You don’t want your business to be among the 14% that fails due to poor marketing, right?
This is where HARO comes to save the day.
In this post, I’ll teach you how to use this platform to build high-quality backlinks for your website!
Let’s begin, shall we?
What is HARO and why should you care?
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a service that connects journalists or bloggers with highly credible experts in different fields. Just about anyone can subscribe to the emails and read and respond to queries.
You should care about HARO because it can give you the push that you need for your business. You can use it to get a praiseworthy mention and media coverage from the Huffington Post, The New York Times, and other well-established media outlets.
So for a jumpstart on the online presence of your small business, you should turn to HARO. Check out these reasons:
1. HARO helps you build credibility
If you own a digital marketing business, do you think people who could use your help will “naturally” come to you?
Why should they when you’re basically a “nobody”? They have no idea of the quality of your work, personal character, and work ethic. Therefore, they won’t feel comfortable in putting their trust in you.
So if they don’t know who you are, they’ll go ahead and turn to someone else. Maybe you can do a much better job, alright, but your profile can’t seem to back it up. And your business receives no points for it.
With HARO, though, you can turn your fate around!
2. HARO helps your SEO
Sure, practically anybody can respond to a HARO query — and get it published. But this is only true if your response is authoritative, highly informative, engaging, and well-crafted.
If so, you can enjoy the bonus of a citation and a backlink to your website!
Here’s a refresher on back-linking:
It’s the process of creating links from one website to another. It’s all for the good of both sides because it gives each other a “vote of confidence”!
You can use this approach to build backlinks with a pool of reputable websites as the source. As a result, your Google search ranking goes up and you end up driving more referral traffic to your website!
And you know what that means? Your chances of getting a sale are higher!
3. HARO increases brand awareness
And as it helps you build credibility, it also helps you drum up your brand’s popularity. The more popular you are, the more contacts you can shake hands and work with!
It ups your exposure and widens your network.
Who knows? Your next client might just be that big shot journalist you met through the platform.
How does HARO work?
You don’t have to rack your brains just so you could wrap your head around using HARO.
Another gem about this platform is that it works fast. This addresses the problem of people who are spending a lot of time looking for credible sources on the internet – and have no luck at it.
To get started using HARO, simply go to its website. There, sign up for an account or choose I’M A SOURCE.
Either way, you will be asked to sign up for a subscription.
Here’s a snap of the subscriptions:
Your choice should factor in your budget, the size of your business, as well as a particular need.
Let’s explore your options below and I’ll also advise you which subscription is best for you.
- Basic (free) – Along with the queries from journalists, this comes with 3x emails per day.This subscription won’t cost you anything. So if you want to give this platform a trial run, signing up for this is the best way to go.But don’t think that just because it’s free, it can’t offer you decent service. Well, you’re wrong. In fact, it’s ideal for virtually all small businesses with a low profile to operate smoothly!
- Standard ($19 per month) – This comes with everything the Basic subscription offers and it lets you search the database for specific or any active opportunities. You get keyword alerts, text alerts, and you can create a profile!Because you can perform a search with this subscription, it’s a time-saver. Therefore, it’s best for attending to specific requests or if you have a particular keyword in mind.
- Advanced ($49 per month) – This comes with everything the Standard subscription offers. But it grants you up to 3 keywords to use as a filter. And it lets you create up to 3 profiles!What’s more, it lets you get started on your campaign immediately. Unlike the Basic and Standard packages, this lets you get your hands on the HARO query the instant the HARO staff gives it their green light. This is definitely an advantage because you won’t have to wait for it in the email!
- Premium ($149 per month) – This comes with everything the Advanced subscription offers. The difference is, it basically grants unlimited options to you. With this subscription, HARO is your oyster!
After choosing your subscription, you’ll receive “master emails” at least 3x a day. These emails will be sent to the email address you provided upon registration.
Once you receive a master email that contains the query you want to respond to, it’s time to submit a pitch. Doing so is also easy.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for you:
1. Login to your account and choose My HARO.
2. Go to My Pitches.
3. Click Submit a New Pitch.
4. Fill in the query info and pitch details for Reporter Email, Subject, and Pitch.
As for what you key in the Reporter Email field, this refers to the anonymous email associated with the query you are interested in. As mentioned earlier, you can find this when you open a master email.
5. Hit SUBMIT.
How to use HARO to get backlinks
Now that you know how to get around the platform, it’s time to do more.
Because you want to get your hands on lots of links, you might think it’s a good idea to answer random pitches and start linking to the first website you come across — and then from every website, you encounter from then on!
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not. It’s a terrible idea.
After all, there’s a thing called a bad link. Rather than help you, this kind of link will drag you down.
So be careful. Don’t take the bait and instead, figure out which query is worth your while. Before anything else, do your research.
Only once you know if a link is of any good, it’s when you start focusing on other pressing concerns!
How to respond to each query
First is about what you do with it.
At this point, what you need to do is be practical. Upon seeing a query that you know you can “win”, you shouldn’t hold back. Instead, you should respond to it quickly – as fast as possible.
By responding early, you just upped your response’s exposure. The longer it’s out there, the longer the time that people get to stumble upon it. Therefore, it’s highly likely that more people will read — and even use it!
And on a related note, don’t mistake this advice as an invite for you to respond with silly answers – answers that come with zero value. While you should respond fast, it’s best to also find the time to craft an exceptional answer.
Otherwise, it’s best to have others respond to it. You’ll get a chance next time!
Remember, your objective is to build your reputation as an expert in a field. Only by creating a correct response can other people take you seriously.
How do you think people will see you if you respond with sheer nonsense?
They’ll find you annoying and start seeing you as a laughing matter. And because you just wasted their time, you’re most likely going to be a persona non grata in their world.
What to include and not include in your pitch
Next, figure out how to get the ball rolling with a pitch.
As mentioned, just because you have expertise doesn’t mean your success rate on HARO is automatically 100%. HARO is just a platform. It can’t give you the publicity boost that you want if you won’t do your end of the bargain.
Your pitch won’t get noticed if you don’t take the time to craft it right.
Luckily, there’s a solution. And that is to know the DOs and DON’Ts of what makes a good pitch on this platform.
To help you, here are a few pointers:
- DO read a query thoroughly – Even if it’s quite lengthy, check it out from start to finish. Reading just a part of a query doesn’t cut it. It will prevent you from sending the right response.
- DO answer the question – using as few words as you can. Especially if you want to go in-depth with your statements, it’s not impossible to end up talking about too many concepts. But it’s not a good idea. Instead, be straightforward with your answer. If you insist otherwise, it’s possible that your response – even though it’s informative – will get ignored.
- DO talk about your qualifications – Do you have a relevant Master’s Degree? Do you have years of experience? Then get it out there! It’s an “unwritten law” that if you respond to a query, you’re supposed to be knowledgeable and qualified enough – and of course, you need to prove it.
- DO take note of the deadline – You can find this information once you open a master email. HARO uses an automated email system that blocks your pitch if your submission misses the deadline. So even if you craft an outstanding response, it’s not going to reach your desired recipient if you sent it past the deadline.
- DON’T respond to queries you don’t entirely know the responses to – If you’ve always seen yourself as a top gun in a particular field, don’t feel bad if you can’t answer a query related to that field. That’s alright. What’s not alright is pretending to know something you no have zero information about.
- DON’T use complex terms – People ask queries on HARO because they want to learn. They want more information. But if you use words they can’t understand, do you think there’ll be any learning?
- DON’T generalize – While you shouldn’t use complex words, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck with generalizations. If people are looking for generic answers, they might as well turn to Google and other search engines, don’t you think?
- DON’T add attachments – If you want to support your pitch with images, links, and other resources, go ahead. It’s actually a plus! It helps you talk about your response more clearly. But know that HARO strips them so use links instead.
How to know if your pitch is accepted
So after you submitted your pitch, you’ll receive a message that tells you the deal. Sometimes, the response comes fast.
Other times, it doesn’t and in this case, what you can do is wait. Yep, just wait – plain and simple.
Take note, journalists are usually busy people with tight deadlines. Responding to your pitch might not be a priority. Don’t take it as them going against you.
Don’t message them over and over again about the same subject and message. They probably didn’t have much time to go through their messages – and your pitch — yet. Once they do, and they see you’ve sent them countless of pitches about the same thing, they’ll think of you as some desperate creep who can’t wait.
So just chill. And while you’re waiting, you might want to check your message.
Here’s a sample HARO pitch:
Subject: Information about [query] Message: Hi [their name], I'm [your name] and I am [brief introduction of your professional profile]. I came to respond to your query because [state the reason that makes you qualified]. To answer your query on [query topic], I can provide [query requirements]. [Answer the query briefly. Be concise. 2-4 sentences are usually enough to discuss a topic and provide valuable answers.] If you need more information, don't think twice about reaching out to me. I am happy and willing to elaborate on [query topic]. Sincerely, [Your name] [Job title and link to your website] [Email and phone number] [Social media handles] [Profile picture]
If your pitch is something like this, there’s a high chance that it will wow the recipient.
It’s simple! Granted you’re giving out valuable information, it’s straight to the point.
It’s also easy-to-read and comes with professionalism and respect! To top it off, the recipient can easily find you contact details.
Then again, if your pitch isn’t near the idea of this message, you should think about creating another — a better — message. You can send it to the same recipient, if you want.
You can also count your previous try of throwing a pitch as a loss and move on to submit a new pitch.
HARO link building: Final thoughts
An important reminder when using HARO is to follow a strategy. Don’t rush the process by thinking you’ll get an “easy victory”.
Sure, the platform may make it less challenging for you to reach out to journalists. But it’s not a good idea to recklessly do so.
Avoid sending pitches to random journalists as if it’s a spur-of-the-moment task.
A better approach is to first establish a relationship with them concerning the topics they find interesting. Find out if these are relevant, too.
This could take a while, but it’s more practical and soon enough, you’ll discover it’s also more rewarding!