the reporter with the same respect.

  7. Tell Them About You
  8. As a public speaker, you usually share a brief bio in your introduction. For the request, include your bio at the end with a link to your website and your contact information.

By using HARO correctly and persistently, you can build your brand and your authority on the subject which will lead to future speaking opportunities. Be sure to follow HARO’s rules and don’t spam, share or be rude to the reporters. That’s a good way to get banned from the service.

Has HARO worked for you as a public speaker? Let us know in the comments.

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