How to Get Exposure and Links Using HARO

Are you looking for more mentions on major media sites like CNN.com and The Huffington posts? Of course you are! But the big question is: “how?”. Enter HARO. HARO (which stands for “Help a Reporter Out”) is a service that connects journalists in need of sources to publicity-hungry marketers like you. In this video you’ll learn how to get the most from this PR service, with an overview of free and paid options.

Video Transcript

Hey. What’s up, everybody? It’s Brian Dean from Quick Sprout. In this video, I’m going to show you how you can use HARO, help a reporter out, to get more links, traffic, and brand exposure for your business. So basically, HARO is a dating service that connects journalists that need sources and people like you that are looking to get featured on major media publications. So, the first step is to sign up for your HARO account, so just head over to Helpareporter.com. Under ‘Sources’, click on ‘Sign up today’. Then here, you can choose different packages. I prefer the standard because I find that the features that you get versus a free account are worth the money. But either way, you could either sign up for a standard, advanced, or premium package or a basic package. No matter how you do it, you’ll get three emails a day that will be journalists that need sources, basically. I’ll show you a little more in depth later in the video. That’s basically how it works.

The advantage of having a paid account is that you’re able to set up a profile within HARO, which I’ll show you how to do, and you can also search. So, instead of just getting the emails, you can actually use keywords and search strings, and take one particular section of the HARO list and have that sent to you separately. So, if you only are interested in one part of HARO, like you’re a health expert, you probably don’t want to receive all the information about business and other things that don’t relate to you. You can just get those emails. Either way, click a link. Sign up. It’s very easy. Confirm your email, all that stuff.

Then when it’s done, if you have a paid account, you want to set that up. So, log into your paid account, and then click on the ‘Bio’ button at the top. You want to fill in as much information as you can because one of the main advantages of having a paid HARO account is your bio, because when a journalist publishes that they want a source, they get bombarded with sources. One of the ways that you can stand out is to have a bio that shows off who you are and your expertise. When a journalist is looking through different sources, they may say, “Hey. Who is this guy? I’ve never heard of him before.” When they look at your bio, and they see that you’re a real person, that you have expertise in this space, that you’re providing yourself as a source for, they’re going to be much more likely to use your pitch. That’s why you want to make sure you fill out as much as you possibly can in your bio.

Once that’s done, it’s time to start looking at some queries and start sending some pitches out. To do that, click on the ‘HARO queries’ button at the top. By default, HARO will show you the master HARO queries list, which is basically all the industries put together. This is a very inefficient way to use HARO because you’ll find that maybe 95% of the queries or more don’t apply to you. So, you want to make sure that you search by industry. To do that, click on this little blue arrow button. Uncheck ‘Master HARO’, and then check the industry that makes sense for you. Maybe if you have an overlap between two different industries, you can choose two or three. But usually, there will be one that really fits with what you do. Let’s just say you ran a travel site. Click on ‘Travel’. Click on the little button here again, and then click on ‘Search’. This limits the queries to only those that are travel related. So now, it’s time to go over what all this information means within the query itself.

First, you have the title. That’s really straightforward. That usually just describes what the journalist is looking for. Then below that is the source. Sometimes, you’ll see ‘Anonymous’. Often times, that’s a huge publication, but sometimes, it’s obviously a small blogger. It just depends. Sometimes, if you’re like a journalist for The New York Times, you don’t want to put The New York Times here because then everyone and their mom is going to be sending you pitches. So to limit that, sometimes they’ll use ‘Anonymous’. But sometimes, you’ll also see major news outlets list who they are here. Then, here are the categories  or the industries. So in this case, we have ‘Lifestyle and Fitness’ and also, obviously, ‘Travel’. In red is the deadline. This is the date they need it by and the time they need it by, which is Eastern Standard Time, which is New York City time.

Once you see one, based on this, that looks like it might be a good fit for you, it’s time to read the query very, very carefully because even an anonymous source like this will probably get dozens of people pitching them. In order to stand out and to even get on their radar screen, you really need to make sure that your pitch fits exactly what they’re saying, because a lot of times, they’ll put some specific thing in there to separate people who have read it carefully from those who haven’t. So, just read it really carefully. Then, it’s a matter of selecting a bio. So, if you have multiple clients, or you have multiple personas online or something like that, you choose the bio that works best for you. In this subject, I usually just like to put the title of the query. In the response, I usually give a very, very detailed response. I’ll go into how to write a really good response next in the video.

This is how it works within paid HARO. Now, if you choose a free account, or if you choose a paid account, you’ll also get these emails. As you can see, I have business and finance queries set up. Alright. So, that is one of the paid features that you can just get those. I don’t even look at this master HARO list anymore. I just look at this one. But let’s say you wanted to look at the master HARO list. You could do that. Clicking on it. Here’s how the email always looks. At the top, there’s a little advertisement, basically. Then, they’re all separated by industry. So, you’d want to scroll down to the industry that works best for you, like education. Then, if this looks like something that you might want to be a part of, it’s very similar to how it works in here. They have the title. Then, here in parentheses, they have who the news outlet is. If it looks like something you might want to contribute to, click on the link. It will send you to a detailed description of that query, just like we saw within HARO itself. If it seems like something you want to contribute to, just email this email address, which is specific for that query, and make your pitch.

Your pitches will be identical. The only difference is with a paid HARO account, you’ll pitch journalists directly through the HARO interface, and with a free account, you’ll email them. So, your pitch should be set up pretty much the same way, no matter who you’re pitching, unless there’s something specific within the query that you have to include or not include. How I like to set it up is put a little first sentence, just to let them know that I actually read their query. In this case, they’re looking for last minute holiday travel tips. So, I put, “Here are some little known ways to save money on last minute holiday travel.” That shows I actually read the query, and this is specifically for you.

Next, you want to include quotes, because that’s really what journalists are looking for. They want a quote from an expert that they can literally copy and paste into the article. So, you want to give them little sound bites they can use. Don’t go off ranting about this and that. You want to give them very concise, practical things within quotes that they can give their readers. Next thing you want to do is just be friendly and say that you’ve included a little bit about you and your expertise below. You want to put your expertise at the bottom. OK. So, you want to do that after you’ve impressed them with your sound bites. Then later on, they can read about you. You also want to offer that you’re there for help, because these journalists are a lot of times on a tight deadline. So, if you give them your email and phone number, sometimes they’ll email you and call you for a question or maybe another quote. That’s a great way also to build a relationship with another journalist.

So, that’s all there is to getting links and exposure from HARO. As you can see, the most important thing is just keeping on top of these queries. Then, when you send a query, make sure it’s specific to them and gives them little sound bites that they can use in their article. So, thanks for watching this video, and I’ll see you in the next one.