Expert Tips On Using Help a Reporter Out For Powerful Links

Help a Reporter Out link building

You might know that getting backlinks from high authority sources is a major factor in ranking well in search engines. Getting these links, however, can be a challenge. I will teach you how to use Haro to build authority backlinks to your website.

You can try blindly pitching yourself to various blogs, magazines, and newspapers, but that can be a significant investment of time and energy for little to no results. What if these high authority sources came to you instead of the other way around?

A service called Help a Reporter Out,  makes it happen. HARO is an excellent way to get traffic, build backlinks, and gain authority for your business website.

Help a Reporter Out Website, Click Source to get started

Help a Reporter out front page

What is Help a Reporter Out?

The acronym stands for Help a Reporter Out. It’s a service designed to help journalists. These writers need connections to experts in various fields. The service lets them put out calls of exactly who and what they’re looking for. This allows you to send direct quotes to someone who is already looking for you, a much better option than the blind pitch.

A wide array of publications use HARO on a daily basis. Including many very high quality, high authority sources, like The Huffington Post, Mashable, Time, The New York Times, Fast Company, and Good Morning America, to name a few. More than 35,000 journalists use HARO in all.

How to To Get Links and Website Authority

Help a Reporter Out can have a steep learning curve and also be time-consuming if you jump in blind. There are different tiers of use, including both free and paid versions with monthly membership fees.

Do I use the Free vs. Paid Version

Is HaroFree?: Getting started with HARO is as simple as signing up with your email address on their website. No need to spend a penny. Once you sign up, three emails will show up in your inbox each weekday. The emails will include 30-50 inquiries, broken down into categories like Business and Finance, Health and Fitness, and Travel.

categories available at help a reporter out

After signing up, check the categories you want to be a source for.

Each inquiry includes a brief summary that lists the requirements. It also includes the publication, contact information, and a deadline. You can choose to reply to as many as you want. You simply contact the reporter via email.

Paid option:

The daily email of topics you get as a free HARO user can be overwhelming. It requires time to scan through to see if there is anything relevant to your niche. The paid version lets you focus on specific topics and areas of expertise, making it easier for you to see only what is relevant to you.

You can also create a personalized profile that you can attach to any reply you send. The different levels of paid memberships also offer other perks like text alerts, early access, the ability to create more than one personal profile, and capacity to search all current inquiries. The paid version provides a small advantage over free users.

free or paid versions

Paid HARO membership plans start at $19/month and go up to $149/month. At the higher end levels, you get more perks like the ability to filter for several keywords, capacity to have multiple personal profiles, early access to opportunities, and support via phone and email.

It’s possible to find great benefit with the free version, but the paid memberships can make it easier to succeed. You can view Haro reviews on Yelp.

How to write a pitch that will get noticed:

  • only pitch if you meet all the requirements
  • provide enough detail and follow the instructions
  • make sure you respond to each part of the journalist’s need
  • always include a brief author bio and your website link with your pitch

Your pitch should always be your highest-quality writing. Be sure to pay attention to spelling and grammar. Always proofread with a tool like Grammarly! Try to strike a balance of providing enough detail but being concise.

Typically, your response should only be around one paragraph (3-4 sentences) in length. The exact length will vary depending on the inquiry. Some pitches will need to be much longer and more detailed.

The tone of your message should always be friendly and polite. Address the journalist by name, if provided. I have found a small personal message offering to follow up or elaborate increases the chance of getting a reply.

make the pitch

fox business link

The Benefits of Using Online PR Correctly

amex backlink earned from help a reporter out

Using Help A Reporter Out correctly will bring traffic and awareness while improving rankings and domain authority. Yes, it takes time to rank in Google and help a reporter out is just one tool at your disposal.

It’s a good idea to check the domain authority of a source before pitching them. Pitching high authority sources could give you a huge boost. Spend extra time on a more important potential link.

These high-quality sources, however, are almost certainly getting tons of responses from people like you. It is vital to make sure your pitch is of the utmost quality and will make you get noticed.

haro in action

You cannot expect for every pitch to land a link. As you get more practice with crafting the perfect pitch, you will start to get more traction. Be consistent and pitch every opportunity that is a good match for your expertise.

A well-crafted pitch can be memorable, and that is always a good thing to be.Even if a source doesn’t use you for a particular article or piece, they may think of you in the future.

My Personal Top Secret HARO Hacks

  • Be sure to answer ALL the questions from Help a Reporter Out. The journalist doesn’t want to read why you are qualified for their story and then you not provide the answer they need. Never leave a journalist wanting more information. Chances are they will skip your email without asking for more details.
  • No rambling allowed. Granted, journalists appreciate a well informative response, but they don’t have time to read an essay. If they have further questions, they will contact you for the answers. KISS, keep it simple stupid.
  • Do not include attachments. Ever. HARO will remove any attachments sent to a journalist. If there is an image requested,  use google drive or dropbox.
  • Use a quality custom subject line about the topic to get the writers attention.
  • Don’t send generic replies. Even though it is tempting to send the first thing that pops in your mind, don’t. If it seemed like the easy answer to you, then it probably did to another couple of hundred responders.  Think outside the box and be original.
  • Don’t appear as a cheesy PR or salesperson. The journalist will know an actual pitch versus the “car salesman” gig. You want links, not to sell them a car.   
  • Say more with less. Tell as much as possible in as few words possible. Your response should be a short pitch of your qualifications and a direct response to their query.  
  • Offer quality expertise and advice. If you want your pitch to be in an article, you need to be sure it contains value to those reading it. Read the query very carefully and respond with only details you are qualified to reply about.
  • Meet deadlines because most are working on a very tight schedule and are busy pulling a story together. You may have very little time to respond to an inquiry. Therefore, you need to stay on top of your game, or you risk missing out on a great opportunity of getting noticed.
  • You will receive your emails the same time every day; morning, afternoon and evening. To reap the rewards, you need to respond quickly but professionally.  
  • The majority of HARO listings are online publications but don’t neglect visual and audio inquiries, such as podcasts.  

Other Tips For Help a Reporter Out Success

Pay attention to reporters deadlines. Journalists are often busy and working with tight deadlines. As a result, some inquiries have a quick turn around. You need to stay on top of it, or you will risk missing the perfect opportunity for your website to get noticed.

The emails come around the same time each day: morning, afternoon, evening. To get the most of the service, stay on top of these emails so you can act fast.

Emails go out at:

6:30am CST , 12:30pm CST, and 5:30 CST

guests for a podcast

Seeking podcast guests example

Don’t always expect a response

You likely won’t get a “rejection email.” Try not to take offense. Do not contact them again to check in, as it’s a fast way to make sure they’ll never use you in the future. Instead, move on. Remember that doing SEO for your business is a long-term approach with many benefits.

Not every pitch is going to win. In fact, the majority of them will fail. When HARO does produce a link, it usually has a big return. Be patient and consistent, and you will succeed.

get published

You win some, you lose some, and this one I won.

Help a reporter out alternative?

Sourcebottle is an alternative to HARO that works in a similar fashion.

Hire an Online PR Expert

Still confused how to use Haro? Maximize your results by making use of my expertise and experience.

Contact me today for help using Help A Reporter Out as part of your online marketing SEO strategy.