Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

Help a Reporter Out, or HARO, is something I adore.

My link-building approach has included it consistently since Ryan Holiday discussed it in Trust Me, I’m Lying (2012). Whoa.)

For those who don’t know, HARO is a free website that links reporters and sources for stories.

By serving as a source, you can obtain some excellent exposure for your company, blog, or yourself (aka score some nice backlinks, baby).

What is HARO?

Journalists and bloggers utilize HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to locate sources for their articles, and it can be a terrific method to build your profile and obtain some backlinks.

In the end, HARO is a tool that you can utilize to accomplish your objectives. Most often, it’s used as a component of a link-building plan to help businesses and blog entries rank higher in Google.

Others utilize it (especially in PR) to promote their clients in prestigious magazines and on social media.

It won’t make or break any particular function, and utilizing HARO alone won’t make you rank on Google overnight (you also need a strong content strategy, excellent blog content, etc.). But when applied correctly, it does assist.

Here’s how to create backlinks with HARO:

1. Sign up for a free account at Help a Reporter Out.

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

2. Once you’re signed up, you’ll start receiving daily emails

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

The Benefits of Using HARO

A plethora of HARO queries, sent by journalists seeking knowledgeable sources, populate these daily emails. You have the chance to be highlighted in their story as the knowledgeable source in response to each HARO query.

While there are prospects for placement at prestigious journals such as the New York Times, not all publications are equally good. In addition to improving your ability to rank content in Google and other search engines, this may work wonders for your brand, public perception, industry reputation, press relations, and website authority (excellent links boost the authority of your site).

Looking through the daily emails is a good way to find out if there are any opportunities to collaborate with excellent journalists. Spending a few minutes answering questions from journalists can make a big difference in whether or not they write about you. The platform is incredibly user-friendly and intuitive.

Using HARO is that easy to get started with.

Now enough about the advantages of HARO use. These, in my opinion, are obvious, particularly if you have sufficient experience working in marketing or SEO.

In the following sections, I will demonstrate how to use HARO to build backlinks to your website.

How to Use HARO to Generate Backlinks

HARO is an excellent resource for obtaining links to your website. But there are a few things you should do first before you begin pitching:

1. Sign up for an account.

The HARO website offers a free account registration form. You will be able to view the reporter queries once you have an account.

It’s quite simple to register. Register as a Journalist (someone who submits inquiries for their stories) or as a “Source,” who replies to HARO queries:

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

2. Familiarize yourself with the types of queries being sent out.

Three categories of questions are sent out by reporters:

  • Request for information: Reporters are looking for generic answers to these questions from subject matter experts.
  • Request for quotes: Reporters are searching for answers to these precise queries from experts in a particular field.
  • Request for interview: Reporters requesting to speak with an expert in a certain field make these inquiries.

Simple requests for quotations and information make up the majority of HARO searches. Simply reply with a succinct statement, your details (headshot, bio, URL to your business website), and, if selected, a link.

On the other hand, some are requests for in-depth interviews. For instance, this one is looking to interview audiologists in-depth for a position on Forbes Health:

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

When you sign up, you can select your areas of expertise. In most cases, it’s evident.

For instance, this one is only searching for two or three brief tips.

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

3. Find relevant queries and pitch yourself as a source.

You can begin promoting yourself as a source if you are aware of the types of questions that journalists are asking.

Simply send an email with your response or quote to the reporter whenever you come across a question that pertains to your area of expertise.

What qualities distinguish a good quote? I will go into further depth about that in the “examples” section below, but first, a few brief pointers:

  • It should pique attention. Basic / boring answers and tips don’t work well.
  • Short and to the point. Don’t ramble. Be concise. Make it scannable. 
  • Add actual value through expertise. If you’re not an expert, don’t send a quote.
  • There are many HARO PR agencies. Most don’t do as well as you could by just answering yourself. 

Include your name, title, and contact information so the reporter can follow up with you if they’re interested in using your response in their story.

Also Read: Top 7 Linkable Assets and Creation Tips

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

Here are some additional guidelines for answering HARO queries:

Research the publication thoroughly before responding.

After reading a few published articles, it’s typically clear what kind of response writers are hoping for. When you combine that with the evident information your query may provide, you can maximize the response from your HARO sends, guarantee a placement, and establish successful link development.

Include your basic info

I’ve received excellent responses, but it’s challenging to follow up and establish a relationship in the absence of sufficient personal information.

Don’t forget to include your photo, company, URL, name, and title. This facilitates contextualizing and placing your HARO mails more easily. You want to give the journalist as much assistance as possible.

Link building is a long game

Providing a valuable response to the inquiry should be your main objective. The journalist or blogger will take notice of you if you clear that hurdle.

You stand a very good probability of receiving a link from there. That is only one link, though.

The journalist will almost certainly: a) produce more articles and hence require more subject matter expertise; and b) write pieces for other outlets.

Establishing a relationship that goes beyond this one HARO question should be your aim.

4. Follow up after the story is published.

Make sure to get in touch with the reporter after the story is published if your reaction is featured in it.

Let them know that you are available as a source for future stories and express your gratitude for being featured.

If the piece didn’t already include a link to your website, this would be an excellent opportunity to request one.

In order to avoid having to cold pitch someone each time you want a quote or link posted, this is also the greatest method for creating a rolodex of media contacts.

Pitch HARO quotes, and I’ve really made some amazing friends.

3 Effective HARO Pitch Examples

I have experience with both sides of the HARO marketplace: as a journalist and content marketer, I have used it to obtain quotes for my articles and to have links cited.

I therefore have some knowledge of what functions well and poorly.

The secret to writing a strong HARO pitch is as follows: Make it brief, sweet, and direct, and genuinely add value.

You want to make sure that your pitch sticks out because reporters are frequently overwhelmed with them.

Here are some instances of successful HARO pitches:

1. My pitch at LawnStarter

I had quotes for the company’s co-founders and for myself from back when I worked at LawnStarter.

While pitching for someone else is more difficult, incorporate the quotes right into the pitch if you’re going to pitch on your own behalf. Don’t merely respond with an offer to put the journalist in contact. That takes a lot of labor. You want to eliminate as much work as possible before offering to introduce the two parties:

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

Other things: I didn’t focus my response solely on the brand. I am aware that if I reply too strongly, it can be overlooked. Providing an insightful answer is the most crucial thing you can do to get highlighted.

2. Colin M. Darretta’s pitch

I apologize for going against some of my guidelines on length and focus, but Colin’s contributions were so valuable and provided such context that I was able to quickly select a few sentences for my post.

When I finally followed up to ask for more information, he provided me with so much genuine and clear information for my piece that it was a breeze to work with:

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

It’s also important to remember that Colin is submitting this on his own behalf, not on behalf of anybody else.

I asked HARO about “people who work long work hours,” and I really enjoyed hearing from business owners on this topic.

Furthermore, Colin’s answer was really insightful and avoided broaching the topic of his brand. He clearly understands the platform based on his HARO response (I featured him in the final blog article).

3. Molly St. Louis’s follow up

As previously stated, it’s recommended practice to get in touch with the journalist and express gratitude once your quote gets up.

Molly thanked me for using her quote, as you can see, and mentioned that she hoped to collaborate with me on more articles in the future. And yes, we collaborated on upcoming tales.

This is a fantastic approach to establish connections in the media. This is a picture of her follow-up:

Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks
Using HARO to Gain 100s of Backlinks

I didn’t display her first response, but it was also very good and valuable (clearly; otherwise, I wouldn’t have taken the time to reply and include it in the blog article).

However, the platform’s potential for future collaboration and enduring connections might be its greatest assets.

For example, I can now get in touch with Molly if I have a story idea involving her or her clients. A decent topic is always necessary for bloggers to write about. From the perspective of the source, marketing should be viewed as an ongoing endeavor rather than a one-time reaction.

Since Molly is a journalist herself, she has a thorough understanding of both the operation of the HARO platform and how to cultivate relationships with writers and journalists in order to produce high-quality content for the blog post. We continued to collaborate on other articles and projects after that.

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