If you’re like the majority of business owners, you’re probably always looking for ways to get your brand name out there. Lucky for you, there’s a neat and free tool that can help you do just that, without requiring any SEO knowledge whatsoever.

Seriously, I promise you can do this without having any SEO training.

What is HARO, exactly?

According to their website: “Help a Reporter Out (HARO) connects journalists and bloggers with relevant expert sources to meet journalists’ demanding deadlines and enable brands to tell their stories.”

In short, when you sign up with HARO, you get sent three emails a day with a bunch of journalist queries that you can then respond to directly.

“Why would I want to respond to journalist queries?” you may ask.

Well, it’s simple.

How HARO helps you find media opportunities

Using HARO is a super easy way to get yourself into publications like The Wall Street Journal or Entrepreneur.com without the tedious work of finding the journalists yourself.

Before we dive deeper into the how, let’s get into the why.

Just like when we talked about how being a guest on other people’s podcasts can boost your credibility, creating connections with credible journalists and publications boosts your credibility as well. Using HARO to do so will help you get those backlinks and logos to fill your website with and showcase on your media page.

HARO sends you three emails a day (morning, afternoon, and evening) with a variety of categories of queries. Some include Biotech and Healthcare, Business and Finance, Travel, Lifestyle and Fitness, and more.

Let’s check out what an email from HARO looks like…

… and go through some tips to make sure your pitch gets used!

As a small business owner, Jocelyn works from home to create handmade crochet apparel, accessories, and home decor for The Cozy Tangerine. She signed up with HARO and browsed her first email to find some relevant queries. The query, “workspace plants love by entrepreneurs” caught her eye.

She clicked on the link which then brings you to the summary of the query towards the bottom of the email with the following items:

  • a description of the query
  • the media outlet (oftentimes it will say what the media outlet is, like “Women’s Health” or “Lifewire” and other times it says “Anonymous.” In this case, the media outlet is listed as anonymous).
  • the email address
  • the deadline

Make sure to pay attention to the deadline and answer quickly, because these journalists get hundreds and hundreds of pitches, so you want to stand out (and not waste any time pitching on expired queries).

So the query requires Jocelyn to be an entrepreneur (check!) who loves decorating their workspace with plants (another check!).

Make sure to read the query fully, as this one also asks to include an Amazon link to the plant at your workspace. We always want to make sure we’re including everything they’re asking.

After reading the full query, Jocelyn has decided to pitch the email address listed in the source request. Her pitch looks like this:

email response to HARO query

In Jocelyn’s pitch, she made sure to give a clear subject line so that the writer knows which question she’s answering. This is important because many of these writers and journalists are working on multiple articles at the same time, so by making it easy for them to figure out exactly which one you’re answering, you’re more likely to be included in that publication.

She also included all of the information they asked for:

  • what her favorite plant is
  • a link to the plant on Amazon
  • why she loves having the plant at her workspace

Some queries will be shorter, while others may ask for more information like your job title, company name, and LinkedIn profile. In Jocelyn’s pitch, she included her full name, website link, and email. To better her chances at getting noticed, she could have included more information like her job title or LinkedIn profile as well (that’s okay, there’s always next time!)

A good pitch will:

  • be timely
  • include all the information they asked for/answer all questions
  • make it clear in the subject line which query you’re answering
  • be unique/outside of the box
  • have accurate spelling and grammar

Once you’ve sent in your pitch, you will be able to see it in your HARO account under “My Pitches.”

Benefits of Using HARO

Journalist relationships

Once you’ve been featured in publications, those journalists may begin to reach out to you directly.

So let’s say you’ve been using HARO and pitch whenever you find any relevant queries to your industry or experience. You’ve now been featured in publications, and those journalists know you are a reliable, credible source who was quick to respond, they likely will reach out to you in the future.

Featured pull quote in roundup posts

A roundup post is simply a compilation of answers to a question. So, those publications you already pitched to and were featured in could reach out to you and say something like,

Hey, here are the things we’re publishing this week. Do you have any specific things you’d like to include in this?”

This can be a great way to get multiple backlinks from a credible high domain authority source.

How to filter HARO emails

Because you can be getting 60-100 links in an email three times a day from HARO, it can get overwhelming. We’ve found that if it’s too much, you can just set up an email filter that will take all of the HARO requests and put them into a folder, and create a filter that will take any requests with a certain keyword or phrase in it back to your inbox.

For example, Jocelyn may choose to use the keywords small business, entrepreneur, craft, art, work from home, Shopify, e-commerce, and crochet.

The only downside to this is that this may limit you. There could be a really relevant or interesting query that wasn’t included in your email filter, and because you set up those specific filters, it wasn’t sent to your inbox so you missed the opportunity.

Looking at all of the queries when they arrive in your inbox can also be a great opportunity to reach out to your friend or client who may have expertise in a certain area.

There are pros and cons to both options – it really depends on what you feel is best for you and your brand!

Getting started with HARO is as easy as 1-2-3 (literally – check out the HARO website for an easy 3-step process to get started sending your first pitch!)