6/14/2010 4:33 PM
HARO – Help a Reporter Out – has been acquired by Lanham-based Vocus. HARO is a free service founded by Peter Shankman, (Twitter: @skydiver) that links nearly 30,000 reporters and bloggers with more than 100,000 sources. HARO is a complementary fit for Vocus as both companies are in the business of linking newsmakers with sources – yet HARO puts bloggers and reporters in the driver’s seat with an innovative and social approach.
Shankman, a veteran PR practitioner, entrepreneur, author, and social media consultant for NASA, Disney and Snapple, started HARO as a Facebook group after a reporter approached him seeking possible sources for a story. The group quickly grew in volume and size which prompted Shankman to transition the group into an email list that is distributed at regular intervals throughout the day and boasts and 60-70 percent open rate.
To date, HARO has published more than 100,000 journalist queries and facilitated millions of media pitches which, in turn, promoted thousands of brands. As a service of Vocus, HARO’s model will remain the same reliable and free service, but with the benefit of Vocus’ resources to innovate and scale.
Wired Magazine referred to HARO as “crowdsourcing for news” and ReadWriteWeb said HARO was “PR for startups.” Wired writer, Eliot Van Buskirk tested HARO for his article by submitting the query, “How has this service (Help A Reporter Out) worked for you? I welcome any feedback about how this service has or has not been effective.” A little more than five hours later, “I had received 174 responses from public relations pros, reporters, authors, and small business owners, and regular Joes,” wrote Van Buskirk.
Among the 100,000 members of the HARO community, upwards of 70 percent are small businesses that rely on the service to obtain what is essentially the opportunity to obtain free PR every day. While HARO may afford Vocus the opportunity to introduce, and perhaps be integrated with, its current services to this audience, HARO will remain free.
To see the news release and a short video with Shankman, and Vocus CMO Bill Wagner discussing this deal please click or cut and paste the following link into your browser: http://bit.ly/ccdHUj