What is Help A Reporter Out (HARO) And How to Use It Like a Pro – Tips on how to get backlinks to your blog and get featured in major publications from a professional writer and a HARO pro.
What do you do when you know you need to grow your blog, you know you want to get seen by a new audience, you know that there are more places to get traffic than just by relying on Facebook and Pinterest traffic.
Let’s set the stage here: you’re a blogger and want to get your name out there but cold emailing blogs asking to guest post isn’t working and doing the whole “sky scraper” method of emailing bloggers and telling them that you wrote a great piece that their audience will love is just getting your black listed. But you know that you need backlinks from bigger sites and you know that reaching more people will help you grow you business. What should you do?
Enter HARO or Help A Reporter Out (see? “HARO”).
HARO is a site that will gather inquiries from blogs, publications, and other online resources for posts or articles that they are trying to write. Each day, HARO sends 3 emails to you with a wide variety of queries that you can submit a reply or a quote to and you might get featured and your quote might be used.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you are a HARO expert?
I’m a personal finance writer who’s made requests on HARO and gotten media features in major publications as a result of good pitches.
First off, what is HARO and why should bloggers be using it?
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It’s where reporters, journalists, content creators, etc. go to find expert sources and personal stories for their articles. Journalists submit requests called “queries” for sources and experts. Bloggers can sign up to get queries in their niche sent to them three times per day.
Why is HARO so important and helpful for bloggers?
When done right, HARO can establish you as an expert in your field and get you featured in some of the biggest publications on the internet. And many writers are willing to link back to your blog which is helpful for SEO.
Do you need a certain number of followers or can new bloggers use HARO, too?
Anyone can use HARO, expert, beginner, big following or no following. Replying to a HARO query with a relevant, thoughtful response is far more important than your audience size or following.
How can a blogger make the most out of a HARO request?
For a journalist, HARO can sometimes be a crapshoot. There are a ton of publicists pushing their clients and people sending canned responses. If you can formulate a thoughtful pitch that responds directly to the request and talk like a real human being you’re already ahead of half of the responses.
What are some things a blogger should AVOID doing in a pitch email for HARO?
Avoid pushing your product or yourself too much. Unless it’s a request for an expert, the journalist doesn’t care what your credentials are. Be honest, thorough, and specific. And if the request isn’t a good fit for you, don’t waste your time responding.
What are some things that you should always include in a HARO query?
Always include your name, website, and ALL the information the request asked for. And if you have a relevant blog post, include a link to it.
Is there anything you should do once you’ve submitted a query or should you just leave it? What kind of follow up is ideal?
Usually, there’s no follow up needed. If the journalist wants to use you as a source they’ll get back to you. If not, they won’t. If your response is good they may reach out and thank you for the thoughtful response and keep you in mind for another story.
What do you wish that everyone who submitted a HARO query knew?
If your response is good you have a great chance of being featured and getting a link back to your blog.
Are there any posts that bloggers shouldn’t submit a query to?
If the call is for an expert with certain credentials and you are not an expert or you don’t hold those credentials, don’t submit a response. This is not the place to “fake it til’ you make it.”
Are there any red flags for queries that bloggers should be on the lookout for? (Like is when it says “anonymous” for the source a bad thing?)
Sometimes anonymous can be a good thing. Journalists with big publications will put anonymous so they don’t get 100 responses from PR people. But even if the anonymous publication is small, if the query is a good fit for you to respond to you can get a link back on that site and that’s still a win.
How do you make sure you’re getting a link back? Is it only worth it if you get a link back?
Ask upfront, don’t be shy, especially if there’s a specific post you want to be linked back to. The author probably won’t link back to your post on budgeting if they’re writing a post on budgeting because that’s bad for their SEO. But if your comment is on how meal planning helps you stay in budget you can send them the link to your meal planning post and they should be fine with that.
Big publications often won’t give you a link back and that’s totally ok because those are the ones that you can include in your “As Seen In” and link to the article.
Is there anything in a HARO query that would instantly make you delete it?
If the query won’t help me establish myself as an expert in my niche then I don’t answer.
Is there anything in a HARO query that would instantly make you accept it?
If I see any of the terms I want to rank for in Google in the query, I’ll definitely respond.
About the Author
Jen and her husband paid off $78K of debt in 23 months. During that time she became passionate (borderline obsessed) with encouraging others that they could take control of their spending and get their finances under control. Since 2016 Jen is the blogger behind ModernFrugality.com and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. She’s been featured in U.S. News, Yahoo Finance, Money Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal and has written for The Penny Hoarder, The Financial Diet, and MarketWatch. When Jen isn’t behind her computer she’s a new mom trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. For free challenge calendars, cheat sheets, and ebooks sign up to get the password to her free resource library.
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