Last Updated on January 10, 2023
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that journalists use to connect with people and other sources. Journalists are always looking for information and relevant sources to back it up. If you have authority in a certain area, you can use HARO to share information in exchange for backlinks. You’ll also get the added benefit of increased brand awareness. The best thing about HARO is that you can take advantage of the exposure no matter what industry you’re in.
Of course, you need to know how to use HARO properly. This post will guide you through using HARO as a great way to build links and get some free PR exposure.
Cision, the mega PR, and Communications company, owns HARO. This gives you an idea of the potential there. HARO is so popular that if you use a social media management company, you may already be using HARO without knowing it.
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Journalists from various platforms use HARO. Some come from prestigious publications like Forbes and The New York Times. Others work for smaller papers and niche blogs. Regardless of the muscle behind the publication, you can get precious backlinks and shoutouts by responding to reporters and bloggers who are asking for just the type of information that you can provide to them.
Sure, HARO is so amazing that it has actually become oversaturated in the last few years. But you can look at this as an advantage. You may not get selected because of the massive competition. But when you are, that mention is all the more valuable because everyone knows that you are the best source.
In addition, once a reporter selects you, they will have you on file and will likely approach you again. They will have a much easier time that way, rather than having to vet a completely different source. They know you and trust you, so going back to you is an added benefit for them. This helps you build valuable business relationships that can get you connected to other platforms that can give you fresh links.
Setting up HARO
You can take the fast route to get set up on HARO and just subscribe to the master list. This will give you access to every single question posted on the platform. We do not recommend this, however. HARO receives too many inquiries, You will get buried in questions and won’t be able to sort through them all.
The best approach is to select categories within the platform. If the pre-set categories don’t suit you, you can set up email filters. You can do this by using the HARO email address plus keywords. So, you would subscribe to the master list, but your email provider would filter the incoming HARO emails into labeled folders. This way, you can choose what categories you want to sift through on any given day. This helps you to manage everything according to what type of content specifically you are trying to get a link to. This matters a lot because you need to consider search relevance at all times when doing these types of marketing activities.
HARO is free to use, but if you want more control, you can upgrade to a paid subscription. This way, you will only get emailed the queries that match the keywords that you select. This eliminates the need to set up email filters.If you have authority in a certain area, you can use HARO to share information in exchange for backlinks. You’ll also get the added benefit of increased brand awareness. Click To Tweet
Choosing the Best Questions
The beauty of HARO for white label reputation management is that HARO stories can be about almost anything under the sun. You can choose from breaking news stories, popular blogs, or hip magazines looking for a snippet of information, whether a quote or the latest tips. You can therefore customize your exposure based on what level and type of prestige you want your brand to be associated with. And you’ll always hit the mark because there are so many options as well as a guaranteed benefit for the reporter who publishes your material. Just make sure that you give them the correct information to reference you!
You also want to make sure that you are a great fit for the question before you answer it. This will help you avoid expending too much time and effort and ensure that you get better results for the resources that you do invest.
First, choose questions that you know you can expertly handle. If you are not highly qualified to answer a question, move on to the next one. You are not going to get selected over a true expert in the field. You also want to make sure that you are adding unique value. Reporters are not going to want to publish something that has been rehashed.
Second, make sure that the topic is relevant to your industry. Even if you can answer expertly, you need relevance to make the backlink worthwhile. If you don’t have relevance, you don’t have anything that Google wants to rank you for.
Third, make sure to read and follow the guidelines very carefully. Reporters need to maintain high standards, and they will reject your input – no matter how amazing it is – if you don’t follow the rules.
Submit to Get Picked
Use the formula below to increase your chances of getting selected and published.
First, your subject line must be professional and not spammy. Otherwise, reporters will ignore your submission and may even block you from sending in future submissions. To increase your chances of getting a response, enter a simple title and use brackets to add credibility and help your email stand out.[HARO Reply] Credentials/Expertise + Query Summary
Be catchy, but not exaggerated. You want to capture their attention but avoid sounding like clickbait.
Second, always address the journalist or publication by name if that information is given.
Third, you must introduce yourself first as an expert who has the credentials to back up your response to the query. Remember that no matter how good your answer is, if you can’t prove that you’re a reliable source, no respectable reporter will publish your contribution. That said, give only brief background information and not your complete resumé. A couple of sentences of the most relevant information is perfect to establish your authority.
Start with your name and current job title. Throw in any recent or prestigious publications that have featured you. Then add the credentials you hold that will support you as the best choice to feature in this new piece. You want to stand out but always remain super relevant.
Fourth comes to your actual response to the query. Make sure that you satisfy all the requirements. Basically, you want to give the reporter exactly what they want and not how you think the response should come across. Usually, responses need to be 2 or 3 sentences long containing actionable information. This means always being concise and packing in value. I cannot stress this point enough. Be original if you can, and maybe even controversial as long as the point does not go so far against the grain as to be offensive. Also, make sure your grammar is perfect!
Fifth, if you can see the journalist’s name on the query, do a bit of research so you can pay them a compliment and add a personal note. This goes a long way in establishing rapport and showing the journalist that you are a serious player through the effort that you put in.
This takes some effort, and you won’t be picked every time, but if you focus on a niche you’ve developed expertise, provide your credentials that support your expertise, provide valuable insights, and go the extra distance of being personal in your response you’ll start to gain additional exposure and backlinks to your content all while helping a reporter out!