Building links and finding press coverage for your business can be tiring. It’s time-consuming, tedious work, and hiring a link building agency can be expensive. But then there’s HARO (Help A Reporter Out), the best link building tool to get free links and press for your business.
At first glance, it may seem like the market is oversaturated with people trying to get their foot in the door of media outlets. But with the right link building techniques, you can gain high authority links from journalists who are looking for stories just like yours.
Let’s get those links coming your way with helpful whitehat link building tips on what HARO is, its benefits and some link building tips on how you can use it to get free links for your business.
In this blog, we unpack:
What Is HARO?
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) was initially a Facebook group founded by Peter Shankman in 2008 to connect journalists and sources.
Today, it is one of the most used link building tools, functioning as a mailing list of over 1 million sources and 75,000 journalists, and it works like a virtual bulletin board where reporters post queries asking for sources and potential interviewees to respond.
“The platform is incredibly important for businesses as it allows them to easily get their story out there without having to constantly search through multiple news outlets,” said Ron Evan Del Rosario, Thrive’s HARO Link Specialist.
As such, HARO is one of the best whitehat link building tools for brands and getting press coverage, “offering a win-win situation for reporters and businesses” who don’t have much money to invest in traditional public relations (PR) activities or an extensive media contact list.
You can connect with journalists who may not even know about your business yet, but could be interested in writing about it.
How Does It Work?
HARO stands out as an excellent link building tool for digital marketing campaigns that connects journalists and sources who are looking for stories and interviews.
Journalists will post queries on the platform, allowing them to source expert information quickly. Sources can then respond to the query by providing links, facts or other relevant information that could be used in a story.
There are, of course, some alternative link building tools out there, such as:
• Help a B2B Writer
However, when posting for queries, “while they are good alternatives, HARO is used more actively by major publications and news outlets,” Del Rosario said.
The platform makes it easy for any link building agency, sources and journalists to connect with each other without spending too many resources on media exposure and building links.
Signing Up as a Source and Start Pitching
We won’t discuss how you can sign up as a journalist in HARO, as you need to pitch to PR professionals and journalists. But it’s crucial for you to know how sources can sign up on the platform for their link building strategies.
Step 1: Create an Account
To start, head over to helpareporter.com and click on the “Sign Up” button at the top right corner of the page. You will be asked to provide basic information such as:
• Email address
Once you’ve filled in these details, you can hit ‘Create Account’ to get started.
Step 2: Confirm Your Email and Edit Your Profile
Next, you will receive an email from HARO confirming your account. Click the link in the email to confirm your account and activate it. After this, you can start editing your profile by filling in information such as a short bio and any social media links you want to share with journalists and PR professionals.
Step 3: Monitor Source Requests
After that, you can begin monitoring the source requests. HARO offers three emails – Morning, Afternoon and Evening – that are sent out regularly throughout the day to keep you updated on new queries or sources relevant to your industry.
Step 4: Submit Pitches to Reporters
If you find a query that matches your expertise, you can submit your HARO pitch. Keep it short and concise and provide enough details about yourself and why you are the right source for the story.
Once you’ve submitted your HARO pitch, wait for the journalist to get back to you with further information about the story or request an interview.
Pitch-Winning Strategies for HARO
If you go back a bit, you’ll see that you’re competing with hundreds or even thousands of other sources who also submit HARO pitches to the same query. That’s why it’s not enough to have a good HARO pitch (or worse, a bad one). You need an excellent one that stands out from the rest.
Here are some HARO link building tips for crafting winning HARO pitches:
1. Make Sure Your Pitch Is Relevant
Wasting your and their time with off-topic responses or irrelevant HARO pitches will never be up there as one of the good whitehat link building strategies.
This will only decrease your chances of success.
So, you must research, read through the reporter’s query thoroughly and understand what they are looking for before you hit “send.”
Furthermore, Del Rosario recommended speaking from experience instead of giving answers you can just find online or in a book.
You’ll have a much better chance of getting featured by highlighting your authority and relevance when answering queries from journalists.
If you don’t take the time to make sure your response is on topic, then it will likely just get deleted or ignored.
2. Craft Engaging Subject Lines
Next step? Nail the subject line! Most journalists receive hundreds of emails each day regarding their queries, so standing out from the pack is vital.
Ensure your subject line is formatted properly and engaging enough to catch their attention (e.g., “SEO Expert Shares Insights on Improving Rankings”).
Here’s a good format you can follow to get started:
[Your Name] / [Job Title] / [Query]: [Title of Your Pitch]
Avoid using overly long sentences or unnecessary words. They’re red flags for reporters to overlook your email and move on to the next one in their inbox.
Think of it like an elevator pitch – you want to grab the reader’s attention quickly, so they actually read your email in full.
3. Present Yourself as an Expert
If you have any relevant credentials or experience related to the reporter’s inquiry, include them at the beginning of your pitch. This will give reporters more confidence in you as an expert source, making them more likely to accept your offer for an interview or quote.
Also, ensure that whatever credentials you provide are backed up by solid proof – a link to a portfolio or website with case studies and references works best.
4. Keep It Short and Sweet
Reporters have busy schedules, so they’ll likely skip a long essay, even if you think it was a gem. So, get to the point and keep it short.
Focus on providing relevant information and key takeaways that will help with their story or article.
Also, try not to include attachments in your pitch – most journalists prefer to receive the email directly, as this saves them time.
Thrive’s search engine optimization or SEO content writing services are perfect for keeping your pitches efficient yet effective.
On your email signature, include “links to the company’s home page (both as branded anchor text and a naked URL), title, as well as your Linkedin and company social media pages for the writer’s reference,” Del Rosario said.
This makes you more credible and allows reporters to quote you more easily.
5. Follow the Inquiry Guidelines to Perfection
Most of the queries you’ll receive will have their own terms and conditions, so be sure to follow them up to the smallest detail. This will show reporters you’ve taken the time to read and understand their requests, increasing your chances of success.
For example, if they specify the format to submit your pitch, follow it. If they need a specific piece of information included, include it.
HARO also has their own guidelines that you must follow, including:
• Not offering link swaps.
• No backlinks should be paid.
• All Images need to be linked and not sent as an attachment.
• Similarly, you cannot send any attachments.
Not following these link building tips and guidelines might flag your response as spam and decrease your chances of making it to the reporter’s inbox.
6. Provide Value in Your Answer
Finally, and this is a no-brainer, provide value in your response.
All link building techniques require high quality and effort, and HARO is no exception.
You can do this by offering new insights, being honest and transparent about potential problems or issues, providing industry-specific knowledge and statistics, and giving practical advice on how to solve the issue at hand.
The more detailed and helpful you are with your answers, the better your chance of standing out from the crowd.
Remember: While Help A Reporter Out is the best link building tool, it is still about creating relationships between journalists and sources. So, make the most of it by showing off your unique expertise and building trust with reporters.
If you need help figuring out what to include in your pitch, you can refer to SEO consultants or SEO content writing services to optimize your HARO pitch for you.
Win Free Links and Expand Your Influence With Thrive
We hope these link building tips have given you the confidence to start your own HARO link building campaign. While several link building tools are out there, you still don’t want to miss out on what HARO has to offer. It’s the best link building tool for brands that need to connect with journalists and publications without breaking the bank.
If all of this seems daunting, don’t worry – that’s where our HARO link building agency and link building services come in.
At Thrive, our SEO consultants and link builders can help you get free press coverage and expand your online influence quickly and efficiently.
And it’s just not easy-to-get links that you’re going to win.
Thrive’s link building team has won several big links in the past three years because of top-notch link building strategies, including the following:
Unlike other link building agencies with a portfolio of easier-to-get links, Del Rosario is confident with Thrive’s advantage to win links that come from big, authoritative publications for your business.
So if you need any assistance with creating an effective link building plan or getting more media attention, contact us today at 866-908-4748! Our link building services are always ready to help you succeed.