13 Things To Know Before Signing Up For HARO


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What is one thing someone should know before signing up for HARO?

To help you decide whether or not to sign up for HARO, we asked experienced journalists and marketing experts this question for their best insights. From being wary of scammers to preparing for extensive competition, there are several viewpoints to consider before deciding to sign up for HARO.

Here are 13 things to know before signing up for HARO:

  • Be Wary of Scammers
  • Not All Haro Queries Are for Traditional Outlets
  • Do Your Research
  • Prepare For Mass Emails
  • Be Consistent
  • Track Your Quotes and Backlinks
  • Add External Links to Email Pitches 
  • Check Out Other Alternatives to HARO
  • Be Quick, Be Polite
  • Prepare for Confirmation and Follow-Up
  • Be Specific With Your Haro Needs
  • Check for Industry Representation
  • Prepare for Extensive Competition 

Be Wary of Scammers

When you pitch a HARO reporter, you need to know the following: If your pitch gets chosen, you’ll get a link to your company website. However, there is no guarantee you’ll get chosen. The farther from the time the request appears in your inbox, the less the probability you’ll get chosen. HARO reporters know within minutes who they’ll pick. Although HARO uses a straightforward pitching process, I find I’ve been scammed by some of the HARO reporters. While most are trustworthy sources, some HARO reporters insist I link to them in order to get a link from them.

Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging

Not All Haro Queries Are for Traditional Outlets

The HARO acronym stands for “Help a Reporter Out”, and while this conjures up images of traditional publications, HARO queries are from a whole range of media outlets, thus it is important to understand that not every query will lead to a printed word. Over the past few years, media outlets have changed the concentration of their formats, moving to video blogs, books, webinars and even podcasts, with traditional publications being only a part of their portfolio.

Therefore, when reading a query, it is important to note that if you are looking solely for backlinks, or printed word attribution to drive SEO and digital marketing, not all HARO queries provide such a path. In addition, many journalists will only provide a backlink if requested, which means that it is incumbent upon you to find out if and where you can be linked. HARO can provide some advantages, however, understand that your contributions may not always be used in traditional ways.

Yuvi Alpert, Noémie

Do Your Research

HARO takes a lot of work – period. Some companies may think that replying to a few questions every day via email can be fairly simple, but not if you actually want your responses to be published. Each response requires an expert quote, which means if you don’t have the appropriate answer at your fingertips, then you need to do your research until your response is actually of value to the reader. If not, it’s only one in a few hundred similar emails.

Ryan Rottman, OSDB Sports

Prepare For Mass Emails

HARO is a fantastic way to get your name out there and to build a great backlink strategy but be prepared for the mass emails that hit three times a day. It can be overwhelming with all of the different reporter queries, plus there are some queries there that do not have a great domain authority and are not worth responding to. It can have a large learning curve.

Michael Jankie, Natural Patch

Be Consistent 

HARO is completely a numbers game. The more queries you reply to and the more consistent you are in your efforts, the better the results. You simply can’t take a laid-back approach here and reply to queries only when you feel like it. Instead, you need a goal in mind, a schedule that helps you meet that goal, and deep respect for the reporter’s time and deadlines. That said, once you start putting in the work, you’ll steadily gain momentum and see those coveted backlinks come in.

Demi Yilmaz, Colonist.io

Track Your Quotes and Backlinks

Depending on the journalist you respond to, you may or may not receive a notification if your quote is published. That being said, you will need to take responsibility for tracking your quotes and backlinks online, whether through Google searches or through SEO tools such as Ahrefs. If you do not proactively keep track of whether your insights end up being included in online publications, you may never know what happened with certain pitches you sent to journalists.

Matt Miller, Embroker

Add External Links to Email Pitches

Before you sign up for HARO to help grow your SEO link-building strategy, it is important to note that HARO does not support attachments. Many people get this wrong when they try to attach photos and other files with their email pitches. Still, all these do not improve your chance of being picked but rather only help the system know which email to reject automatically upon sending it. When using HARO, the best advice is to add external links to your email pitches so that the journalist or software going through it can easily link back to the files you attached or use the same to recognize your pitch when publishing their content. Moreover, it is also worth noting that HARO is unavailable on weekends and notable US holidays. Therefore, it is important to plan your HARO pitching strategy to factor this to ensure you can optimize your link outreach efforts.

Ryan Yount, Luckluckgo

Check Out Other Alternatives to HARO

One thing someone should know before signing up to HARO is that there are also plenty of other alternatives to HARO you should also check out! You should definitely still use HARO as it’s a great platform, but many of the same websites and media outlets use this platform. By trying out other platforms as well, you can expand your reach and potentially get featured on more websites and media outlets. Some alternatives include Qwoted, Terkel, and SourceBottle. You can even browse through Twitter to find journalists looking for experts!

Laurice Wardini, ClothedUp

Be Quick, Be Polite

Before signing up for HARO, it’s key to understand you’ll need to be quick in responding to journalists. Don’t spend too much time on a query or you’ll risk missing out on getting into articles. If you read the HARO newsletters within two hours of when they’re sent, you have the perfect opportunity to land at the top of a journalist’s inbox. Journalists are loyal to trustworthy sources so make sure to answer any follow-up emails quickly and politely.

Anne-Marie Faiola, Bramble Berry

Prepare for Confirmation and Follow-Up

Due to the unfortunate practices of sources sending fake profiles using fake names, as well as responders answering queries for which they do not meet the criteria, HARO journalists and bloggers have been taking extra steps to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of responses. As part of a team of experts who writes and researches online, we abide by our company policy that we don’t answer a HARO unless we are available for follow-up. This usually only involves publishers requesting a quick phone call, in order to ensure that the person who sent the answer is a real human and not a bot. I also frequently see that publishers for HAROs I’ve responded to have checked my LinkedIn profile, so be sure to keep your profile updated. If a publisher does not find evidence to support the expertise you purport to have when you answer a HARO, your response will be discarded.

Karen Condor, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com

Be Specific With Your Haro Needs

HARO can be an excellent resource for generating expert input, but it is very important to be specific when appealing for information. If you don’t want to receive multiple emails from people in unrelated jobs or industries, be sure to specify who you want to hear from in your query. Give seniority, role, or industry qualifications. Better to only receive one or two useful responses from qualified people than to have an avalanche of unusable content.

Scott Hitchins, Interact Software

Check for Industry Representation

One thing to know before signing up for HARO is whether your industry is represented or not. Although every crucial industry, ranging from healthcare and IT to sales and management, finds its place on HARO, it is always a better idea to check if your domain is properly represented on the platform. Despite its popularity, HARO does not cater to every industry so it’s always good to run an initial check on before signing up for HARO.

Larissa Pickens, Everfumed

Prepare for Extensive Competition

I’ve been both on the “reporter” and “source” side of HARO (Help a reporter out). The competition is more than you would expect. Each query for a decent website gets at least 100-125+ pitches. Also the time it would take to land a backlink has increased significantly in recent times. Most of the time your pitch won’t even be opened by a journalist due to the number of emails received from the reporter’s end. Unless you have some regular dedicated time for sending pitches every day or at least every other day, you’d have to be more than lucky to receive anything over 1-2 backlinks per month.

Mohaiminul Sharif, Mohaiminul

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.

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