Link Building

HARO link building: A guide for website owners

Mobile Phone Talking

As a business owner, you likely don’t have time to chase down prospects for link coverage or have time to invest time in nurturing relationships with editors and media outlets to promote your business.

Using a free service like HARO for link building can save a lot of time and effort, earning your website powerful links from authoritative online publications.

This HARO link building guide will show you one of the fastest ways to get your name, product or service in front of your target audience. It will help build towards your online reputation and brand by establishing yourself as an expert in your industry on third-party websites.

If you aren’t using HARO link building as part of a wider link building strategy to grow your presence online, you should be, and this guide will explain how to get started.

What is HARO link building?

HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out and is a tool that connects journalists with experts in their relative field looking to contribute to a predefined article topic.

Journalists use HARO to get in touch with experts to provide insight drawn from their own personal experiences. HARO negates the need for cold pitching, helping you connect with your target consumer 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 and start reviewing the opportunities coming into your inbox.

HARO logo

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.

HARO signup page

Keep your HARO inbox organised

HARO sends journalist requests three times a 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 automatically groups your HARO requests into a dedicated folder in your inbox.

HARO requests are sent from ‘’ and will land in your main inbox. So, head over to your email account settings and create a filter and folder to avoid HARO requests clogging up an already noisy inbox.

Inbox filter screenshot

Filtering your emails in this way won’t interrupt your normal workflow, it just means you can dedicate set times of the day to review the latest requests, so you never miss out on great opportunities.

Tailor your HARO request emails

One of the many great things about HARO is that you can tailor your industry selections to ensure the requests that you are sent are relevant to your industry and professional background.

Chances are that most of the journo requests on HARO may not 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’re achieving links for your brand that are directly relevant to your industry. Achieving these types of HARO backlinks will increase your website’s traffic and introduce your brand to new, untapped audiences.

The more relevant and tailored your HARO selection is, the higher the likelihood will be of finding requests that you can confidently pitch to and win the coverage.

HARO Preferences Checklist

Use keywords from your industry to cut through the noise. This will help you work more efficiently when reviewing new opportunities and replying as quickly as possible.

Speak to Maxine about Hive19's journalist response work

or continue reading

For example, when searching HARO opportunities for Hive19, we might use the following keywords to quickly identify opportunities relevant to our brand:

  • Link building
  • Email outreach
  • SaaS marketing
  • Fintech marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Reputation management
  • Remote agency

Anonymous requests and 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.

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.

Build relationships with journalists

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 to anyone and everything to see what sticks.

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 your experience and industry.

Subject lines matter in HARO

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 descriptive subject line matters, so don’t forget to optimise accordingly for great HARO link building opportunities.

HARO Email Subject Line Example

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 Gravitar)
  • Author bio

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.

Personalise HARO pitches with email templates

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 success rate when using HARO for link building.

Keep HARO 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 are likely to receive many responses to each request.

They want to be able 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

Aim to respond to pitches within four to five hours – anything longer than 11 hours is probably too late.

Keep an eye on the deadline for the request. Journalists work to very 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 endears 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 it comes to HARO link building

“When will my quote 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 to let 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. Therefore, patience is key.

The best thing to do is to create a Google Alert for the publication’s feed so that you get notified when the content goes live.

Promote your work

Once you’ve achieved coverage 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 audience), 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 selecting you to include in their work, highlighting that you’d happily be a reliable source for them for any future related topics.

Final thoughts

As part of our Reputation Management here at Hive19, we track all our clients’ brand citations and mentions to ensure all authority is passed onto their website.

At Hive19, we help founders and business owners alike manage their online reputation as a thought leader. Helping business owners take advantage of the opportunities online to build brand presence in relevant niches through content and link building.

We’ve delivered great results for a range of industries, from finance and SaaS to eCommerce brands. We have decades of combined experience, and we understand how to put our knowledge and expertise to best use through link building campaigns that have a positive impact on rankings and traffic for your site.

To learn more about us and to find out more about how we can support your business, get in touch or read more of our resources and guides in our Link Building hub.



Linkedin icon Twitter icon

Maxine Bremner

Head of Content & Outreach

Maxine is the content marketing specialist at Hive19, and manages the digital PR strategy for clients

Meet Maxine
Email Maxine

Maxine is Head of Content & Outreach

and is the content marketing specialist at Hive19, and manages the digital PR strategy for clients