Dubbed HARO, an acronym based on its former name “Help A Reporter Out,” it’s a popular tool for journalists, bloggers, and website owners which connects them to expert sources fast.
The sources, or those who respond to the queries, gain free exposure for their brands and companies, while the journalists, those who make the requests, gain expert citations to back up their stories.
The entire process is handled with journalistic deadlines in mind, making it a winning tool for both parties.
How Does HARO Work?
Experts and journalists need a place to connect and Help a Reporter provides it. It’s really that simple.
Potential sources create accounts on HARO listing their areas of expertise, credentials, websites, social, and more.
Meanwhile, journalists submit requests for quotes based on the stories or articles they’re working on. These requests come with a deadline as imposed by the journalist.
The HARO platform then sends the quote requests via email to relevant experts. If an expert source can provide information and feels it’s worth their time, they respond to the query as quickly as possible.
The journalist receives the responses directly and can review and select the responses which work best.
Ultimately, the source (expert) will be cited in the journalist’s final article or blog post with a link back to the source’s website. This can bring greater awareness and even website traffic and builds brand awareness for the expert source, and helps the journalist by bolstering their story by showcasing a credible opinion or data point.
How Much Does HARO Cost?
HARO provides a free platform any journalist, blogger, or expert source can use.
There are premium features available as well, ranging from $19 – $149/ month.
- The free platform includes three quote-request emails per day as well as basic support.
- Premium features include the ability to make multiple profiles, advanced access to journalist requests, keyword alerts, and, at the top level, phone-based support.
How Much Time Does HARO Take?
Sources find HARO is a great way to market themselves and their brands because it’s so efficient.
Emails go out three times a day at 5:25 am, 12:35 pm, and 5:35 pm (Eastern Standard Time), and are easy to skim through. If there’s anything the source can provide a quote for, they send a pitch email to the masked email address provided.
Writing the pitch can be a process, but it doesn’t have to take long. We suggest having a “pitch template” where you include your:
- Contact information
- Intro and outro
Having a pitch template will make things fast, and they’re easy to create. Many sources who use HARO as a major marketing outlet for their brand find they can skim and respond to requests using a template in just a few minutes per day.
Journalists and bloggers also love the efficiency of Help A Reporter. They don’t waste time hunting down the experts, thanks to HARO’s platform. And they can set their own deadlines, ensuring they get a prompt response.
How Should I Respond to HARO Requests?
Responses to queries from journalists should be clear and precise.
Journalists don’t want to waste time reading unnecessary information – they just want an answer to their question or a quote to support their work.
A great response would include:
- A catchy subject line
- A brief introduction of who you are and why you’re an expert
- A response, as requested, but written in the form the journalist can use
- Any resources or data points you need to supply
- Your contact information, website URL, and social media links
It’s important to remember when a journalist submits a quote request to HARO, they’re likely to receive hundreds of responses. Adding extra information, trying to pitch your own product, or responding to a request after the deadline are all surefire ways to have your response ignored.
Be clear, concise, and to the point.
Journalists will appreciate your brevity and can always reach back out to you should they need more information.
Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to using HARO, expert sources should pay attention to a few guidelines. By doing so, they ensure more used quotations which means more traffic to their respective websites and businesses.
Do: Respond Right Away
Journalists are more likely to use sources who respond early on before their inbox is jam-packed with quotes.
Many successful HARO users set alarms for the emails so they can explore the email right away and respond accordingly.
Do: Be Clear, Concise, and To The Point
As noted, journalists can receive LOTS of responses each time they submit a request for expert quotes on HARO.
To stand a chance at being cited, give them what they need – no more and no less.
Better yet, make the pitch email skimmable with bolding and bullet points. That way, they can find exactly what they need without having to search.
While we’re on this point, it’s important to note journalists typically include a list of requirements in their requests.
Be sure to double check them before responding. If you can’t meet a requirement, don’t bother sending a response.
Do: Follow Up The Right Way
If you are published, it’s good to follow up in the right ways.
Share the article on relevant social media accounts to help it gain views, and be sure to feature it on your website or blog if this is something you commonly do.
You can also send a quick thank you directly to the journalist. When you do, let them know you’re available to help again in the future (but avoid pitching products or other article ideas).
Don’t: Use Professional Jargon
Remember, the journalist is trying to turn expert subject matter into something the masses can understand.
Using professional jargon confuses and forces the journalist to explain your verbiage later in the piece. Extra work for the journalist means they’re unlikely to use you as an expert.
If you do find certain terms must be used, briefly explain what they mean to keep clarity where possible.
Don’t: Follow Up Unnecessarily
It’s common practice to set up a Google alert for your name and the name of your business. This way, if your response is published, you’ll see it right away.
What you shouldn’t do is follow up directly with the journalist.
Don’t send a “checking-in” email like you might for a job application or sales pitch. Journalist inboxes fill up quickly, and they’ll see your “checking -in” as a waste of time.
It may actually push them to avoid using you in later pieces.
Don’t: Use a Boring Subject Line
Most source experts simply repeat the journalist’s subject line in their pitch email, which is a good way to get lost in the crowd.
If you want your quote featured in a piece, stand out from other expert sources by giving your subject line a makeover.
If a journalist is looking for quotes on Food Aversion and Pregnancy, for example, don’t put that exact phrase as your subject line.
Instead, try something like The Top 3 Foods Pregnant Women Can’t Stand! Journalists are people too, and they’re suckers for catchy headlines, just like the rest of us.
Be Useful, Gain Exposure
Help A Reporter is an easy-to-use, freemium tool which connects journalists and other content creators with experts.
It benefits expert sources by crediting back to their businesses and websites and bolsters journalists’ work with needed expert citations.
So whether you’re an expert or a writer, HARO is an internet tool you’re sure to love.