In the digital landscape, securing high-quality backlinks is essential to improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and elevating your online presence.

HARO is a fantastic platform that connects journalists seeking expert opinions and sources with professionals willing to share their insights. By providing valuable information to reporters, you can earn backlinks from reputable publications and boost your website’s credibility and search engine rankings.

We will walk you through the process of utilizing HARO effectively, from signing up and identifying the right queries to crafting compelling pitches that will catch a journalist’s attention. So gear up to enhance your SEO game by unlocking the immense potential of HARO for building backlinks!

HARO, short for “Help A Reporter Out,” is a platform that connects journalists and bloggers with experts in various fields. For each request they post, journalists may receive numerous, and at times even hundreds, of expert insights and pitches. It’s then up to the journalist to choose which responses best suit their content needs.

Key Takeaways

  • HARO is a valuable platform that connects journalists with sources, providing an unmatched opportunity for businesses and individuals to secure quality backlinks and boost their SEO.
  • Success on HARO hinges on crafting relevant, timely, and value-driven pitches. Being concise, adhering to guidelines, and fostering long-term relationships with journalists are essential.
  • While HARO offers tremendous potential for backlink building, it’s crucial to avoid common pitfalls, such as being overly promotional or not following a journalist’s specific instructions.

Understanding HARO’s Concept

At its core, Help A Reporter Out (HARO) serves as a networking platform where journalists seeking expert insights for their stories meet professionals eager to share their opinions. HARO streamlines the process for journalists to find credible sources, helping them enrich their content with expert views.

For professionals or businesses, the critical allure of HARO lies in its ability to provide exposure and establish credibility. More tangibly, it provides them with opportunities to obtain high-quality backlinks from reputable publications, which is crucial for improving SEO performance.

Backlinks are essentially votes of confidence in the eyes of search engine algorithms and play a significant role in determining website rankings. From a statistical perspective, Backlinko’s analysis of a million Google search results underscores that backlinks remain an immensely influential factor in search engine result page (SERP) rankings.

So, picture this: each time you contribute to a journalist’s story via HARO, you stand a chance to be rewarded with a backlink from their publication. Given the high quality of journalistic sites, these backlinks could provide a significant boost to your SEO ranking.

HARO presents a win-win crossroad of needs – the professional’s desire for visibility and the journalist’s need for expert views. Hence, understanding and using HARO effectively can become a golden ticket to improving your backlink profile and boosting your digital presence.

Setting Up Your HARO Account

How to use HARO to get backlinks

Harnessing the power of HARO begins with setting up your account, a straightforward process that can be completed in just a few minutes. Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Navigate to Help A Reporter Out: Begin by visiting the Help A Reporter Out page.
  2. Sign Up as a Source: On the homepage, click on ‘I’m a source’ to sign up as a professional or business representative who wants to share insights in relevant fields.
  3. Fill in your details: You’ll be prompted to enter your full name, email address, contact number, and job title, as well as your company’s name and industry.
  4. Choose Your Preferences: In this step, select the frequency of HARO pitches you want to receive. You can opt for three daily emails or a real-time digest. You’ll also be asked to select the industries that best align with what you can provide insights on.
  5. Read and Agree to the Terms: Review the terms and conditions and agree. Make sure to read these thoroughly, as it is essential to understand the rules of engagement on the platform.
  6. Activate Your Account: Finally, click on ‘Create Free Account.’ You’ll receive an email to validate your account, and once that’s done, you’re all set.

This process provides the foundation to start receiving relevant journalist queries in your inbox. Remember, these customizable settings will ensure that you only get alerts that match your expertise, saving you time and pointing you toward the best possibilities to gain high-quality backlinks.

Once you’ve set up and tailored your HARO account, it’s time to focus on creating a compelling pitch. The right pitch can catch a journalist’s eye, secure you a spot in their piece, and, consequently, earn you a valuable backlink. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Stick to Relevancy and Punctuality

Relevancy: Respond only to those journalist queries that are directly relevant to your industry or expertise. Going off-tangent may come across as an attempt to obtain backlinks rather than provide value. Remember, a journalist’s primary goal is to find valuable, applicable information.

Punctuality: HARO is a fast-paced platform. Journalists can receive hundreds of responses within a short timeframe, and early birds are more likely to catch their attention. Therefore, a timely response is crucial.

How to use HARO to get backlinks

Structure Your Response

Here’s how to structure your response effectively:

  1. Subject Line: Make it attention-grabbing. Summarize why your insight is unique and valuable.
  2. Introduction: Provide a brief bio highlighting your credentials and your relevance to the query.
  3. Provide Insight: Make your message concise, meaningful, and accessible. Answer the question clearly, and be sure to add unique, valuable insight. Facts, statistics, or personal anecdotes can be particularly effective.

Valuing the Journalist’s Time

Remember, journalists are often working with tight deadlines and multiple stories at once. Make their job easier and increase your chances of being included in their feature:

  • Always proofread your pitch.
  • Respect their space – no follow-ups unless they’ve indicated it’s fine.
  • If you have additional supporting materials (like images, and reports), let them know they’re available on request.

Crafting a HARO pitch requires a balance of personal expertise, effective communication, and respect for the journalist’s time and needs. By mastering this technique, you can maximize your chances of getting your pitch selected and earning those high-quality backlinks. It’s time to turn these insights into success!

Building Relationships with Reporters

While scoring backlinks is an important aspect of using HARO, it’s essential not to overlook the long-term benefits that come from cultivating positive relationships with reporters. Building fruitful connections with journalists can lead to future opportunities for collaboration and ongoing media exposure. Here’s how you can foster these lasting relationships:

Recognize the Bigger Picture

Look past the immediate goal of securing a backlink and appreciate the value of a connection with a journalist. By providing them with meaningful insights and content, you’re in a position to become a trusted, go-to source in your field.

Engage on Social Media

Illustrate your genuine support for a journalist’s work and industry by following them on social media, engaging with their posts, and sharing their articles. Show that you’re invested in their content and don’t hesitate to offer praise when warranted. This not only helps build rapport but also keeps you on their radar for future opportunities.

Be Respectful

Demonstrate your trustworthiness and reliability as a source by being respectful of their deadlines, giving them ample time to review your pitches, and avoiding unnecessary email follow-ups. Remember, a positive experience working with you can increase the likelihood of them reaching out to you in the future.

Offer Exclusive Insights

Consider offering newsworthy insights or stories exclusively to a specific reporter you’ve enjoyed working with in the past. Exclusive access to valuable information can strengthen your relationship, as it demonstrates your commitment to their success.

Stay in Touch

Don’t let your connection grow cold. Touch base periodically by sending a genuine check-in email, an interesting article related to their beat, or a thoughtful comment on their recent work. Keep the communication open and professional.

By adopting these practices, you can transform brief encounters with reporters into thriving relationships that offer lasting benefits to your professional endeavors. Long-term connections can pave the way for continued exposure and collaboration, helping you grow your authority, brand, and ultimately, your success.

Don’t hit any digital bumps! Check out my fun-to-read, info-packed guide, “Avoiding SEO Pitfalls: Top Mistakes to Watch Out For”. It’s like an adventurer’s map for your blogging journey, keeping your website away from those nasty SEO quicksands!

Managing & Tracking Your Backlinks: Tools and Tactics

Gaining backlinks from HARO is an accomplishment in itself. However, to quantify your efforts’ impacts and continually refine your strategy, you’ll need to appropriately manage and track your backlinks. Let’s dive into how you can do it effectively:

Tools to Track Your Backlinks

Several tools can help streamline the process of tracking your HARO-acquired backlinks:

  • SEO Tools: Platforms like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz’s Link Explorer provide comprehensive data on your backlinks, helping track where they’re coming from, their quality, and their influence on your SEO performance.
  • Google Alerts: By setting up a Google Alert for your brand or name, every mention or backlink coming your way is immediately brought to your attention.

Understand The Value of a Backlink

Not all backlinks are created equal. A few high-quality backlinks can have a more significant impact on your SEO than numerous low-quality ones. Keep an eye on the domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) of your backlinks. The higher these scores (measurable via tools like MozBar), the high-quality the backlinks are.

Keep An Updated Backlink Portfolio

Document the journey – keep an updated list of all your backlinks by incorporating:

  • The linking site’s details (name and URL).
  • The backlink’s context (in which article/context it was included).
  • The value each backlink brings to your SEO.

Maintaining such a portfolio will help you easily evaluate and tweak your HARO strategy regularly.

Maintain Good Practices

Remember, the backlinks you gain through HARO could potentially be revoked if you fail to adhere to best practices. Avoid ‘spammy’ behavior or anything misleading that could result in the journalist removing your backlink.

By employing these tools and tactics, you’ll know exactly where your HARO efforts are taking you and optimize your strategy to enhance your SEO and digital standing even further. Remember, tracking your successes, much like the pitching process, requires a balance of dedication, precision, and smart maneuvering of the resources at your disposal.

Best Practices & Tips

Common Mistakes to AvoidBest Practices to Follow
Ignoring the journalist’s guidelinesFollow the journalist’s instructions and requirements carefully
Being overly promotionalFocus on providing valuable insights rather than self-promotion
Losing focus and clarity in your pitchBe concise, clear, and stay on-topic when answering queries
Skipping the proofreading processAlways proofread your pitch for typos and grammatical errors
Sending inappropriate follow-upsRespect journalists’ time and boundaries; avoid being intrusive

To truly make the most of HARO, following the right practices can make all the difference. Understanding these rules of engagement and integrating them into your approach will increase the likelihood of journalists selecting your pitch, resulting in high-quality backlinks for your brand. Here are some of the best practices and tips:

Respond Quickly

HARO works on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. Journalists receive numerous responses to their queries; being early increases your chances of capture. Make it a habit to monitor your emails regularly and respond promptly to relevant queries.

Be Clear and Concise

Aim to present your ideas clearly and effectively. Your goal is to communicate your main points without overwhelming the journalists with too much information. Focus on answering the question directly and adding unique insights that will catch the journalist’s attention.

Avoid Spammy and Generic Pitches

Craft each pitch thoughtfully with an individualistic approach. Do not resort to copy-paste techniques or spammy pitches. Tailoring your message to the query and journalist shows your authentic interest and knowledge about the subject matter.

Respect Journalists’ Time

Remember that journalists’ inboxes are inundated. Ensure your emails are professional, respectful, and not overly long. Constant follow-ups or unsolicited emails can be considered spam, which can damage potential relationships.

Target Relevant Queries

Respond only to queries that align with your expertise. This will create meaningful and useful pitches that provide value to journalists and maximize your chances of being selected.

Success with HARO involves understanding and respecting the platform’s best practices. By taking on these tips —responding quickly, being concise, avoiding spam, respecting journalists’ time, and always targeting relevant queries— you’ll optimize your use of HARO. So, put these into practice and watch as your backlinks and brand exposure grow.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in HARO Pitches

While using HARO can bring numerous benefits, it can be counterproductive if you make some all-too-common mistakes. To ensure your HARO experience is as fruitful and successful as possible, be aware of common pitfalls, and avoid them at all costs.

1. Ignoring the Journalist’s Guidelines

Every query comes with specific guidelines and requirements. Not adhering to them can lead to immediate disqualification, no matter how skillfully you present your pitch otherwise. Always follow instructions carefully so that you can meet the specific expectations of the journalist for maximum pitch success.

2. Being Overly Promotional

HARO is a platform for providing value, not advertising your brand. Excessive self-promotion can turn off journalists, leading them to discard your pitch. Share your expertise, advice, or insight without pushing your brand in an obvious, sales-driven manner. Instead, focus on delivering genuinely helpful and relevant information, and let your authority and credibility speak for themselves.

3. Losing Focus and Clarity

A journalist wants precise, on-point answers to their questions. Avoid going off track, adding irrelevant information, or rambling. A well-written, focused pitch that provides unique insight is far more likely to make the cut than a lengthy, cluttered one.

4. Skipping the Proofreading Process

A pitch filled with typos and grammatical errors can harm your credibility and damage your chances of selection. Always proofread your pitch thoroughly before hitting send to ensure your writing is polished, professional, and easy to understand.

5. Inappropriate Follow-ups

While a polite follow-up can be considered acceptable in some cases, avoid insisting on responses or bombarding journalists with additional questions. It can come across as intrusive and create an unpleasant experience for them. Ultimately, you want to respect their time, workload, and boundaries.

Navigating HARO successfully requires both skill and tact. By steering clear of these common errors and adhering to best practices, you’ll be in a much stronger position to serve value to journalists, increase your chances of gaining high-quality backlinks, and ultimately build lasting relationships.

Success Stories

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a platform where journalists seek expert insights and businesses offer their expertise in exchange for media coverage. Many businesses have successfully used HARO to secure high-quality backlinks from reputable publications. Here are some success stories and examples:

Josh Steimle, Founder of MWI

  • Josh wrote about how he used HARO to land mentions in top-tier publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Mashable. He emphasizes the importance of providing value to reporters and being persistent, as you might not always get a response on your first try.

Ryan Stewart, Founder of Webris

  • Ryan documented how he used HARO to secure a backlink from This not only boosted his SEO but also significantly increased referral traffic. He mentions the importance of setting up alerts for relevant HARO queries and responding promptly.

Matthew Barby, Global Head of Growth & SEO at HubSpot

  • Matthew was an avid HARO user during his early days. He mentioned in multiple interviews and blog posts how he used HARO to get mentions on high-authority sites which helped in building both personal and company brand, as well as driving organic traffic.

John Rampton, Founder of Due

  • John has been featured in top-tier publications like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Many of these mentions came as a result of diligently responding to HARO queries.

Vicky Llerena, CEO of Social Vibes Media

  • Vicky shared her success with HARO, noting that within two months, she was able to secure three media placements by consistently responding to queries. The exposure led to an increase in website traffic and brand awareness for her company.

Various SEO agencies and experts

  • Many SEO professionals use HARO as part of their link-building strategy for clients. By securing mentions in reputable publications, they can boost domain authority, improve search rankings, and drive organic traffic.

Startups and New Businesses

  • For startups without a large PR budget, HARO offers a platform to gain media coverage. By positioning themselves as industry experts and consistently responding to relevant queries, many startups have secured mentions in top publications, leading to increased investor interest, user acquisition, and brand credibility.
How to use HARO to get backlinks

How to use HARO to get backlinks FAQs

Can I use HARO for purposes other than backlink building?

Yes, besides backlink building, HARO can be used for brand exposure, establishing authority, building relationships with journalists, gaining credibility in your industry, and generating content ideas through media inquiries.

How long does it usually take to see results from HARO pitches?

The timeframe for HARO pitch results varies. It depends on the journalist’s deadlines, the publication’s editorial process, and pitch relevance. While some get picked within days, others might take weeks to months. Consistent, high-quality responses increase the chances of quicker, positive outcomes.

What’s the significance of building relationships with reporters?

Building relationships with reporters facilitates trust, ensures more frequent media coverage, enhances story accuracy, and provides opportunities for exclusive features. Such rapport positions you as a reliable source, increasing your brand’s visibility and credibility in the public domain.

Are all HARO backlinks considered high-quality?

No, not all HARO backlinks are high-quality. While HARO can connect users with top-tier publications, it also serves smaller blogs and sites. The quality depends on the domain authority and relevance of the publishing site. Always research opportunities for best results.

How frequently should I respond to HARO queries?

Respond to HARO queries as often as relevant opportunities arise. Prioritize queries that align with your expertise and industry. Quality over quantity is crucial; sending tailored, valuable responses to select queries is more effective than blanket responses to all.


To recap, HARO is an invaluable tool for acquiring valuable backlinks, gaining media exposure, and showcasing your expertise. By following best practices, avoiding common mistakes, and creating impactful pitches, you can open doors to numerous opportunities and truly reap the rewards of HARO. Don’t underestimate the importance of building lasting relationships, as they can ensure further collaborations and strengthen brand exposure in the long run.

Seeing success with HARO requires a balance of dedication, precision, and strategic planning. If you’re ready to take your backlink strategy to the next level, let’s talk. Schedule a free strategy call with me, and I’ll help you navigate the world of HARO to effectively optimize your online presence and boost your brand’s authority.

It’s time to put HARO to work for you and unlock the true potential of your business.

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