Still struggling to get those precious backlinks to your website? Or maybe you strive to get your content to the next level. With the help of HARO, you can do both (and even more)!
This article will tell you exactly what HARO is, how it works and how to use this platform to generate high-quality backlinks to your website, increase brand awareness, create unique pieces of content that users are looking for and promote your content to a wider audience.
Let’s get to it.
What Is HARO?
HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is an online service that matches reporters who are looking for specific expertise to include in their content with sources who have that very expertise and would like to share it.
The platform was founded in 2008 as a Facebook Group and was later turned into a mailing list. Today, HARO is one of the most powerful online services to help you increase brand awareness, build trustworthy links and create unique and relevant content.
Despite HARO originally being a tool for journalists, it’s now also used by marketers, public relations (PR) specialists and online business owners worldwide.
The service works in two directions:
- Reporters can submit requests to the HARO community to find relevant sources in order to create a unique story, interview or blog post.
- Sources are able to look for the relevant queries they have expertise in and share their specific knowledge to be featured in a content piece in return for their help.
The platform has implemented changes over years. Now, you can choose between free and paid subscriptions. There’s no problem if you opt for using the basic free option, as you will still be able to use HARO for building links and getting media coverage. Paid subscriptions were created to free up time spent filtering out keywords through Media Opportunities via automation and customization features.
In order to start using the service and unveil its full potential, you have to follow two simple steps to sign up for your HARO account:
1. Click on SIGN UP and fill the form. To activate your account, don’t forget to verify the link in your email.
2. After you’re redirected to a welcome page, you have to set up your new HARO account.
First, make sure to tick the correct account type: reporter, source or sponsor.
After, we highly recommend you define HARO preferences, as this step will ensure you get the most relevant queries for your expertise. Keep in mind that, by default, “Master HARO” will be chosen, but you can be specific and customize the preferences to filter out industries. This will help you categorize questions to be able to cut through the noise of countless queries popping up every day.
Note that some topics are colored in gray and have an information symbol next to them. These are the topics that haven’t gathered enough queries. You can tick them anyway to be notified when one of them will be ready.
And that’s it – you’ve set up your HARO. From now on, the platform will be sending you emails where the subject will be the topic of the query listed. Keep looking for the most relevant and start responding. If you need more information on how to start using HARO, we recommend reading the Comprehensive Guide by BuzzStream.
How To Use HARO for Link Building
Link building is the number one reason why marketers are using HARO as a part of their SEO strategies. Recently, this platform became very popular among other users, like bloggers, online business owners and influencers. The major benefit of this service is that it provides an incredible opportunity to build high-quality backlinks to your website.
Because referral links from the authoritative media domains are considered one of the most trustworthy by Google, you shouldn’t miss the benefits of implementing HARO into your marketing process and routines.
There is a common misconception that journalists are not happy to include third-party expertise in their pieces of content, but this is not true. In fact, they will be more than happy to because it makes it easier for them to meet their deadlines and manage their time.
HARO has proven popular because it’s a pure win-win solution: Journalists don’t have to struggle to find relevant sources. Instead, they can submit a request and wait until the most suitable answer knocks on their email, warm and ready to get right into the article and make their job easier. Reporters will leave a link to your domain in the actual article. This way, you have helped a reporter out and got a relevant, trustworthy and authoritative link as a “thank you for your help” in return.
Note that you won’t be the only one submitting your expertise to the reporter. That is why you have to make sure you’ve given the most specific and valuable answer. Remember, the easier you made things for the reporter, the more likely your answer will be included in the actual article.
How To Use HARO for Content Creation
Having the most unique pieces of content is inevitable in order to rank higher in search engines. That is why HARO is such a valuable tool. With its help, you can include first-person quotes, relevant experiences and the most trustworthy tips in your content to become the number one resource in your niche that people would come to for advice.
For example, let’s say you aim to create a blog post with the top 10 resources that will help your reader to improve their copywriting skills.
Here, you have three options:
- Turn the internet upside down searching for the best resources yourself, filter them out by testing how good they really are and only then (finally!) begin writing your article.
- Use already written blog posts and guides on the internet to sum it up into your article.
- Create a very specific HARO query asking users for help, get the most relevant and unique tips from people sharing resources that have helped them to improve their copywriting skills, filter out the top 10 answers, frame them with a good introduction and conclusion and hit “publish.”
The first option will take too much time that could be spent on other valuable marketing activities for your business, and the article in the second option won’t be unique. The third option, on the other hand, will provide your users with actionable insights from real practitioners in the right field.
This is how you get real input from people involved in the process you’d like to build your expertise on and include unique quotes to support each idea or tip.
Remember to notify HARO users whose information you’ve included in your article. Although it’s not required of you, it’s a way to build relationships that you can use in future queries to get responses faster.
The other way you can benefit from using HARO is to update your old content with more relevant information. It’s common knowledge that for effective SEO, you should review and improve your content every few months.
First, identify which piece of content is strategically valuable for you, and then use HARO contributors to enrich it with additional expertise or relevant quotes. This way, you can unveil the full potential of the already existing articles and increase organic traffic to them.
Here are some tips to consider where you might need a content update or refresh:
- Analyze the search intent of keywords you’re ranking for and look for ways to improve it
- Monitor keywords you’re getting impressions for to start targeting them
- Track competitors to quickly figure out relevant topics that bring them traffic and create a strategy to rank for those pieces
How To Use HARO for Content Promotion
As we were discussing earlier in this article, when publishing HARO-enriched pieces of content, you have to mention each separate source whose quote or expertise you’re using.
The concept of content promotion using HARO is extremely simple. Here, it’s important to build relationships with people contributing to your work. This way, you can reach out to each one of them when the article is ready, say how grateful you’re for their help and ask them to share the link of your final result that they’ve contributed to.
The practical way to do it is to keep a list of every respondent in your email system using two tag filters. With the first tag, mark every submitted reply and use the second one only for those you’ve included in your actual piece of content. This way, once you upload your copy, it will be easy to reach out specifically to those who participated in your work.
Template of the email you can use:
Thanks for your help!
The article you contributed to is live here: [provide a link].
Please let us know if anything needs to be updated or changed.
We’ll also be sharing it on Facebook and LinkedIn in the coming days – we’d love it if you do the same.
Have a good weekend,
While reaching out to contributors with emails, be sure to make it extremely easy for them to share your content with their audiences.
You can do it by writing a post specifically for social media intent, briefly expressing why the following piece of content is worth reading and tagging everyone whose input you’ve added.
You can keep believing HARO isn’t worth your time and continue with what’s been effective for you thus far. It’s always up to you whether or not to give it a shot, but if you consider trying it out, make sure you use this platform to its fullest extent.
The majority of marketers use HARO only for passive link building. There’s nothing bad about this approach, but you might be missing out on opportunities along the way.
We hope you found this article useful and understand the power of HARO in generating high-quality backlinks to your website, increasing your brand awareness, creating unique pieces of content that users are looking for and promoting your content to a wider range of audiences. And if you have any doubts, know that the time and effort required to start using HARO is definitely worth it.