25 Jul 2017

Help A Reporter Out and Seize Publicity

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What is Help A Reporter Out, or HARO for short?

Have you ever wondered how to get your name out there into the world? Sometimes the job of getting backlinks, invitations for guest posts, quotations and interviews can seem like an overwhelming and fruitless chore.

Worse yet, it can become a classic catch-22 where you can’t seem to win. You need to have credibility to get quoted on web sites and get interviews and such, but you need to get quoted on web sites and get interviews and such to have credibility. How can you win?

Well, there is a straightforward method you can use to get quoted all over the web.

Help A Reporter Out

It’s called Help A Reporter Out, or HARO for short.

HARO is a service that allows reporters to ask for help from millions of people in every industry. Let’s say a reporter is doing a story about the Internet of Things. They publish a query (a request) to HARO with the specifics of what they need. This gets sent out to everyone who is signed up as a source. Anyone who can help the reporter with information can reply.

The service can be used by reporters, bloggers, writers and others. Basically, anyone who has enough circulation to qualify as a valid source. HARO has rules on who can apply.

How does this help webmasters and others who want to establish their credibility and even build up some backlinks for their blog?

Well, once you sign up for HARO, each day you’ll receive a series of emails listing all of the queries sent out during that day. You have to scan through these looking for queries that you can answer intelligently. Once you find one, write up a reply and send it back to the reporter. If your response (known as a pitch) meets the requirements of the reporter, you’ll get quoted or, in rare occasions, interviewed. It’s that simple.

However, keep in mind that some of these queries will get hundreds or even thousands of responses. You need to ensure your pitch stands out from the crowd and gets noticed.

  1. Respond quickly. Reporters work on deadlines. The sooner you respond, the better.
  2. Establish your credibility. Tell the reporter why you are a credible source in a couple of sentences. Have you written a book or have experience at that subject? Mention it!
  3. Answer their question(s). Precisely and briefly answer the query. Give the reporter the answer and only the answer.
  4. Include your contact information including your email, phone number and website.
  5. Be brief in your response.
  6. Follow any instructions they request.

Following this format, I’ve had over 40 pitches accepted in a 3 month period. That translates to 40 backlinks on sites such as Forbes.

Most of the time you’ll get a backlink from wherever your quote appears. Sometimes, as in the case of a print reporter, you won’t. Don’t worry about it.

Some things you should avoid:

  1. Give them nothing and tell them to contact you for more details. You won’t be contacted.
  2. Tell them to call you for an interview unless they specifically request interviews.
  3. Give information that has nothing to do with the query.
  4. Make demands.

The best practice is to quickly review the HARO emails every day, find a few that you can answer, and respond with your pitch. Over time, you’ll find you will get quoted and you will get backlinks – as long as you answer the queries specifically and briefly.

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