When Forbes.com published a story this week about Help A Reporter Out (HARO), the service started by Peter Shankman to connect journalists with sources, several Twitter members asked whether this coverage was the work of Propheta Communications.
Instead, it was the work of RLM PR, the firm that HARO quietly named its agency of record three weeks ago after parting ways with its previous firm, Propheta. Thom Brodeur, chief operating officer of HARO, confirmed the news with PR Junkie.
According to Brodeur, HARO will work with RLM to move beyond its image as a competitor to Profnet or similar reporter/source matching service or source databases.
“The objectives are really to position with business media the success story of a social media company, because frankly I’m tired of hearing that social media companies can’t be successful—that they aren’t successful models—because there are [successful models], and we’re proof of that,” he said.
HARO, which started as a Facebook group, became profitable six to eight weeks after it began monetizing, Brodeur noted.
Brodeur said RLM is HARO’s first “agency of record,” although not the first PR firm it has worked with. In late July, it was reported that HARO was working with Propheta Communications.
“Ultimately, our goals and objectives were different,” Brodeur said of HARO’s split from Propheta. He said it became clear during his first 45 days as COO that Propheta’s media and outreach objectives did not match HARO’s vision.
“They are very good at what they do; it just happened to be a different skill set from what we required at the time.”
Propheta’s founder, Kevin A. Mercuri, told PR Junkie that he started working with HARO prior to Brodeur’s joining the company in June.
"Once [Brodeur] started, we worked together for several weeks and we could see that things were difficult in terms of planning strategy and executing tactics," Mercuri said in an e-mail. "We wanted to move forward aggressively and [Brodeur] wanted to take things slow and steady."
Eventually, HARO offered Propheta a way out of the contract it had signed.
RLM founder and CEO Richard Laermer expressed excitement about working with Shankman, a man he’s known for many years.
“I believe a lot of what’s been written about HARO has been good to help understand it, but I don’t think a lot of people know what’s really going on with the business,” Laermer said. “That’s really part of our job right now.”
And that's exactly what the Forbes.com piece covered.