Do you know what HARO is? HelpAReporter.com says that HARO connects thousands of businesses with roughly 130,000 bloggers, reporters, and news sources so that stories can be told which help promote and sell brands, products, and services.
Since it started, HARO has wound up publishing in excess of 75,000 journalist queries and facilitated over seven million media pitches, which cumulatively promoted and marketed nearly 1,500 brands to consumers, businesses, and the media. HARO is totally free to use for reporters and sources, working as a crucial social networking resource.
How to Get Noticed on HARO
Be Sure You Subscribe To The Appropriate HARO Industry Feed
If you’re not currently subscribed to get alerts in your industry, then you need to change that. You might have initially turned to HARO just to get website backlinks and even a few features on some high-reach outlets, but your best odds of getting through the overload is by staying organized. If you register for the media service, then you automatically get subscribed to one of the master lists, but for a lot of members, getting queries from categories irrelevant to them gets numbing quickly.
Consider the possibility that you run a hot dog food truck and might pitch a reporter for a finance article on antique dolls; that audience doesn’t want that content, and that journalist won’t think of you as a subject matter authority, regardless of how much you already know on the subject or are personally passionate about it. The entire goal here is using the widespread reach of an outlet to grow your base of potential consumers within a niche demographic. Picking the right industry or industries when you first sign up for HARO alerts is crucial, but you can also choose how frequently you want to get emails, as HARO sends its query reports as many as three times a day.
Put A System In Place
Filter out any daily queries which you don’t personally need. You can customize your inbox to have email filters so that the only HARO questions that get to you are the ones that have pre-selected keywords revolving around your own expertise. That way, you’ll only get HARO emails rarely enough that you’ll know you need to respond to the ones that you do get.
Only Respond To Ideal Matches
Once you start up your free HARO account, you’ll start getting requests from various journalists up to three times per day, usually at 5:35 in the morning, 12:35 in the afternoon, and then again at 5:35 in the evening. All these times are in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. Read each one carefully so that you can choose your best fit for each pitch. Only respond to queries if you have the information and experience that actually matches what that particular journalist is hunting for. If you don’t get any requests that match your expertise or pitch, wait. There’s always more coming.
HARO opportunities can disappear on you as fast as they show up, given that journalists have their own assignments, often with tight turnarounds and they might have sources respond in droves. Haro connects only 35,000 journalists to nearly half a million source members, so you can clearly see that competition is fierce. Plan to submit your pitch less than 12 hours after you get it, even if you have a few days for the deadline. Never send out pitches after deadlines have passed. Focus on putting together two solid paragraphs. These two paragraphs need to tell someone quickly what qualifications you have to answer a question and then what you personally have to say about the question. Be clear, be concise, and be quotable. Use complete sentences that are grammatically correct, because that makes life easier for writers. Everyone’s on a deadline, so quotes that can be cut and pasted without correction works better for writers and editors and will get your PR.
Follow All Of The Rules
Paying mindful attention to the few but essential rules will help you from getting marked off as spam, or even blacklisted and fully deleted out of HARO. Here’s 5 you should know:
Rule Number One: Don’t attach anything to any pitch. It’ll just get deleted so that reporters can have protection from malware and viruses.
Rule Number Two: Don’t pitch any product unless the query specifically asks for it.
Rule Number Three: Meet the requirements. If you find a query looking for tremendous holiday cookies from professional bakers, don’t respond back to them about the cookies you made for a Christmas party in your home. If you’re not qualified for an article, just move on.
Rule Number Four: Always follow the pitch instructions. If a pitch asks for only one sentence, then give them one and only one. Pay attention to what specifically reporters are asking for. If they need high-res photos, offer them. Give them exactly what they want and in a timely manner. Your chances of being used as a source and growing a positive reputation will go up a lot.
Rule Number Five: Review all of HARO’s rules before you pitch.
Other Expert Tips for Getting PR with HARO
- Attachments don’t work. They simply won’t go through the HARO system, as stated earlier, to protect recipients from viruses and other things they don’t want. Even if attachments did work, they’re likely to skip those in favor of responses that are easier and faster to read or process.
- Links can be shared, but URLs need to be copied and pasted. Relevant links might include your website and profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Having said this, HARO does recommend users physically cut and paste their URLs into the content you send, given that hyperlinks won’t always make it through the system.
- Templates are acceptable, although failing to personalize HARO responses isn’t kosher. It’s fine to start off with a copy/paste template for your response, but be sure you read through it all so that you can cater it exactly to each query. Recipients will know when you don’t, and they’ll take you as seriously as you took them.
- Never pitch anything off-topic. Don’t even pitch anything sort of on-topic either. If you’re unsure whether or not a pitch you’re making is relevant, it’s either not, or you need to forward it to a friend who knows to get their second opinion.
- Your editing and proofreading need to be meticulous. Journalists aren’t going to trust you, much less take you seriously, if your content is written poorly or has grammatical errors all over the place. Check your spelling and grammar thoroughly before you submit your pitch, which should only happen after careful editing and proofreading.
- Be distinct. If you want your response to stand out from the crowd and get the attention of a journalist, then it has to be unique. They’ll get a lot of pitches each day, so you need to strive to make your pitch simply better than everything else out there. Focus your message on what they need, as well as their audience. It shouldn’t be about you and your own needs.
- Remember to provide them with a usable quote. They don’t just want great information, as they also can always use a bit of quote text that is succinct and intelligent. Keep your quote less than three sentences that you write in a separate line. Send your reporter a thank-you email connecting them to the other SMEs you have. If you get a good response, send out the article link when it goes live. You might even be able to wind up connecting someone with more writers or experts, and that can move you up the ranks of HARO listings, which helps you and everyone around you out.
- When used wrong or improperly, HARO can be anything from a waste of your time to something that just overwhelms you completely. However, when used right, you can present yourself as an expert that journalists can turn to for information and quotes in the media pieces that they create. Respond to enough pitches right, and your business can get good press that helps you sell.