How to Harness the Power of HARO (Help A Reporter)
If you work with SEO, content marketing or a similar niche, then there is a good chance you have heard about HARO. If not, HARO stands for “Help a Reporter Out,” which is absolutely what it sounds like. On this innovative platform, journalists and a variety of writers can post queries reflecting research that is needed for an article or blog post.
Then something golden happens. Experts on that subject matter provide quotes, information, helpful tips or whatever else is requested.
But why is this such an advantageous exchange for both parties involved? Let’s take a closer look at the inner workings of HARO, and how you can effectively harness its power for mutual collaborations.
How HARO Works
As mentioned, the basis of HARO is to provide a benefit to both participants -- the reporter and the person who responds to the query.
For the writer, gathering data is not always an easy feat. If you’ve ever been on this end of rounding up quotes, you’ll definitely agree that the task is often much more difficult than one would anticipate. Wouldn’t it be positively life-changing if a writer could simply post a query, and then receive numerous well-written quotes and tips at their disposal? You guessed it -- that’s where HARO steps in.
For the expert, does it sound like a fair deal to provide a little information for a name drop and even a possible backlink to your website or preferred social media platform? With many sites now charging exuberant fees for guest posts and contributor acceptance becoming increasingly strict, doesn’t a little free exposure sound like a win-win?
The idea is brilliant. Whenever a service can benefit both sides of the fence, without costing anything but time, it should be heralded.
But sadly, many organizations just don’t understand how to appropriately utilize HARO to their unique advantage, and are missing out on tons of exposure every day. So, let’s explore a few tips on how to make HARO work for you, instead of the other way around.
Sign Up and Select Your Preferences
You can quickly sign up for HARO and get started within minutes. Be sure to utilize your business email, as your replies must come from the registered email address you create your account with. Also, a business email address over a free service, like Gmail or Yahoo helps to represent you in a professional manner.
Always check the box for the Master HARO, because you never know when a reporter may categorize their query in a different category. This immediately gives you the jump over other organizations who are too selective.
Write a Creative Template
Craft a compelling template for your queries, which can easily be altered to target specific markets, insert quotes and showcase your expertise. This can save you time when you are replying to multiple queries a day.
Always include pertinent information that will save the journalist time -- you don't want to make them have to respond back for additional information. This could give them a reason to move on to the next query.
Ensure that you include quotes that can easily be copy and pasted into an article. Separate these quotes into paragraphs, in case there is a specific word count. A journalist is more likely to accept a response that is ready to go, and setting up your reply so that it’s simple to grab one or two quotes can be extremely intuitive. Proofread for any misspellings or grammar errors that may have slipped through spellcheck. The worst thing possible is to send a HARO response that’s riddled with errors, so think about running it through an app like Grammarly, just to be safe.
I was so excited to see your query on HARO today that I had to respond right away! I know you must have a number of emails flooding in, so I'll get directly to the point, and hopefully I can provide you with something beneficial.
My name is ___, and I work with ___, (short description of company and CEO).
(Social Media Links)
HARO queries will be compiled into three editions -- morning, afternoon and evening on Monday through Friday. This is ideal, because there’s always a fresh list of opportunities to fit anyone’s schedule or time zone.
Be sure to look at and reply to daily HARO roundups as soon as possible. Journalists are all on a deadline, and chances are that they may not even read later replies to their query, even if the due date on the query isn’t for a few days.
Always target the most relevant queries to your brand first. Next, look for more out-of-the-box queries that could provide an opportunity for exposure to a different audience.
There’s nothing quite like receiving your first acceptance email from HARO. It’s also exciting because you know if you were successful once, you can definitely do it again.
When a query is accepted, respond immediately with a quick note of thanks. Once the journalist sends the published link, let them know the avenues where it will be shared on your end, as this added exposure can up the chances of being utilized as an expert for another article.
If the acceptance response comes from the editor or content manager, let them know that you are available for any additional assistance, as well as guest posts on a variety of topics that would fit well within their niche. Some sites looking for content submissions may automatically include this information, which is helpful.
Track Your Success
Keep careful track of all of your published links, as well as those that are pending. Once you have had ample time to experiment with HARO, it will be important to see the progress that you’ve made, so you can determine whether to make this a part of your daily work routine.
The best way to monitor for positive outcomes is, surprisingly, not only by counting the links that have been published. Keep in mind that you are building name recognition with journalists and content managers who are constantly searching for experts to contribute to articles.
Additionally, a link and good communication could lead to repeat exposure and even larger opportunities.
Writing and gaining exposure from content isn’t as simple as it once was when the golden age of content marketing began. Now we must contend with understanding Google tools, working with SEO and implementing all the right keywords.
When platforms are available to create opportunities for exposure and provide reporters with research that is often difficult to come by from reputable sources, there’s no reason not to jump in with both feet. Now that you have a game plan, you’ll be seeing the positive effects of utilizing HARO much sooner than you think.