After recently announcing the release of a new media monitoring module, Vocus is back in the news with a fresh piece of information: they have just acquired Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a free services helping reporters and bloggers connect with their sources. Quite an addition to their portfolio of on demand services for public relations management!
Launched by Peter Shankman, a man with an impressive public relations expertise, it currently brings together a network of about 100,000 individuals, of which 30 percent are PR and marketing pros and the vast majority are small businesses owners and entrepreneurs. This large community gets to pitch their story and present their expertise to journalists and bloggers posting explicit requests for their potential sources to respond to.
HARO comes with a strong focus on the social part of relationship building between companies, their representatives and the journalists and bloggers covering their fields. Not surprisingly so, given Peter Shankman of being a social media consultant for NASA, Disney and Snapple.
“HARO is a journalist-driven model for sourcing stories that is more in keeping with today’s social approach to relationship building,” said Rick Rudman, president and CEO, Vocus. “As a free service, HARO is a perfect on-ramp to the Vocus suite for new customers and complements our existing product portfolio.”
The portfolio HARO has become part of has also included the acquisitions of of Datapresse, an on-demand PR software originating from France, and the online press release distribution service PRWeb, another one targeting small businesses, just like HARO. As all three key acquisitions were made this year, along with Vocus’s own product launches, it seems the company is putting quite a lot of effort into expanding and improving their offerings. I for one am quite curious to see what the next Vocus release will announce.