In today’s digital world, it’s crucial to have an online presence that catches the attention of potential customers. Did you know that building an audience is more important than making sales, according to 70% of brand managers (source: Smallbizgenius.net)? To stick in their minds, people need to see your brand at least 5-7 times.
So what are the right strategies or techniques to promote your brand, product, or service online without breaking the bank on ineffective ad funnels? How do you effectively gain online exposure and become popular online?
By positioning your business as an authority and your leadership as experts. That’s why many marketers and brand managers look to HARO to help. HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out, and it is a way to get your foot in the door with journalists and gain exposure through media coverage.
But is it worth your time? In this article, we’ll explore what HARO is, how it works, and whether it’s the right choice for boosting your brand’s online visibility.
What Is HARO and How To Use It?
Have you ever wondered how the media finds the people they interview for their stories?
The answer is HARO, or Help A Reporter Out. HARO is a platform that connects journalists with sources and experts for their articles.
HARO is owned by Cision, a company that specializes in media relations and helping companies connect with journalists. It’s a tool for connecting journalists with experts and sources for their upcoming stories—and it’s also a great way to get more visibility for your company or blog online. By effectively spinning your news stories through storytelling techniques, you can increase your chances of getting noticed and featured in media publications.
And getting noticed by potential customers online means that businesses need to create a strong online brand, provide valuable content, engage with their audience, and leverage digital marketing strategies to stand out in the crowded digital marketplace.
HARO has grown in popularity over the years because it’s an efficient way for reporters to find real people who can give them insights into their work. By using this tool, journalists can get authentic coverage with perspectives from everyday people—not just experts and spokespeople who have been paid by companies to talk about them.
It takes just one minute to sign up for HARO and start receiving requests from journalists looking for information on topics that interest you!
How Does Help a Reporter Out Work?
Monday through Friday and three times daily, HARO emails an audience of subscribers asking for expertise on relevant queries and trending topics. The query contains what you need to be of consideration and included in their topic.
Also, the query contains the deadline for submission and an anonymous email address where you can send your pitch.
HARO is a pitching process for companies that is straightforward, allowing sources to locate topics that would relate to their business and save time locating potential journalists.
How to Submit a Pitch on HARO?
Submitting a pitch on HARO involves responding to a query posted by a journalist seeking sources for their article. Here are the general steps you should follow:
- Sign up for a free HARO account at https://www.helpareporter.com/sources/.
- After signing up, you’ll receive daily emails from HARO with a list of queries from journalists seeking sources on various topics.
- Review the queries and find one that matches your expertise or business.
- Read the query carefully and follow any instructions provided by the journalist.
- Craft a pitch that directly answers the journalist’s questions, provides valuable insights or data, and demonstrates why you are a credible source on the topic.
- Keep your pitch brief and to the point, highlighting your unique perspective or expertise.
- Proofread your pitch for grammar and spelling errors before submitting it.
- Send your pitch to the journalist using the email address provided in the HARO query.
- Wait for the journalist to respond, and if they are interested in your pitch, they may reach out to you for additional information or quotes.
- If the journalist decides to use your pitch in their article, they will typically include your name, business, and a link to your website or social media profile, which can help increase your online visibility and credibility.
Here’s a customizable HARO pitch template you can use:
Subject: HARO Response: [Query Title] Hello [Journalist's Name], I came across your HARO query and would love to share my expertise on [Topic] with your audience. As a [Job Title] at [Company], I have extensive experience in [Area of Expertise], and I believe my insights could be valuable for your upcoming article on [Topic]. Specifically, I can offer unique perspectives on [Subtopic 1], [Subtopic 2], and [Subtopic 3], which align with the themes you mentioned in your query. Here are a few potential angles I can discuss in more detail: [Angle 1]: [Brief Description] [Angle 2]: [Brief Description] [Angle 3]: [Brief Description] If you're interested in learning more, I would be happy to provide additional information, quotes, or data to support your article. Please let me know if there's anything specific you're looking for, and I'll do my best to help. Thank you for considering my response, and I look forward to potentially collaborating with you on this exciting topic. Best regards, [Your Name] [Your Job Title] [Your Company] [Your Contact Information]
What Are The Benefits of Pitching Your Brand to HARO?
The benefits of pitching your brand to HARO include gaining media exposure, establishing credibility, building relationships with journalists, and potentially driving traffic to your website.
While creating and submitting pitches takes a little time and thought, the exposure and traffic it generates for your business are organic and free. Plus, you can develop relationships with journalists and bloggers that would be difficult to create any other way.
Further, leveraging the authority of media sites is a method to brand your business and its leadership as authority figures in your industry. When the media publishes you, you become a thought leader and an industry expert.
Journalists used to spend a lot of time and energy tracking down sources and experts to draft their articles. Today HARO makes researching articles simpler.
Is HARO Free?
Yes, Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is free for both journalists and sources to use. According to their website, HARO is free to sources and journalists and there are no fees for using the service.
It’s important to note, however, that while using HARO itself is free, responding to queries and landing media coverage may require time and resources from the source’s side, such as creating and submitting high-quality pitches, quotes, or other forms of content.
Additionally, some sources may choose to upgrade to a paid plan for additional features or benefits, but this is not necessary to use the basic service.
Some sources may choose to upgrade to a paid plan to access additional features or benefits. However, upgrading is not necessary to use the basic service and respond to queries from journalists seeking sources. So, while the paid plan may offer additional features that could potentially increase the chances of getting media coverage, it is not required to use HARO’s core functionality of connecting sources with journalists.
HARO Is A Great Idea But Has Its Share Of Challenges
However, there are a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before you sign up.
The Emails Will Come In Fast And Furious
If you don’t have time to sift through them as they come in, they will pile up in your inbox until you can get around to them—which may take longer than necessary if the reporter has already moved on to another story!
Depending on where you live, some of the queries may be expired by the time you review them (like if they were sent out late at night when everyone else is asleep).
Properly Vetting Sources
Again, HARO is free. The platform itself is user-friendly. You can navigate the dashboard easily. Not only that, but HARO even offers a mobile app too.
As a result, anyone can sign up, and HARO is not vetting the people who do. Unfortunately, someone who is illegitimate can sign up with a fake website.
A journalist or blogger could easily weed out fake accounts by asking for proof of an organization’s social media profiles.
Too Many Websites
HARO is very popular, so there is a lot of competition. A journalist could easily see over 100 responses to their query.
That is why you must be careful with your pitch and prove that you are the source they need. Another important tip is to send your pitch quickly, so you are first to respond and toward the top of the stack. If you wait, you will sink into the pile.
While the sources can be sketchy, so can the query. If you are in doubt do quick research or online background check on the publication or journalist. Stick to your niche, but also, when in doubt, wait for the next query.
If you are frustrated by answering lots of pitches and getting zero exposure, it is time to look for HARO alternatives.
There are other places where you can get visibility. LinkedIn is a great platform for finding professionals who are both journalists and professionals interested in your niche market. There is also a way to post articles and newsletters.
Inspired by HARO, there is a platform Help a B2B Writer, which specializes in expert sources and publications for B2B. It is a service that helps you find leads and sources with ease, but it doesn’t have the depth of HARO. This tool sends out mass emails to hundreds or thousands of journalists at once, with no way of telling which ones are actually interested in your story.
Terkel is another option that we don’t recommend using because it’s too expensive and not very effective at getting results quickly (if at all). It is a more straightforward platform, which rather than seeking expert input, will post questions to find answers. It has fewer users than HARO and thus fewer chances of getting a response from an expert.
LinkSourcery is a platform that organizes queries from various online sources. LinkSourcery isn’t really a service so much as it’s a website that lets you search for people and companies on Twitter by keyword or location, but it’s not nearly as helpful as HARO because it doesn’t allow you to search by industry or topic.
What Can You Do Instead…
In the crowded digital marketplace, getting noticed by potential customers can be a challenge. While there are several services available to help businesses gain online visibility, it’s important to find the right one that fits your needs and budget.
At the end of the day, gaining online visibility is about making sure that people can find your website, read your content, and connect with you. And that’s what AmpiFire does best.
AmpiFire uses a combination of strategic content creation and multimedia assets to secure valuable digital placements for your business. We leverage our partnerships with key media sites to help you users increase your online visibility, brand awareness, and potentially generate more leads or sales. To learn more about AmpiFire and its potential benefits for your business, check out our article on the AmpiFire effect or schedule an appointment with our team .