As a business owner, you may not have time to chase down prospects for link opportunities or nurture relationships with editors and leading industry publications.
Using a free service like HARO for link building can save a lot of time and effort, earning your website powerful links from highly authoritative news publications and building authority to your website. Put simply, HARO link building is one of the fastest ways to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, helping your website gain visibility in front of a new readership.
If you aren’t using HARO link building as part of a wider link building strategy to grow your business, you should be, and this article will tell you how.
What is HARO Link Building?
HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It is a tool that connects journalists with people like you who want to be featured on high-authority sites. HARO negates the need for cold pitching, helping you connect with the people you want to more easily than ever before.
If you want to increase your brand visibility by gaining high-quality links to your website, writing for journalists on HARO could be one of the best solutions. To take your link building strategy to the next level all you need to do is create an account. Honestly, it’s that easy.
How Does HARO Work?
HARO link building works by connecting journalists to sources, like you, who can provide the content they need for a story. Topic requests vary widely from day to day, covering everything from the best makeup brands to the worst dad jokes.
What’s more, HARO is incredibly easy to use – simply create an account as a source and browse through the journalists’ requests to find the ones that best suit your industry.
Categorise Your Email Folders
HARO sends through journalist requests four times per day and that can mean a whole lot of emails coming into your inbox. So, the best way to get started is to create an inbox folder that filters HARO requests ‘from:HARO@helpareporter.com’ to be stored every day.
Filtering your emails in this way won’t interrupt your normal workflow, it just means you can dedicate set times to the day to review the latest requests, so you are less likely to miss out on great opportunities.
Tailor Your Industry Selections
One of the many great things about HARO is that you can tailor your industry selections to suit your requirements.
Chances are that most of the journo requests on HARO won’t directly relate to you or your business. So, tailoring your industry selections can really save you some time.
HARO link building is most effective when you are gaining links to your website that relate to your industry, helping increase your website’s traffic and build your brand authority. The more relevant and tailored your HARO selection is, the higher the likelihood will be of finding requests that you can pitch to.
🐝 Hive19 Tip: Use keywords from your industry to cut through the noise, helping you find relevant requests faster.
Anonymous Requests & What To Do With Them
Most ‘anonymous’ HARO requests come from low-quality blogs, so the time you spend crafting a pitch is not worth the return on investment. Our advice? Make sure you prioritise requests that include the media outlet the journalist is writing for over ‘anonymous’, as you will get more value for your time and land yourself better link coverage.
Keep Pitches In HARO
While many people try to hunt down a journalist’s direct contact information to get their pitch noticed, it is a waste of your time and can be harmful to your mission.
For many journalists, HARO is a tool they use to keep their query responses organised. Therefore, messaging journalists via Twitter or using other social accounts is a great way to cause annoyance and get rejected from potential opportunities. So, don’t do it – keep your pitches in HARO.
Mention Journalists You Know
Don’t shy away from familiar names on HARO. If you have worked with a journalist in the past, be sure to highlight this in your email as it can make a great icebreaker, turning your pitch into a warm lead.
Mentioning in your pitch that you have spoken to the journalist before is a great way to show you care about the relationship and you aren’t churning through pitches, replying generically to everything you see.
Relationships are key when it comes to successfully pitching on HARO. It means you’re more likely to be contacted as a priority by the journalist when a new opportunity comes available that might suit you.
Subject Lines Matter
When writing your pitch, it’s important that it stands out from the hundreds of others being submitted to the journalist every day. Writing a great subject line matters, so don’t forget to optimise accordingly for great HARO link building opportunities.
Make your subject line unique but directly relevant to the query so that the journalist feels confident about opening it. Reference the query in your subject line; journalists may have multiple requests out that week so make it obvious which piece you’re offering your expertise to.
Your subject line should also be short and concise, including as much of the requested information as possible.
Include All Relevant Information
When writing your pitch, it is important to include all relevant information about you and what you can offer in the most succinct way possible.
Relevant information includes:
- Full name
- Company name
- Website URL
- Social media profiles
- Phone number (sometimes when journalists work to strict deadlines they might prefer to get their answer quickly over the phone)
- High-res headshot (Dropbox link or Gravita)
- Author bio
🐝 Hive19 Tip: Creating an email signature that formats all your link information and a simple Google doc which includes your author bio is even better. Plus, it means lots of time saved for each email response.
Address The Journalist By Name
Sure, you could be sending a handful of pitches every day, but it is important to spend as much time as you can perfecting your pitch.
We recommend creating a killer email template for your HARO responses. That way, you can simply personalise with efficiency for each recipient.
Doing this also means you can address the journalist by name, making them feel valued while saving yourself some time. And, while it may seem trivial, little things like this can make a big difference to journalists who are reviewing hundreds of emails every day. Journalists are people at the end of the day, so avoid robotic mass email replies – it will only hinder your sucess rate when using HARO for link building.
Keep Responses Short
As a rule of thumb, try to keep your responses to two-to-three paragraphs, unless the journalist specifically requests more information.
Journalists want to quickly scan your email to understand your vantage point and what qualifies you to speak on the subject matter. As such, keeping your responses short and to the point is a great way to increase your likelihood of pitch acceptance.
We recommend using bullet points to highlight the important pieces of information in a way that journalists can easily skim.
Edit, Edit, and Edit Again
Many sources write great pitches that get rejected because they fail grammatically.
Think about it; you’re writing a pitch that is selling your services as a writer to a high-end journalist. Sure, you might have something to say, but can you say it without grammatical mistakes?
One of the top tips we can give you is to edit ruthlessly and always check your grammar and spelling before hitting send.
If journalists have to edit your pitch for silly typos, it’s more than likely they’ll choose another equally qualified responder regardless of how ground-breaking your expert insight was. So, take the time to check your work because it could be the difference between it getting published or not.
Respond To Pitches Promptly
How quickly have you responded? You should aim to respond to pitches within four-to-five hours – anything longer than 11 hours is probably too late.
Journalists work to strict deadlines and pitches often have to be turned around very quickly. Therefore, the faster you can get your work in, the better.
What’s more, responding to pitches quickly often endeers you to journalists as they come to know you as reliable, making them more likely to turn to you for future opportunities.
Patience Is Key
When will the piece be published? This is a question that no journalist wants to see on HARO.
Unfortunately, journalists don’t always have the time to email every writer they are connected with letting them know the date of publication. Freelance writers and content producers contribute their work to many publications and very rarely have insights into their editorial calendar/schedule. Therefore, patience is key.
The best thing to do is to create a Google Alert for the publication’s feed so that you can keep an eye on when the content goes live.
Promote Your Work
Once you have achieved placement in a top news publication, it’s now time to share, share, share!
Promote your piece everywhere, both on your company profiles and personal accounts (mention the journalist to help their exposure, they may even reshare your post with their community), newsletters, and industry/topic related forums.
Let the journo know that you’ve been promoting it everywhere. Send them an email to thank them with the links to all the places you’ve promoted it. Also, be sure to thank them for the opportunity, highlighting you’d happily be a source for them again for any future related topics.
Get In Touch
As part of our Active Profile Monitoring here at Hive19, we track all our clients’ brands mentions to ensure all authority is passed onto their website.
And, if you carry out HARO link building already, we can make sure your brand is gaining the visibility you’d expect. Contact us today to find out how we can help you – after all, building authority is what we do best.