What? Free backlinks? Yes! And that’s not all – potentially backlinks on high DA sites! So, What Is Help A Reporter Out (H.A.R.O.)? I’m glad you asked. In this post, you will find out how to use H.A.R.O., what niches are included, how you can respond ‘cross niche’, and how you can potentially gather content for your own blog.
If you are not sure about the relevance of backlinks, please check out What Is Backlinking In SEO.
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What is H.A.R.O.?
H.A.R.O. is an ingenious business owned by Cision, a ‘global leader in P.R., marketing communications technology and intelligence’ that helps journalists and brands reach, target, and engage their audience.
It is a perfect fit for online businesses as it distributes 50,000 requests each year from journalists, bloggers, and media agencies who are looking for experts to quote and give authority to their content. These can take the form of list posts (where you have a decent chance of having your contribution included) to a piece where only one or two people are needed for input (where you need to be on point and fast!).
How do you get access?
All you have to do is sign up as a source. You will receive 3 emails per day – morning, afternoon, and evening – with the current opportunities. The number of opportunities varies day-to-day but is often around 60-70 per email. They also post them on their Twitter account (@helpareporter).
Each opportunity normally states what website it is for, what is required (maximum is 300 words but sometimes, especially for lists, 100 or so would be more appropriate).
The example below would be perfect for anyone in the pet niche or even music niche (although it doesn’t state where it will be published which isn’t ideal). This request appeared in the morning email on 2nd March and the deadline is 9pm EST!
What niches are included
There are 7 categories:
- Biotech and Healthcare
- Business and Finance
- Entertainment and media
- Lifestyle and Fitness
Depending on what your niche is, it would be easy at first sight to think that there won’t be anything suitable but you would be surprised. In an ideal world, you want a site that is very closely related to yours but there is often crossover in a way that can still work.
For example, you might have a successful crafting blog and the question ‘How did you fund your first startup?’ could come up in Business and Finance. Will you get much traffic if your response is included? Probably not, but the chances are you will get a good quality link.
How do you get the best chance of being included?
There are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of inclusion:
- Read the instructions fully and supply what is requested – apparently this is the cause of huge frustration for journalists and the like – so many people can’t follow instructions, so if you do, you will be ahead of the game
- Provide genuine value to the article by giving sound advice, actionable tips or a controversial point of view if appropriate
- Contributing to list posts (naturally) gives you a higher chance of inclusion
- Explain why you would be a great source of this information or why you should be included in a round-up
- Make a note of the times that the HARO emails come in and act immediately if you can – the deadlines are often tight and you could miss a really valuable opportunity (also check out the paid membership options below)
- Make sure you have the credentials they are looking for – even if you know the answer if they specifically say they are looking for responses from doctors or medical professionals only, give it a miss unless you qualify
- Deliver on time!
What criteria should you double-check?
Always keep in mind the reason why you are doing this. Yes, it is good experience to have to write something short, make a great point, and supply it quickly. However, the purpose of using H.A.R.O. is to get quality links so do make sure (wherever possible) to check the Domain Authority (DA) of the website that is requesting input.
You can check both DA (and traffic) free on Domain Authority Checker. Naturally, the higher the DA the better, however, anything that Is higher than your own site DA should make a difference.
Also, double-check the date – if you don’t have time to do a good job of your submission, don’t do it. The same journalists may be regular H.A.R.O. users and recognize you next time!
What else do you need to supply?
In addition to your copy, you are normally asked for your business name, website address, link to your profile image, and link to your Twitter account (or sometimes other social accounts).
Once you are done, set a Google alert for your name and/or the name of your blog in case they don’t have time to advise you that your content was used.
Can you request input for your own blog?
Yes, you potentially can. There is one caveat, however. You need to have an Alexa ranking of less than 1 million so if your blog is new, it’s unlikely that you will qualify. (You can keep monitoring your Alexa Ranking at Domain Authority Checker – it appears as one of the metrics alongside the DA score.)
If your site does qualify, this is a great way to quickly create an expert round-up post. In addition to getting the unique content to just copy and paste, it is highly likely that each contributor will share it on their social feeds.
Is H.A.R.O. free?
There are both free and paid versions. If time is of the essence and the opportunities will mean a lot to your business, you could consider one of the paid options. The higher-priced ones would be good for busy agencies with multiple clients – for people with one blog the basic or standard options should be fine.
|Basic – Free||Standard – $19||Advanced $49||Premium – $149|
|Media Opportunities: |
Delivered to your inbox,
three times a day.
|Everything in |
|Email Support||Keyword Alerts: Choose one keyword to help filter|
through media opportunities.
Choose three keywords
to help filter through media opportunities.
|Keyword Alerts: |
Choose unlimited keywords to help filter through media opportunities.
|Profile: Create one profile to|
automatically insert into your pitches.
|Profile: Create three profiles to automatically insert |
into your pitches.
|Profile: Create unlimited profiles to automatically insert into your pitches.|
|Search Online: Sift through all active media opportunities in one place at any time.||Head Start: Get alerts|
when the HARO editorial team approves a media opportunity. Extra lead time allows you to craft the perfect pitch before anyone else
|Support: Phone & Email|
The key to working with H.A.R.O. is keeping an open mind. I must admit when I first received the emails with the opportunities I didn’t think there were any that I could do. The last one I completed was ‘What Song Gets You Motivated’! It was for a high DA site aimed at aspiring business builders. Perfect!
You could find yourself in Huffpost, Entrepreneur, Forbes, or another high DA website without knowing any of the key people and having to write a sensational guest post! You simply have to be disciplined enough to check your emails and be open to the opportunities that present themselves.
Have you had success with H.A.R.O. or is it something you are open to giving a try? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.