Wondering how to write HARO pitches that convert?
HARO (help a reporter out) can be a great way to build up your brand awareness, promote your product, services, or expertise, and doing so – land backlinks to your website.
What better way to achieve these objectives than to reach out to journalists with your HARO pitches?
Enter journalist outreach.
Writing HARO pitches involves pitching relevant information about your business to journalists to get press coverage.
You help contribute expert insights and information that make their content better.
And in return, they link back to you or promote your brand.
Here’s the problem though. According to a Cision survey, one in four journalists (28%) receive over 100 emails weekly, most of which are irrelevant.
As a result, according to Propel, they only respond to 3.27% of all pitches received!
So, writing HARO pitches that convert can be tricky.
Not to worry though, if you’d like to start earning more backlinks through HARO, be sure to read on to learn:
- What is HARO and how does it work, exactly? Overview and what to include in your HARO pitch.
- 7 tips and best practices to start writing high-converting HARO pitches that land you backlinks.
- 3 Proven HARO pitch templates to swipe so you’re not writing from scratch.
What Is HARO And How Does It Work, Exactly?
Many business owners and SEOs nowadays rely on HARO pitches exclusively for link building.
What started as a small Facebook group has grown into a massive network. Today, it connects over 800,000 sources with more than 55,000 journalists worldwide.
But how DOES HARO work?
HARO is a platform that lets journalists connect with sources for their stories.
These sources are businesses from various industries that can provide expert commentaries for the journalists’ articles.
By responding to relevant HARO inquiries and writing quality pitches, you’ll have the chance to get your replies mentioned and quoted in the journalists’ articles.
In a nutshell, you contribute to their articles through your HARO pitches, and in return, you gain backlinks or exposure for online visibility.
What’s in a HARO pitch?
According to a Muck Rack report, the vital components of a HARO pitch are as follows:
- A topic relevant to the journalist (42%)
- Content personalized to the journalist (35%)
- Timeliness (14%)
- Catchy subject line (4%)
- Short in length (3%)
A typical HARO pitch should then include:
- Your expertise and what makes you trustworthy.
- Specific information for what the journalist is looking for.
- A catchy subject line that stands out.
- Information that is not overwhelming or too long.
Now, let’s take a look at some tips and best practices for writing HARO pitches that convert.
And after that, we’ll also cover some proven HARO templates that worked for us.
7 Tips And Best Practices To Write HARO Pitches That Convert And Land You Backlinks
With thousands of responses pouring in for each query, crafting a pitch that stands out from the crowd is challenging.
Don’t worry though, if you want to write HARO pitches that land you backlinks, here’s what you should do:
- Target inquiries relevant to your niche.
- Offer a unique angle in your pitch.
- Relate personal experience to show expertise.
- Use an eye-catching subject line that stands out.
- Keep it short and simple.
- Make your pitch quote-worthy.
- Strictly follow the journalist’s brief.
Now, let’s analyze each HARO tip in detail.
1. Target HARO inquiries relevant to your niche
It’s easy to respond to as many HARO inquiries as you can.
The idea is that the more pitches you send, the higher the chance you’ll get quoted.
However, this notion is wrong and you should go for quality over quantity instead.
The trick here is to answer HARO inquiries relevant to your niche. Of course, it will be easier for you to provide valuable insights based on your expertise and experience.
Remember, journalists are highly critical; they’ll only get information from credible sources.
If you’re an expert marketer, you probably wouldn’t be responding to inquiries about math or physics, right?
2. Offer a unique angle in your HARO pitch
No matter how relevant your pitches are to the journalists’ stories, you have a sea of digital competition.
You’ll compete with other business experts, making it hard for your HARO pitches to stand out and get quoted.
The key here is to offer something new to the table.
Find pitch angles that set them apart from other responses without compromising relevancy and value.
Remember, journalists want answers that provide unique insights and real value to their stories.
For example, which of these HARO pitches would be relevant for a journalist?
- An overview of how link-building works.
- How we helped a client increase organic traffic by 1200% with links.
Probably the latter, right?
That’s because it’s based on our experience and unique insights.
3. Relate personal experience to show expertise
You might be an expert in your niche, which means you know exactly what you’re talking about.
But here’s the thing:
The journalist is NOT an expert on the topic.
That’s why they’re looking for experts to contribute and make their content better.
And that’s where you come in.
Instead of overwhelming the journalist with your HARO pitch, you need to be relatable with your personal experience to show expertise.
While straightforward, direct answers in your HARO pitches can work well, it’s your relatable, personal experience that creates an emotional connection.
Give real-life examples based on your experience in running your business.
Doing so in your HARO pitch will showcase your true expertise while captivating the journalists’ emotions. That might get your pitch selected as a source.
You could have the most valuable answer, but if the journalist doesn’t like how you present yourself in your HARO pitch, you won’t get far.
4. Use an ‘eye-catching’ subject line in your HARO pitch
In HARO pitches, never underestimate the power of a catchy subject line.
Keep in mind that journalists receive a TON of responses to their inquiries. They look at the subject lines first and start filtering potential pitches from the rest.
As such, you must make your subject lines stand out.
Use eye-catching phrases that instantly grab the journalists’ attention and entice them to read further. Make sure they’re:
- And straightforward.
Now, here are some potential subject lines to use in your HARO pitch include:
- Link-building thoughts (built 67 links one month).
- Scaled my agency to 37 people (what I wish I knew)
- 4 exact SEO metrics I track for every project.
The more specific you can be in your HARO pitch, based on the journalist’s inquiry, the better.
Make sure you use an email subject line preview tool as well before you hit send!
5. Keep your HARO pitch direct, don’t forget to KISS
When it comes to writing, you might have heard of KISS.
The acronym stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. It’s a rule of thumb in writing that says most systems work best if they’re kept simple, rather than complicated.
KISS applies to your HARO pitches as well.
First, keep your content concise (short and simple) by getting straight to the point and avoiding fluff.
Second, write with good taste (sweet) by making your sentences interesting.
With these elements in place, you’ll make your pitch easy to read and tasty to digest.
Once you’ve written your HARO pitch, re-read it and ask yourself:
- Why does this matter?
- What does this accomplish?
- Can I make it shorter?
Ask yourself these 3 questions when editing and your HARO pitches will become more effective.
6. Make your pitch quote-worthy
Let’s go back to the basics:
How DOES HARO work?
Journalists send inquiries via the HARO platform, and business owners or PR professionals respond by answering questions.
If these journalists find your pitches valuable and relevant to their stories, they’ll quote you as a credible source and link to your profile or website.
As such, you should craft quote-worthy pitches.
Make your sentences not only relevant and valuable but also catchy and memorable.
Also, don’t forget to edit and proofread your content.
This way, journalists can easily copy-paste your responses and quote them in their stories.
Here’s another way to look at this:
What does a quote-worthy HARO pitch look like?
Well, the best way to understand that is to look at live, published articles that include HARO replies.
Typically, the kind of articles looking for HARO pitches include:
- Agency owner roundups.
- Future trends and listicles.
- Or any other kind of article looking for an expert quote.
Then, look up that kind of articles and see what kind of HARO pitches the author decided to include.
Study those pitches and reverse-engineer what a successful pitch might look like.
7. Follow the journalist’s brief
Journalists provide very specific instructions on how they want sources to respond to their inquiries.
Make sure you read and follow these instructions carefully. If you don’t, your pitch might get ignored.
And that leads next to focusing on the journalists’ needs.
First, study these journalists and their websites to see how you can win their hearts.
Then, you can draft pitches that will offer them real value. In turn, they might quote your responses in their stories.
If a journalist is looking for insights on the biggest mistakes agency owners make, they don’t need to hear your whole life story on how you founded your agency in 2018 and grew it to 30+ people.
Make sure your HARO pitches are based on their briefs!
3 HARO Pitch Templates To Use In Your Quote Requests
There are a lot of different ways you can structure your HARO requests.
Unfortunately, there is no “one-size-fits-all” template you can keep re-using for all of your pitches.
When in doubt, make sure you’re following the above 7 best practices for HARO pitches. And then, consider using these 3 templates as a starting point.
Make sure you edit and personalize them accordingly!
HARO pitch template #1
HARO pitch template #2
HARO pitch template #3
Your HARO pitches make the world of a difference in your journalist outreach.
Make sure you’re following the 7 best practices and tips above to write high-converting HARO pitches. And be sure to modify the above templates as well, if you’re not sure where to start.
To recap, writing a HARO pitch is about knowing your audience and providing value.
By crafting a concise, relevant, and informative pitch, you’ll have the chance of getting quoted as a source.
That will help you earn backlinks for your search engine rankings, web presence, and site traffic. Ultimately, this will then help establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
Need help improving your SEO rankings, site traffic, and dominating your search?
At Jolly SEO, we help businesses implement proven strategies through link-building and HARO campaigns. Through our outreach, our clients have been featured in Forbes, HuffPost, BusinessInsider, Bustle, and other big-name websites.Sign up for a free consultation now!