What is HARO (Help a Reporter Out)?
HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is one of several free PR tools that matches journalists with credible expert sources across a variety of fields. We've been raving about HARO for quite some time now, and for good reason. We've been using HARO for over five years now, and have used the service to secure our clients media coverage from outlets including the Today show, The New York Times, the Huffington Post and many, many others.
How effective is HARO? Actually, we can tell you exactly. We ran a 30-day HARO experiment where we "went hard at HARO" for TCF, and the results were so amazing they'd be unbelievable if we didn't have the links to prove it. In 30 days, we were interviewed as digital marketing experts by six different media outlets, including Success magazine. Those six pieces of coverage turned into 11 backlinks, which are absolutely awesome for SEO.
For anybody looking to build up an online presence (or just get backlinks), HARO is great for the following three reasons:
1. Get established as a thought leader in your industry.
What good is it to be the best email encryption expert in the country if nobody knows about you? By responding to HARO requests looking for experts on email security and encryption, you can build up your credibility. More likely, you're a small business owner with a unique product or service - HARO is great for getting the word out about that, too. Plus, the more you're quoted as a source, the more likely people will want to use you as a source.
2. HARO is an excellent way to get quality backlinks for SEO.
In order for a blogger or journalist to send out a HARO query, the website they write for has to have an Alexa ranking of 1 million or less. This means that just about all of the queries are for publication on decent websites.
If the writer quotes you as a source, they'll often link back to your website. This is great for your SEO, because over time, you can use HARO to earn a wide variety of backlinks from reputable websites that you probably wouldn't have been able to get on your own via content marketing initiatives.
This can bump you up in Google search rankings, while also pulling in more referral traffic to your site. More website traffic = more leads = more sales!
3. Make great contacts.
Through HARO, you'll get connected with journalists and bloggers around the world. You can build great media contacts by being an interesting and helpful source. The next time they're writing an article about how to protect your email from hackers, they'll think of you. Or if you're launching a new app update that makes email encryption easier than ever, you'll already have some contacts who might be interested in writing about them.
It goes without saying that you should always avoid spamming people. It's one thing to reach out to a reporter from Wired about your amazing email encryption app, but quite another to e-mail the writer of US Weekly with the same information. The key here is to only pitch relevant queries, because otherwise you'll just be wasting your time (and the reporter's, which is never something you want to do). You should also note the deadline on HARO requests, since each one comes with a time-sensitive e-mail address that stops working after the deadline.
When you sign up for HARO, you'll get up to three emails a day -- each with dozens of queries from reporters. The queries cover every topic you can imagine, so don't think that because your business and expertise is super niche there won't be any relevant opportunities for you. As long as you regularly read the emails, you'll find reporter queries that you're qualified to respond to.
There are dozens of digital PR tools that all claim to help you achieve your goals, but HARO is one of (if not the) best. HARO can be a great resource for anybody looking to expand their online reputation and get backlinks. No matter what your field, if you're looking for free online PR tools to build your credibility, Help A Reporter Out can help you out.
Ready to send your first pitch? Check out TCF's guide to writing HARO pitches, which outlines the same strategies that we use to get our clients media coverage via the service. Know of an entrepreneur who could stand to get some media placement? Send them this article, and if you tweet it make sure to @ContentFac so we can say thank you.