A great way of getting quality links is by using the HARO platform. This is short for “Help a Reporter Out” and it has been around for years now, but some experts don’t know what it is or how it works.
Even if they do, they may not be using the platform as well as they could. Getting featured in one of these stories can earn you some incredible exposure and a great backlink to your site.
I know what you’re thinking: What about the penguin and panda updates from Google? According to research done by Search Engine Land, you’ve got nothing to worry about. These are high quality links. Today I’m going to show you how to set up your HARO account and use it for maximum results.
How to Set Up Your HARO Account
Before we dive into the tips I have for you today, let’s talk about setting up your HARO account. It’s simple and easy. Start by heading to the HARO homepage:
You’re going to be a source for journalists, so go ahead and click the source button on the homepage. You’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:
This gives you a quick idea of how the platform functions. Your job is to monitor requests from journalists, and send your pitch to be their source for news information. With the tips I’m going to give you, this is going to work like a charm. From here, click the signup button.
Next is the page where you can choose from the plans:
Plenty of people find success with the basic plan, but there’s also success to be found in the premium plans. Brian Dean from Backlinko did a phenomenal video over at Quicksprout that shows how he uses the premium plan to get both exposure and links from HARO.
Once you’ve chosen your plan, you’ll be taken to the final page, which is refreshingly simple:
Now that we have our account all finished, it’s time to learn how you can use the platform to the best of its ability.
5 Tips for Using HARO to Gain Links and Exposure
Since HARO has been around for some time, the competition is going to be fierce. These tips will help you stay ahead of the game and win the links you need and deserve. Gaining this type of exposure and links will go a long way towards helping you with your plan to make money blogging, or gaining revenue from any other type of website.
When the HARO Emails are Sent, Be Ready
Diligence is key when it comes to being successful with HARO. When the emails go out, there are thousands of people on the receiving end. This means you should ready and able to respond the second those emails go out.
As soon as it comes in, open the email and check out the options. If you find one, pitch immediately. Don’t save it for later because those opportunities will be gone later. These journalists are running low on time, and need to get these stories filled quickly.
Even if a reporter says they have three days until the deadline, but the next day or two, they’ll have hundreds of offers. Bottom line?
Respond immediately when the emails go out.
Pitch to Relevant and Worthwhile Threads Only
While it may be tempting to pitch to every single thread possible, remember that you need to provide relevant and useful information to the media source. Pitching to journalists that are outside your topic will ultimately waste your time, and theirs.
In addition, make sure that you’re getting something out of the deal. When you’re about to pitch to a source, check the actual media outlet. Look at their rankings on Google, and how many social media followers they have. In some cases, the reporter won’t even place the media outlet in the summary, which is a good sign that you should move on.
If you are being mentioned, make sure you’re writing for a media source that is relevant and semi-popular so you know your time is being used wisely. The final thing you should look for is whether or not their links are Dofollow or Nofollow. This is important for SEO purposes.
That being said, even a Nofollow link can earn you a massive amount of referral traffic if the site is popular. That alone is worth your time, even if it doesn’t provide you an SEO boost.
Send the Perfect Pitch
Take a look at this pitch that I wrote. This is a perfect example of how to structure your response:
This pitch was accepted so use it as a template for your own. As you can see, it’s short and sweet. It also provides contact information so the reporter can reach you in a variety of different ways based on their preference. This is important because they may not have the time to call you. They may want to send you an email instead.
A great way to assist with your proposal is to use a tool like Hemingway to edit the email before you send it. Microsoft Word will work as well, and both will ensure you haven’t missed anything. The Hemingway app will help you tailor your style to ensure that everything you say is both precise and clear.
A word processor like Microsoft Word will help you catch spelling and grammatical errors. There’s nothing worse than sending a pitch to a reporter that is filled with errors. This will immediately give off a bad impression about your work’s quality.
Ultimately, the following factors will help you look more authoritative in the eyes of reporters and increase your chances of being selected:
- Twitter Followers – The average Twitter following is 200. If you can rise above this, you’ll look like an authority on your subject.
- A High Quality Website – Maintaining your blog or website with high-quality content and valuable information will also help you build a strong first impression.
- A Polite and Professional Tone – When reaching out to reporters, make sure you are polite and courteous to them. This will mean the difference between success and failure.
- Only Respond to Topics you know – While you may not want to flaunt yourself as an “expert” you should only respond to pitches you know you have knowledge for.
Stay Organized and Alert
Earlier in the article, you were told to be ready for the HARO emails when they arrive. Simply sitting at your computer and waiting for the emails to arrive is not enough. Since many of these will be irrelevant to you, or outside your field of knowledge, you need a method of organizing them. Not only this, but you should also have a means in place that notifies you when a possible match arrives.
Start this process by setting up folders in your email that filter through and categorize the emails you receive based on specific keywords that you want to see. For example, if you’re an SEO expert then you should pay attention to emails with keywords surrounding this topic.
For maximum connectivity, trying using a tool like If This Then That (IFTTT). This tool will send an SMS text message to your phone whenever an email comes in that mentions specific keywords you choose. Matthew Barby created a specific IFTTT recipe for this very purpose that you can implement yourself.
Here’s the bottom line:
- Create folders and alerts to organize and filter your emails from HARO
- Utilize tools like IFTTT so you’re always on alert and ready to respond
Use HARO to Build Authority
You can easily boost your chances of success on HARO by also utilizing aspects of Public Relations (PR) or Media Relations to build your overall authority on a subject. There are numerous ways to do this, and the results will get you backlinks and mentions on huge news outlets.
Try out these methods:
- Build Credibility and Expertise by starting a blog and using popular posts as evidence of your authority. Refer these to journalists in your pitches.
- Create an “As Seen In” image of the major news outlets you’ve worked with.
- Patience is a virtue. Work consistently and stay vigilant. Opportunities won’t come every day, or even every week, but they’ll come.
By creating a personal brand for yourself and building authority across your blog and contributions, you can easily show a journalist why you’re the expert on their subject. This kind of power will help you cut through the competition and rise to the top in no time!
HARO is a great platform for finding new and exciting opportunities. You can gain an incredible amount of exposure and links using this platform. Use the free plan while you can, and see how it improves your success. Remember to stay patient and vigilant so you don’t miss an opportunity.