HARO (Help A Reporter Out) has been used by online influencers, bloggers, and professionals for years to boost their businesses with the help of more media coverage online.
What even is HARO and how does it work though?
What is HARO?
HARO stands for Help A Report Out and its purpose is to provide a safe and free space for journalists to connect with bloggers and other expert sources to fulfill their writing assignments.
As you may or may not have noticed, many written pieces in both digital and print media have quotes and ideas added from various experts. You might see a line in an article like the one below which is a media mention on debt.com that I was actually able to get through HARO myself as a blogger and side hustle expert.
How was I able to actually snag a mention and get my words and face on debt.com?
Let’s dig into the actual mechanics of how HARO works, the competition that you’re up against, and how to create the perfect HARO strategy so journalists want to include you and your words instead of the next person’s.
How to Use HARO
Before you are ready to use HARO and start responding to journalists, you have to first sign up as a source and set up your HARO account. If you’re a journalist, sign up as a journalist to submit your topics and requirements for the articles you’re working on.
Don’t worry, it is completely free to sign up and use.
Once you’re signed up as a source, you’ll receive daily emails from HARO with different topics and requirements from journalists that you can start reaching out to if the topics are a good match.
3 Steps to Use HARO to Get Media Features
Let’s dive a little deeper into how this process exactly works.
1. Select the Topics You Want to Receive HARO Emails For
Before you can start receiving emails from HARO for media feature opportunities, you have to select which topics you want to receive emails for. These selections should be as relevant as possible to your niche so you can have the best chances of being the expert they end up featuring.
For example: Since I run a financial blog, I selected to receive emails relevant to business and finance topics.
2. Check Your Daily HARO Emails
Once you have the correct topics selected to receive emails for, you will receive an email every day in the morning, afternoon, and evening with the inquiries that were submitted that day. You will also receive an email for each topic that you’re signed up for so if you’re signed up for both Travel and Finance then you will receive an email for each.
See below example of the business and finance emails that come from HARO:
3. Write Your Pitch (and Write it Quickly)
Once you see a topic inquiry that is a good fit to respond to, it is time to craft your perfect pitch.
Not only that, but you have to write that pitch as quickly as possible because at the same time you could have a hundred other bloggers and experts trying to respond to that same topic inquiry. The faster you get your response to the journalist, the better your chances are for getting a media mention (and have your response be complete as possible so they don’t have to waste any more time by reaching out to you for further information).
Make sure you can put something in the subject and message to make you stand out from the rest too. This will help your chances of getting featured.
For an example of a pitch, you can refer to the below pitch I actually sent to a Bustle journalis. You can also read the same Bustle article that I got a media mention in because of this pitch.
My name is Daniella Flores and I am the creator and author of iliketodabble.com, a blog about creative money tips and side hustles. Since side hustling requires heightened productivity, we have a few hacks up our sleeves.
Our best hacks to staying productive are:
– Turn off your phone notifications. Yea that’s right, you don’t have to turn on your phone completely while you work (since some of us use it as a resource as well), but turning off your notifications will prevent you from getting distracted.
– Make sure you are working in a quiet place, free from other distractions. Of course, if music helps you get in the flow, by all means continue with the music! If you work at home maybe see if your significant other can take the kids and/or pets out for awhile while you work. If you work in an office, maybe book some time in a vacant office and put your calendar on do not disturb so you can get as much done without interruptions.
– Set reminders for yourself via your alarm feature on your phone.Let’s say there are multiple things you need to get done YESTERDAY. Set an alarm for each. Guestimate how long each task might take you so if it is a 30 minute task, set an alarm for each task 30 minutes apart from each other. This way you can work on each task, 1 at a time and not self sabotage with multitasking.
Thanks and let me know if there is anything else you need!
If you end up using my quotes can you link my site iliketodabble.com and if you share it can you tag @iliketodabble on twitter and facebook?
Creator and author
4. No Follow-up is Necessary Most of the Time
I think it is extremely important to note that with HARO pitches, there usually isn’t any follow-up necessary. You may not get a response on about 50% of your pitches but don’t waste your time trying to follow up with those journalists because when they fill their need for an article, many will end up ignoring those follow-up emails you send.
Now, about 10% of the time there may be some journalists that need maybe 1 more quote and don’t want to go through their stack of responses. That is when a follow-up might do you some good – it puts you at the top of the stack and someone might actually respond (especially when they are close to their deadline).
However, I’ve only gotten crickets on any followup I have ever done on my HARO pitches. I find it much more beneficial to move on to the next HARO pitch.
You also might still get featured with no response from the reporter or journalist. If this happens you can use something like Google Alerts to track any mentions of your name or brand name online which is also free to use.
I can’t remember who originally said this quote but it went something like “Promote yourself everywhere until everyone knows who you are” which doesn’t mean you have to literally be everywhere but try as much as possible to put yourself out there.
The more you put yourself out there, the more people will find you.
In addition to using a free service like HARO to get media coverage, other ways of putting yourself out there could look like:
- Promoting your content and expertise on your social media channels
- Engaging with others in your field or niche
- Reaching out to those looking for sources for articles, interviews, etc in Facebook groups and Slack groups
- Following journalists on Twitter, engage with them, and reach out to them if a story or idea you have might be a good fit
HARO is only one piece of your media coverage strategy but it shouldn’t be your only piece. Use it as a tool and use it wisely.