What Is HARO? A Complete Guide on How It Works

Boni Satani

Boni Satani

October 5, 2020
What Is HARO-A Complete Guide on How It Works

Backlinks often referred to as inbound links or incoming links are links from another website to YOUR website.

Throughout these years backlinks have helped Search Engines discover new websites & assess the authority of websites.

Search Engines such as Google or Bing considers backlinks as ‘votes’ and hence more quality votes you have for your website, higher are your chances to rank better.

There are over 200 ranking factors that influence the ranking however backlink is one of the important factors.

In fact, Google has shared the top 3 ranking factors which includes links, content, and rank brain.

Numerous studies have also shown a direct correlation between total referring domains and website ranking.

For example, SEMrush did a Ranking Factors study in 2017 by analyzing the 600,000 keywords and the websites which ranked in the first 100 SERP positions for those keywords and found a direct correlation between referring domains and Website Position in SERP.

Ranking Factors study

So it’s apparent that Links have HUGE Influence on where your website ranks in SERPs.

But,

It’s important to understand that not all backlinks are equal.

Over the past couple of years, Google has become extremely good at identifying bad or low quality backlinks.

So your goal should always be to earn few High Quality Backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites.

There are a lot of activities to build quality backlinks. Some of the most popular link building activities are Skyscraper Technique, Guest Posting, Link Reclamation, broken link building, resource page link building, HARO, and a few more.

Today, we will FOCUS on building quality backlinks using HARO.

When most of the link building activities are difficult and time consuming, HARO emerges as one clear winner to earn links fast and easy.

In Fact:

HARO has helped us earn backlinks from a websites that has a Page Score (PS) of 80+ and Traffic that runs into Millions in just 30 days.

In this post, I’ll show you how to earn quality backlinks using HARO.

Let’s get started:

  • What is HARO?
  • How HARO Works?
  • Benefits of HARO
  • 4 Steps to get started with HARO
  • Client Example

What is HARO?

HARO is an acronym of ‘Help a Reporter Out’.

It’s a FREE service primarily used by journalists, who need Expert Quotes (or tips) from Subject Matter Experts (often referred to as a ‘Sources’) to add more value to their article.

Journalists also uses HARO to feature ‘New Products’ or ‘New Startups’ in a specific industry.

It’s a fantastic platform to get in touch with respectable Journalists. The service is used by 55,000+ journalists & bloggers including Journalist from big media outlets like Forbes, New York Times, Washington Post, and many more.

Media Outlets using HARO

How HARO Works?

Process Flow of HARO

Consider a Journalist from ‘Figure’ Media Outlet (which has a traffic of 184k per month as per SEMrush) and is assigned a task of creating content on ‘Home Renovation Tips’.

He logs into HARO and creates a pitch like this:

Example HARO Query

The above pitch is then sent to all the people who have signed up to receive the queries.

Home Renovation Experts/Interior Designers who may find the above query relevant, writes a pitch and submits it to the journalist. If the journalist finds the pitch useful, he/she may publish an answer along with the website link.

Example of a Pitch Published
Example of a Pitch Published on a Website with a Traffic: 37.9K as per SEMrush

Before we do a deep dive into HARO, Let’s look at the three obvious benefits of Using HARO:

  • Quality Backlinks:

Most of the link building activities are now outreach based and it requires a lot of time in finding a relevant prospect, creating a relevant link bait content & pitching them for links.

Fortunately, HARO isn’t as hard & time consuming as Outreaching Activities.

With HARO, You don’t have to create new shiny content or reach out to some prospect for links, you just need to respond to the queries of a journalist and you are set with building some high quality backlinks for your website.

It is one of the best ways to build links from multiple media outlets without spending thousands of dollars in content creation and promotion.

Based on our experience, using HARO, you can earn 1 – 4 links for your clients every month from a high authority website.

  • Visibility:

If your answer is published on a well-known website, your site gets promoted to a sizable audience, which gives you and your company immense visibility.

  • It’s free:

The platform is free to get started and the only investment required from your end is your time and effort.

4 Steps to Get Started with HARO:

Step 1: Signup on HARO

The first step to get started is to Sign up as a “Source” on HARO

Source Page

Next, you’ll have to choose the membership level. If you are just starting out, we recommend choosing the ‘Basic FREE’ Level.

HARO pricing plan

Once you select the Membership level, you need to enter the below details:

HARO Sign Up page

After you sign up and complete the email verification, you have to select your preference:

HARO Preferences

If you work in a specific industry, or are an expert about something specific, you can sign up to receive those specific category queries.

If you are unsure or are just getting started with HARO, select ‘Master HARO’ List.

If you have reached here, you are now ready to start receiving the queries from HARO.

Step 2: Qualify Queries

When you Sign up for HARO, you’ll receive three emails every day, Monday-Friday:

  • 5:35 AM EST
  • 12:35 PM EST
  • 5:35 PM EST

These timings are fixed and hence it’s up to you to regularly monitor the queries.

The Subject of the email will look something like as shown in the image below:

Subject of HARO Email

And here’s what you see once you open the email:

HARO Email

If you are subscribed to the Master List of HARO, you will get around 50 – 70 queries per email. That’s technically 150 – 210 Queries, that you need to monitor, daily.

BUT:

Here’s how you can quickly view & qualify the queries daily:

  • Setup a filter in Gmail that stores email from haro@helpareporter.com in a separate label in Gmail instead of Inbox.
  • This way you will stay organized with HARO Emails and can view emails immediately.
Gmail filter setup for HARO emails
Screenshot of Filter Rules
  • Define 7– 10 keywords related to your industry.
  • For example, if you are looking for queries around online marketing, you can define keywords such as SEO, Social Media, Facebook, Instagram, Link Building, Content Marketing, online marketing, marketing, etc.
  • Next, Search those keywords one by one in the email using Ctrl + F
  • Review the query, if it’s relevant and add it to your list to answer.

Now that you have a relevant query to answer, let’s look at how to respond to them:

Step 3: Write the Perfect ‘Pitch’

Writing a perfect email pitch to a Journalist is tough. Not only does it have to have the RIGHT content but also it should reach them at the right time and should show some expertise.

We’ve sent hundreds of HARO pitches over the last 3 years but only a handful of them actually landed us a link.

When I reviewed all those successful pitches, I realized that most of them had the same set of qualities. If you employ these mentioned tips, you will have a higher chance of acceptance:

  • Follow the Guidelines:

Every HARO query is made up of four important parts: Email, Deadline, Query and Requirements. I’ve explained them below:

  • Pitch on the RIGHT Email:

It’s the email id on which you have to send your pitch. Every query, has a unique email id.

  • Pitch BEFORE Deadline:

It mentions the date and time before which you should email your pitch to journalist. In our experience, the sooner you reply to the query, higher are you chances of acceptance.

  • Read the Query Twice Before Writing the Pitch:

As we discussed earlier, journalist are looking for a Specific tip/ quote for the content they are currently working on and hence most often than not they will mention their exact need in the query section.

It’s important that you thoroughly read the query of the journalist and prepare the response.

  • Check Your Eligibility before Pitching:

Journalist often wants an expert to respond to their query and hence they will mention the designation, job title or skill sets of a person who is qualified to respond to their query.

Understanding the query and requirement part of the email will help you to draft a relevant pitch.

  • Get to the point FAST in Your Pitch:

There are over 800,000+ sources registered on HARO. Hence, the number of pitches a journalist gets for their query would more than 100 per day.

So, it’s important that you get straight to the point in your email pitch.

Here’s an example pitch, where I jump directly into answering the #1 marketing tip for promoting books:

Example HARO Pitch

And this is how it was published online..

Published Pitch

Avoid Simple Mistakes:

  • Check grammar, punctuation, and spellings before sending the pitch
  • Make a good use of bullets or sections so that the Journalist can easily consume it.
  • When using quotes or stats, provide strong proof or reference to the original article.
  • Keep the answer short and simple. You don’t need to write a 300-word pitch unless you need it to communicate your pitch better.
  • Do not add any attachments like files.
  • Do not copy paste the answer from alternative sources.

Sample HARO Pitch:

Here’s the template we are currently using for all our pitches:

=======================================================

Subject Line: [Query Name]

Hi [Journalist’s Name],

Please find below my pitch for “[Query Name]’

  • Tip 1
  • Tip 2
  • Tip 3

Hope this helps. Feel free to reach out to me for more information.

Cheers,
[Name, Designation]
[Website URL]
[Twitter Handle URL]

=======================================================

Step 4: Send the Pitch

The last and the final step is to send the Pitch BEFORE the deadline. Every query has a unique email id, so make sure you send your pitch to that exact email id.

While sending the pitch, you can use the query name as your subject line:

Example of Subject line

If you missed the deadline, it’s not the end of the world.

You can always identify the email id of the journalist & ask them if they are still looking for pitches.

Client Example:

For one of our clients in the Home Improvement Niche, we were actively looking for some HARO Queries.

In July, we came across this request:

The query was relevant and from a good platform. We reached out to the client and asked them to provide us the answer.

Here’s the snapshot of the pitch we sent to journalist:

The above pitch was accepted and we earned a link from the Hunker which has a SEMrush Authority Score of 64.

Final Thoughts:

HARO is a latent but effective method for creating high‐quality backlinks and press mentions. But consider this, the method requires a bit of patience and in time, you will surely receive high‐quality queries. Now get out there and give it a go — and good luck to you on the backlink battlefield!

Do you want to know how HARO can be profitable for your business, get in touch with us and we will guide you.


Boni Satani

About Boni Satani

Boni Satani is the head of marketing at Zestard Technologies Pvt. Ltd. With over 8+ years of experience in SEO, Boni has helped many national and international businesses increase their online visibility and reap high ROI. He frequently blogs for the Search Engine Journal and YourStory. You can find Boni on Twitter and Linkedin.

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