Help a Reporter Out.
As bloggers, we help our readers by empowering them with our expertise.
Why not help a reporter out?
Help a Reporter Out is actually the name of an organization which goes by the acronym HARO.
This blog often suggests hacks for boosting SEO by link building.
One of those ways is by getting your link published in another blog.
Guest posting is an option if you’re allowed to link back to your blog in the article.
However, guest posting is time-consuming. After all, you have your own blog to write for.
Wouldn’t it be quicker if you could give a host blogger a quick tip along with the link back to your site instead of an entire guest post?
That’s the beauty of HARO.
Once you get on the Help a Reporter Out mailing list, you’ll be notified which journalists are looking for tips from bloggers.
It gets better: Emails from HARO go to your inbox three times a day for your convenience.
There are so many topics, I sometimes feel like a kid in a candy store.
Which to pick? Why not pick them all?
Help a Reporter Out is a free, easy, quick way of boosting your SEO by getting your link published in a quality blog, a blog with a high DA.
I recently saw Forbes on the list of blogs looking for contributors.
Would it be amazing to be featured in Forbes?
By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to sign up for HARO, hacks for getting chosen by HARO reporters, and what to do after you’ve submitted to HARO.
Let’s discover how to help a reporter out!
Consider this question asked at Quora, the Question and Answer site:
By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll know exactly how to Help a Reporter Out as well as how to boost your SEO and build quality links to your site.
What is Help A Reporter Out?
According to the Help a Reporter Out community, HARO is the most popular sourcing service in the English-speaking world.
Two types of people use HARO: Reporters and Sources.
Many of the HARO journalists have their articles picked up by major news publications. Consider these comments from one of the journalists who selected me:
I am emailing to let you know that I have posted the “Small Business New Year’s Resolutions” article today. Carol and the whole team here are thankful for YOU and really appreciate you contributing and hope it brings you good exposure, as many recent blog posts have been picked up by other major media outlets! (Note: If you click the link, I am Source #58.)
I hope you don’t think applying to HARO is limited to certain niches.
I get requests for contributions in the following categories:
Biotech and Healthcare
Business and Finance
Energy and Green Tech
Entertainment and Media
Lifestyle and Fitness
Public Policy and Government
This is an example of a list of requests, also called “queries” that I received in mid-December. Notice, there are requests anyone can meet: Posts about SEO, how to relax, beauty, and even how to store Christmas lights.
HARO notifies you three times a day that your expertise is needed in various areas– morning, midday, and evening.
Cision owns HARO and distributes important tips to your email for getting chosen by HARO reporters.
Help a Reporter Out Sign Up
When you sign up for HARO, choose Source. You’ll be asked to fill in your blog name, social media profiles and so forth.
When it asks where your expertise lies, pick Master HARO. That way you’ll get sent more opportunities to help the reporter instead of boxing yourself into a certain niche.
For example, I’ve answered Lifestyle questions as well as Business, Social Media, and Marketing.
How to Get Chosen to Help a Reporter Out
These strategies will help you get the edge on the competition.
Tip 1: Subscribe to the Cision blog.
I don’t recall if it’s required, but following the tips offered by Cision helped me get selected.
These additional Cision resources helped me. Although they are the best practices for journalists, I learned a great deal by reading them.
Honestly, I have no way of knowing this for sure. The timing could have been coincidental, but once I started following the Cision tips, I started getting chosen by HARO reporters.
Tip 2: Contribute to HARO within the hour of getting their request.
Timing is of the essence! There is competition; this is an easy way to build quality links.
I read within an hour of putting out the request, HARO reporters already know who they will pick. Since you’re notified of HARO’s needs three times a day, you should be able to find a time at least once a day convenient for you.
Tip 3: Start by explaining why you’re qualified to contribute.
Have you ever been included in an expert interview panel or been the subject of an interview? Mention this experience.
How long have you been blogging about the topic the HARO query is on? Mention this experience in your pitch.
I actually have this information ready to go on a Word Doc so I just copy paste.
Tip 4: Title Your Pitch “Pitch.”
Sometimes, I’m so busy writing my Author Bio, why they should pick me (See Tip 3), I am not sure if I’ve written my pitch or my author bio! Calling your pitch “Pitch” gives you both clarity.
Tip 5: Do not leave anything out of your pitch.
I often need to go back to reread the instructions to ensure I’ve included everything I was asked to include. I read an article written by a HARO reporter. When she was asked why she doesn’t pick certain Sources, her answer was they leave out much of the required information. Therefore, of all the tips here, this is the most important factor in getting chosen by a HARO reporter.
Tip 6: End with your contact information.
For example, I always write my name, my blog name, my blog URL, and my Twitter handle in case the reporter wants to send the post to me on Twitter so I can retweet.
Tip 7: If you get selected, promote the post you’re cited in.
This way, the reporter will want to ask you back. If you follow the reporter on social media sites like Twitter, you’ll know when they publish again and can share their work.
Additional HARO Strategies: How to Write Sound Bites
If you want to get chosen by a HARO reporter, you should try to make your pitch memorable.
The way to do that is to write sound bites. You don’t have to only write sound bites, but try to include them in your pitch.
The advantages of submitting sound bites to the HARO reporter:
Sound bites are short. They won’t take you long to write and they won’t take the reporter long to read.
Sound bites are memorable. They’re memorable since they’re witty. The Enchanting Marketing blog offers several famous sound bites:
“Talk less; listen more.” Notice the use of opposites and how concise they are. “Write less, read more” is another example from that blog.
Sound bites often entail the use of 3’s. “I came; I saw; I conquered.”
Brands employ sound bites. For example, do you remember this sound bite used by the M&M candy company: “Melts in your hand, not in your mouth”?
Sound bites are so short and so memorable, the HARO reporter might want to use your sound bite in a Click to Tweet or Instagram post.
As a matter of fact, you should also consider putting sound bites in your own blog posts. You could also use sound bites in a Click to Tweet or on a social media site to promote your own articles.
How to Submit to HARO
Submitting to HARO is easy.
Step 1: Click on the query that interests you. Then, click on the email address of the reporter.
Step 2: This will take you to your email. Compose your email.
When you compose your email, you’ll need a subject line. Some people advise having a witty subject line, but I advise against it. People receive many emails. They should know that you’re applying to be a Source for this particular article. I make that clear in the subject line.
What Happens After Submitting to HARO
You might get notified you were selected. Hooray!
You might get selected but not get notified.
HARO reporters are not required to tell you if they pick your submission for their article.
You might not get selected.
If it turns out you weren’t selected, you can still use your answer. You didn’t waste your time! Repurpose your answer and turn your answer into a blog post!
What You Can Expect When You Submit to HARO
Writer David Leonhardt recently served as a source for a HARO reporter. I asked David why he felt contributing as a source for a HARO reporter is a good idea.
“It’s worthwhile for bloggers to become a source for HARO if they offer a high level of expertise in a very specific area.
For instance, if a blog does nothing but review blog themes and report on the latest developments in the theme-developing community, that blogger will make a good source. That assumes, of course, that the blogger can show that they are fairly well-read and the posts show a high level of quality.
However, one of the 14,893,126 bloggers who blog more generally on a variety of blogging topics would not likely get much traction with HARO. Reporters could just ask ProBlogger – the brand blog – for comment. Of course, if one is among the top blogs in a given niche, that’s a different matter.
The same goes for small business, tech gadgets, SEO, social media marketing, web design, personal finance, and even my niche: writing.
The only time when I would make a good source for a reporter is if they are looking for comments from various types of writing agencies, and I could offer the perspective of a small agency of freelancers catering to individuals and small business. That’s a pretty rare HARO request. And even that is because of my expertise in business, not because of any expertise as a blogger.
Can it hurt to put one’s name forth? No. It all depends how much time a blogger wants to spend sorting through requests and whether that’s the best use of their time.”
It’s true: I read bloggers get buddies and check out the queries for each other to save each other time. I have not chosen a buddy since I don’t feel reviewing the HARO requests takes an inordinate amount of time.
Wrapping Up: How to Help a Reporter Out
In closing, there are more perks to helping a reporter out other than the obvious SEO benefit of getting a link from a quality site, perhaps the site of a big name reporter, a website with a high DA (Domain Authority Ranking).
For example, the people at HARO are extremely helpful. For example, when I had trouble, I wrote @helpareporter on Twitter. HARO responded immediately and helped me with my concern.
Also, I made a new connection. One of the reporters that picked me, Carol Roth, has a mailing list. By getting on her mailing list, I’ll know immediately when she needs someone in my niche without having to keep checking back to HARO.
Additionally, it should go without saying that by contributing to a big-name blog, you’ll boost your credibility in your niche as well as your SEO.
Finally, did you read the acceptance email I received which I included in this post? The journalist explained she’d be promoting the post I was cited in far and wide. That means more exposure for me.
Readers, please share so other people who want to boost their SEO and help a reporter out learn about HARO.
I look forward to your views in the comments section. Have you ever submitted to HARO? Were you chosen? What were your experiences if you were? Would you recommend people sign up for HARO?
Applying to Help a Reporter Out is presented in this article as a backlink builder strategy to boost your SEO. Here are additional backlink builder strategies.