Help a Reporter Out (HARO) Tips: 13 Ways To Improve Your ROI


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What is your best Help a Report Out (HARO) tip? How does this tip help improve your ROI from HARO?

To help you get the most out of your time and investment when using HARO, we asked HARO specialists and marketing professionals this question for their best advice. From sending a response ASAP to only answering quotes relevant to your industry, there are several suggestions that may help you build your brand’s online authority while getting a good ROI. 

Here are 13 strategies to improve your ROI in HARO: 

  • Always Include an Answer in Your Pitch
  • Include Background information
  • Keep Quotes on Hand
  • Sent an Email Filter
  • Send a Response ASAP
  • Think Out of the Box
  • Keep Answers Succinct and Full of Value
  • Follow Their Directions
  • Answer Queries Relevant to Your Industry
  • Leave It to the Experts
  • Format Your Response for Readability
  • Proofread Your Responses
  • Create a List of Sites That Provide Backlinks

Always Include an Answer In Your Pitch

Countless times, I have read pitches with zero insights to my query and instead include a summary of the individual’s expertise. The person will proceed to ask me, “are you interested in my expertise? If so, I can write a quote on this topic.” 

From my point of view, this person didn’t put in the time to read my query and instead pitched a general template explaining their expertise. If you’re submitting on HARO, make sure to always include your insights to the question in your pitch. This eliminates back and forth between the two parties and verifies that you spent time looking at the pitch. 

Thylan Le, Markitors

Include Background Information

Make sure to incorporate all of your relevant background information and credentials. Definitely include a link to your LinkedIn profile, as well. These things are important because your job title, professional industry, or areas of expertise could be major determinants of a reporter’s decision regarding whether you are a legitimate source to include in an article or not.

Maegan Griffin, Skin Pharm

Keep Quotes on Hand

My best HARO tip is to keep a cache of quotes on areas of expertise on hand. For instance, I provide my PR team with snippets about team building, employee engagement, and remote work, since those are my company’s main areas of specialization. This approach allows my team to compose and send pitches much faster, and HARO tends to reward swift answers that beat out the wave of responses by giving our replies more consideration. This method has at least doubled our amount of successful HARO pitches.

Michael Alexis, TeamBuilding

Set an Email Filter

Seeking earned media coverage is very time-consuming. You can be more efficient by setting up an email filter that alerts you to keywords contained in a list of queries rather than reading all of the lists you subscribe to three times a day. By reducing the time you spend on HARO and efficiently catching relevant queries, you will improve your ROI.

Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel

Send a Response ASAP

My most important tip for writing into HARO is to get your answers sent in as soon as possible. HARO queries get hundreds of responses, especially for high DA and popular websites. By getting your answer in quickly, you increase your chances of the journalist reading it before other responses. With specific queries, it is likely many people are going to be saying similar things, so by being the first one to say it, you improve the chances of your answer actually being included rather than the people who followed!

Brandon Brown, Grin

Think Out of the Box

I think the most important thing to consider is that hundreds of people like you will be replying to the same queries. You really need to put in some thought and make your pitch stand out in order for your insights to be useful to the journalist. Rather than taking the same old approach, dig a little deeper and draw from your unique personal experiences.

Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.

Keep Answers Succinct and Full of Value

If you want to maximize your ROI from HARO, keep your answers short, succinct, and full of value. Journalists and other writers do not want to read endless paragraphs searching for nuggets of information for their articles. Keep your responses to the point and free of any fluffy language that could detract from your expertise.

Courtney Buhler, SugarLash PRO

Follow Their Directions

My best HARO tip is to carefully follow the instructions that the reporter gives. This is important because even if you submit the pitch to the reporter by the deadline if you have not followed their specific instructions, they will often just throw out your response. You want to let the reporter know that not only are you willing to provide them with helpful content they can use, but you also want to give it to them in the exact format that they desire.

Shaun Price, MitoQ

Answer Queries Relevant to Your Industry 

Journalists need certified subject experts to weigh in and offer their opinions which is why they use HARO in the first place. If a reporter clearly mentions that they’re looking for experts in a particular niche, they’re only going to prioritize the ones who meet their criteria. Answering queries without being a professional in that field only end up wasting both your and the journalist’s time. 

Furthermore, it may lead to you being blacklisted or ignored by the journalist even if promising opportunities in your niche arrive in the future. On the other hand, if you follow the rules and focus your efforts on delivering better pitches within your area of expertise, you’ll have a better shot at success.

Larissa Pickens, Worksion

Leave It to the Experts

My tip is to use a link-building agency to elevate your Domain Authority. HARO is a grind and takes up a lot of time. By leaving it to the experts who have built rapport with journalists and also know how to answer queries succinctly on a regular basis you have a much better chance of being featured in prime media outlet publications — leaving you to get on with doing what you do best.

Tim O’Brien, The Healthy Place

Format Your Response for Readability

The most important thing to remember is that journalists receive hundreds of replies for their queries which makes finding the right pitch a tedious and hectic job. The last thing you want to do is make it more difficult for them by writing a pitch that’s difficult to dissect. For better readability, use a structured format that clearly mentions all personal details that the journalist requires. 

Ensure that you’ve cleared all unnecessary formatting and used bullet lists to state your points. It makes it a whole lot easier for reporters to skim through. As long as your pitch is relevant to their topic, doing this increases the odds of your pitch being selected!

Harry Morton, Lower Street

Proofread Your Responses

One of the best tips to apply when it comes to HARO is to proofread your responses. Take the time to not only craft well-thought-out, informative responses that will attract reporters, but also make sure to proofread them before you hit send. This can help you avoid making mistakes that the reporter will frown upon and increase your chances of getting your response accepted by the reporter.

Sheila Chaiban, One Ocean Beauty

Create a List of Sites That Provide Backlinks

If you are using HARO for SEO purposes, then you want to target only publications that give you link juice. Over time, you will gradually build a list of those publications that do and don’t give do-follow backlinks, including those that provide no-follow and branded mentions. You can also do your due diligence before pitching a HARO query to determine whether or not it is likely a website will provide the do-follow backlink you are looking for. 

Check out their blog section and scan for do-follow backlinks. Do the sources they use and refer to have links back to their respective websites? Building this list will ensure that you don’t spend time and money chasing lost causes, decreasing your cost per link built.

Sebastian Schäffer,

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