In this digital era, link-building and public relations are crucial for brand awareness, online presence, website traffic, and business success.
Luckily, powerful platforms are readily available to help you connect with journalists. They allow you to gain media coverage and earn quality backlinks. That’s where Help a Reporter Out (HARO) comes in.
However, you should optimize your journalist outreach and keep up with the link-building trends in 2023 to make the most of HARO. So, are you looking to harness the power of this platform?
This page shares how to use HARO for link building and PR. Read on to learn more about its pros and cons.
5 Key Steps in Using HARO for Link Building and PR
According to Experts, link building is the 3rd most crucial factor in search engine optimization (SEO) ranking. Earning backlinks allows your web page to climb the ladder of search engine results pages (SERP). And what better way to build your links than to leverage HARO as part of your digital marketing campaign?
Over 6% of respondents believe that HARO yields the best link-building results. Content marketing (12.5%) and guest posting (11.7%) remain the most effective strategies. Still, you should incorporate HARO for link building into your digital marketing campaign.
Additionally, public relations play a critical role in earning media coverage and increasing brand awareness. In fact, nearly 85% of respondents said that PR brand mentions impact brand authority and online traffic.
The HARO platform lets you connect with journalists by responding to their queries. If your response stands out, these reporters will quote you in their stories and link to your website. That will increase your online visibility and website traffic!
So how do you get started with using HARO? Follow these crucial steps below:
1. Sign up for HARO
The HARO platform offers free and paid versions for users. However, the free version is adequate for connecting with journalists. To get started, sign up first for an account by following the steps below:
- Go to https://www.helpareporter.com.
- Click on the white “Sign Up” button.
- Fill out your information (name, email address, phone number, company name, country, annual revenue, and password).
- Click “Sign Up” at the bottom of the page.
- Confirm your account after receiving an email from firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can log in now and edit more details.
Additionally, you should select the categories relevant to your niche. This step ensures you receive journalist queries that align with your business. Here are the categories to choose from:
- Biotech and Healthcare
- Business and Finance
- Energy and Green Tech
- Entertainment and Media
- Lifestyle and Fitness
- Public Policy and Government
2. Check your inbox for relevant queries
After signing up for HARO, you’ll receive emails from journalists with specific queries. These questions are articles reporters are writing about, which may be related to your niche or industry.
HARO sends out three emails daily with queries from various journalists. Each journalist request includes the following:
- Headline Summary
- Contact Name
- Email (this is a query email)
- Media Outlet Name
- Query Description
Make sure to check your inbox regularly. Read the queries carefully to see if they are relevant to your business. More importantly, pay attention to the query deadline and ensure you respond within the given timeframe.
3. Craft quality pitches and respond quickly
Once you find a relevant query, it’s time to create a quality pitch. The key to crafting a highly effective pitch is to write thoughtfully. However, make sure to respond to the email as quickly as possible.
The goal here is to offer unique, relevant, and valuable information. But first, your pitch must grab the journalists’ attention. More importantly, it should meet their needs. Here are a few suggestions for you:
- Offer something new and unique to the table.
- Share insights based on personal experiences.
- Keep your pitch short, simple, and sweet.
- Make your pitch as quote-worthy as possible.
- Strictly comply with the journalist’s brief.
- Don’t forget to edit and proofread your content.
Remember, journalists receive a high volume of pitches every day. Therefore, yours needs to stand out from the crowd.
4. Follow up with journalists
At this point, all you have to do is wait for a reply from the journalists. Keep in mind that they receive tons of emails almost every day. You can only hope and pray that they will select your pitches as credible sources for their stories.
Remember, however, that journalists are often preoccupied. Chances are, they might miss or overlook your pitches. So, it won’t hurt to follow up with a polite reminder. Doing so will help bring your emails back to their attention.
Note that your follow-up email must be brief, friendly, and professional. Likewise, give the journalist a few days to respond before sending one.
5. Build relationships with journalists
Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing your pitch quoted in the journalists’ stories. Not only will you have media coverage, but you’ll also earn quality backlinks. That provides your business with many opportunities—brand recognition, online prominence, site traffic, lead generation, and sales conversion.
However, your journalist outreach doesn’t end after this. To maintain journalist connections, take the following steps:
- Express gratitude to them for featuring your business.
- Share their articles on your website and social media.
- Offer to become a resource for their future stories.
All these will help establish good relationships with journalists.
The Pros and Cons of Using HARO for link building
HARO for journalist outreach is indeed a valuable resource for gaining media exposure and high-quality backlinks. But as with any strategy, this platform comes with advantages and disadvantages.
So while capitalizing on its potential benefits, you should come prepared for possible risks. Weighing both will help you decide whether HARO is right for your business.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of using HARO for link building and PR below.
- Backlinking Opportunities: Effective pitches can get the journalists’ attention, and these reporters might reference you as a source. Not only will you get mentioned in their stories, but you’ll also earn high-quality backlinks.
- High Search Engine Ranking: As mentioned, link building is the third most important factor for SEO ranking. With more backlinking opportunities, your content pieces and web pages might get the SERP’s top ranking for organic searches.
- Increased Website Traffic: You’ll have more website visitors when your brand gets featured in online publications through the HARO platform. The same proves right for ranking high on SERP, as it will drive more and more people to your site.
- Improved Brand Awareness: When your business gets featured in articles, such media exposure can increase brand recognition. It can also establish your business as a thought leader in your industry. That translates to building customer trust and increasing brand loyalty.
- Established Brand Authority: You’ll become an industry authority by consistently offering valuable insights and real expertise through HARO pitches. This move can lead to trust and credibility over time, helping you attract new customers and drive sales.
- High Pitch Competition: The truth is that HARO queries attract a high volume of responses from various businesses. As such, it will be difficult for your pitch to stand out. With so many brands vying for the same opportunity, you’ve got to craft highly effective pitches.
- Time-consuming Outreach: Responding to HARO queries can be time-consuming. You should carefully read the queries, write high-quality pitches, and submit them before the deadline. But while patience is key, hard work pays off in the long run.
- Low-quality Queries: Not all HARO queries are relevant to your business. You might waste time responding to questions if you don’t pay enough attention. That can lead to frustration and wasted effort.
- Quality Control Issues: HARO editors strive to ensure the quality of queries and stories produced through the platform. However, there is a possibility that some articles might not meet the standards for business relevance and quality. That can ruin a company’s reputation.
- Low Response Rate: Remember, there is always no guarantee journalists will pick your pitches on the HARO platform. Often, you might submit multiple ones without receiving any responses at all. Therefore, you should optimize your outreach strategies to maximize the platform.
HARO is indeed a powerful platform for link-building and public relations. It allows you to earn media exposure and quality backlinks when used strategically. That translates to high SEO ranking, increased online visibility, more website traffic, and overall business success.
To leverage HARO for link building and PR, follow the five crucial steps discussed above. Weigh the pros and cons of using this platform to see if it works for your business. More importantly, check how you can make the most of it.
Remember to offer unique insights to queries, pitch your brand professionally, and build good relationships with journalists. With these, you can harness the power of HARO and take your SEO and PR to the next level!