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What Is HARO and How It Works: A Complete Guide

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Boni Satani

October 5, 2020
What Is HARO-A Complete Guide on How It Works

What is HARO?

HARO is an acronym of ‘Help a Reporter Out’.

It’s a FREE service primarily used by journalists, who need Expert Quotes (or tips) from Subject Matter Experts (often referred to as a ‘Sources’) to add more value to their article.

Journalists also use HARO to feature ‘New Products’ or ‘New Startups’ in a specific industry.

It’s a fantastic platform to get in touch with respectable Journalists. The service is used by 55,000+ journalists & bloggers including Journalist from big media outlets like Forbes, New York Times, Washington Post, and many more.

Media Outlets Using HARO

How HARO Works?

Process Flow of HARO

Consider a Journalist from ‘Best Life Online’ Media Outlet (which has a traffic of 8.5M SEMrush) and is assigned a task of creating content on ‘Seeking Interior Designers/Flippers/Renovation Experts’.

He logs into HARO and creates a pitch like this:

Best Life Online Query

The above pitch is then sent to all the people who have signed up to receive the queries.

Interior Designers Experts who may find the above query relevant, writes a pitch and submits it to the journalist. If the journalist finds your pitch useful, he/she may publish the answer along with your website link.

Benefits of HARO

  • Quality Backlinks

Most of the link building activities are now outreach based and it requires a lot of time in finding a relevant prospect, creating a relevant linkbait content & pitching them for links.

Fortunately, HARO isn’t as hard & time-consuming as Outreaching Activities.

With HARO, You don’t have to create new shiny content or reach out to some prospect for links, you just need to respond to the queries of a journalist and you are set with building some high-quality backlinks for your website.

It is one of the best ways to build links from multiple media outlets without spending thousands of dollars in content creation and promotion.

Based on our experience, using HARO, you can earn 1 – 4 links for your clients every month from a high authority website.

  • Visibility

If your answer is published on a well-known website, your site gets promoted to a sizable audience, which gives you and your company immense visibility.

  • It’s free

The platform is free to get started and the only investment required from your end is your time and effort.

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4 Steps to Get Started with HARO

Step 1: Sign Up on HARO

The first step to get started is to Sign up as a “Source” on HARO

HARO Website Banner

Next, you’ll have to choose the membership level. If you are just starting out, we recommend choosing the ‘Basic FREE’ Level.

HARO Subscription

Once you select the Membership level, you need to enter the below details:

HARO Sign Up

After you sign up and complete the email verification, you have to select your preference:

HARO Preferences

If you work in a specific industry or are an expert about something specific, you can sign up to receive those specific category queries.

If you are unsure or are just getting started with HARO, select ‘Master HARO’ List.

If you have reached here, you are now ready to start receiving the queries from HARO.

Step 2: Qualify Queries

When you Sign up for HARO, you’ll receive three emails every day, Monday-Friday:

  • 5:35 AM EST
  • 12:35 PM EST
  • 5:35 PM EST

These timings are fixed and hence it’s up to you to regularly monitor the queries.

The Subject of the email will look something like as shown in the image below:

HARO Emails

And here’s what you see once you open the email:

HARO Email

If you are subscribed to the Master List of HARO, you will get around 50 – 70 queries per email. That’s technically 150 – 210 Queries, that you need to monitor, daily.

And to quickly review & qualify the queries, you can set up a filter in Gmail that stores email from haro@helpareporter.com in a separate label in Gmail instead of Inbox. This way you will stay organized with HARO Emails and can view emails immediately.

Step 3: Write the Perfect ‘Pitch’

Writing a perfect email pitch to a Journalist is tough. Not only does it have to have the RIGHT content but also it should reach them at the right time and should show some expertise.

We’ve sent hundreds of HARO pitches over the last 3 years but only a handful of them actually landed us a link.

When I reviewed all those successful pitches, I realized that most of them had the same set of qualities. If you employ these mentioned tips, you will have a higher chance of acceptance:

  • Follow the Guidelines:
The Spurce Query

Every HARO query is made up of four important parts: Email, Deadline, Query and Requirements, that I’ve explained them below:

  • Pitch on the RIGHT Email:

It’s the email id on which you have to send your pitch. Every query has a unique email id.

  • Pitch BEFORE Deadline:

It mentions the date and time before which you should email your pitch to a journalist. In our experience, the sooner you reply to the query, higher are your chances of acceptance.

  • Read the Query Twice Before Writing the Pitch:

As we discussed earlier, journalists are looking for a Specific tip/quote for the content they are currently working on and hence most often they will mention their exact need in the query section.

It’s important that you thoroughly read the query of the journalist and prepare the response.

  • Check Your Eligibility before Pitching:

Journalists often want an expert to respond to their query and hence they will mention the designation, job title or skill sets of a person who is qualified to respond to their query.

Understanding the query and requirement part of the email will help you to draft a relevant pitch.

  • Get to the point FAST in Your Pitch:

There are over 800,000+ sources registered on HARO. Hence, the number of pitches a journalist gets for their query would be more than 100 per day.

So, it’s important that you get straight to the point in your email pitch.

Avoid Simple Mistakes:

  • Check grammar, punctuation, and spellings before sending the pitch
  • Make good use of bullets or sections so that the Journalist can easily consume it.
  • When using quotes or stats, provide strong proof or reference to the original article.
  • Keep the answer short and simple. You don’t need to write a 300-word pitch unless you need it to communicate your pitch better.
  • Do not add any attachments like files.
  • Do not copy-paste the answer from alternative sources.

Step 4: Send the Pitch

The last and the final step is to send the Pitch BEFORE the deadline. Every query has a unique email id, so make sure you send your pitch to that exact email id.

Client Example

For one of our clients in the Home Improvement Niche, we were actively looking for some HARO Queries.

In July, we came across this request:

Hunker Query

The query was relevant and from a good platform. We reached out to the client and asked them to provide us with the answer.

Here’s the snapshot of the pitch we sent to a journalist:

The above pitch was accepted and we earned a link from the Hunker which has an authority Score of 64 [SEMrush Data].

Further Reading:

Final Thoughts

HARO is a latent but effective method for creating high‐quality backlinks and press mentions. But consider this, the method requires a bit of patience and in time, you will surely receive high‐quality queries. Now get out there and give it a go. Good luck!

Do you want to know how HARO can be profitable for your business, get in touch with us and we will guide you.

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Boni Satani

Boni Satani is the Co-Founder & Marketing Head at Zestard Technologies. With over 10+ years of experience in SEO, Boni has helped many national and international businesses increase their online visibility and reap high ROI. He frequently blogs for the Search Engine Journal and YourStory. You can find Boni on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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