It’s no secret that media exposure is great for business. It increases your visibility and credibility, helps you reach new audiences, and drives traffic to your website. The good news is that today, getting some clout is easier than ever with services such as HARO, where you can offer expertise and insights as a source for journalists’ news stories.
However, competition can be stiff on HARO since many people are trying to get media coverage, and getting the attention of reporters can be tricky.
In this article, we’ll learn more about HARO and how to pitch your knowledge and experience on this platform to win over reputable media outlets effortlessly.
What Is HARO?
HARO, short for Help a Reporter Out, is an online platform that helps journalists get feedback from the public. Journalists get sources for news articles, and sources get opportunities to gain valuable media coverage.
HARO sends out emails with queries three times daily, Monday through Friday. These emails list all the queries from journalists submitted on that day. A journalist’s request typically includes a specific question, instructions for sources, deadlines, and an email address to which you can send your pitch.
HARO is helpful for brands who want to connect with top media outlets, and this service’s greatest advantage is that anyone can use it for free. However, this can also be problematic: with over a million sources and around 75,000 journalists on the platform, it can be tough to pick a valuable connection for both sides.
So, the million-dollar question is, how do you stand out while using HARO?
Let’s go over eight actionable tips you can follow to win a reporter over with ease.
1. Establish A Reliable Online Presence
An excellent online presence is crucial for every aspect of your business and being successful on HARO is no exception. The thing is, reporters will be googling your name before considering you as a source. So you need an optimized website and social media channels with quality content to be seen as authoritative and reliable.
A reporter will likely consider you if they find proof of your relevance and trustworthiness in the industry. Furthermore, if you have already made features in other publications, that increases your chances of being picked out even more.
2. Send Out The Pitch as Soon as Possible
Reporters often have to get a story out as soon as possible. The later you send your submission in, the less likely the reporter will pick you out for the story. Usually, you should mail your response within an hour or two after receiving a query. Setting up alerts on your devices to notify you when you get an email is a great way to stay on track.
However, moving fast doesn’t justify sloppy writing. Find the right balance between experience and crafting a solid pitch.
3. Write a Great Hook
A hook is a short, attention-grabbing statement at the beginning of a text that entices people to continue reading. Writing an excellent hook for HARO outreach is essential if you want to get noticed by journalists and other media professionals. Your hook should be short, relevant to the topic, capture the reader’s attention and make them want to hear more of what you have to say.
For example, you can write a short, catchy phrase that captures the essence of your story. You can also use powerful and descriptive words and action verbs to make it even more engaging and exciting.
4. Pay Attention to the Instructions
Read the prompt carefully and follow all of the directions the reporter provides. Reporters will offer varying levels of specificity in their requirements, and you should conform to them, whatever they are.
With so many HARO requests, it can be tempting to answer as many as possible to increase your chances of getting published. But it’s not a great idea to do that in the long run since it is highly unlikely reporters will use an answer if they assess the source is not qualified enough. You’ll just end up wasting your and others’ time.
5. Keep It Short and Poignant
Since reporters receive a lot of pitches daily, they won’t be interested in going through long proposals with too much text and irrelevant points.
Not only do they have little time to read lengthy responses, but they are also limited in the amount of content they can include in a single piece. No matter how excellent your response is, shortening it requires extra work. If they have to choose between two equally valuable quotations, journalists will likely select those they can insert directly into the text.
Try to keep your pitch length at around 100-300 words. Also, write your email pitch in separate paragraphs, including bold headings and lists. This will make it easy to skim through.
6. Prioritize the Reporter’s Story
Remember that your role on HARO is to provide relevant insight to the publication and make the reporter’s job easier. You are not promoting your company or selling your product, at least not directly. Prioritize the benefits of your input to the readers.
Do your best to give relevant, helpful answers without sounding pushy and sales-y. Also, provide specific examples and details to help the reporter understand your offer’s value.
7. Provide a Unique Point of View
If you feel some aspect of your story sets it apart from others, emphasize that in your pitch. Trust yourself as a unique and dependable voice in the crowd.
To make your quote valuable and helpful, no matter how general the topic may be, always speak from your own experience and perspective. Think carefully: What’s your experience with the issue at hand, what problems did you encounter, how did you resolve them, and what were the results?
The results part is especially significant because it helps to show others what they can do in a similar situation. By connecting with them this way, you’ll stick out, provide value, and make a connection with the reader.
8. Research the Media Outlet You’re Pitching To
It’s necessary to do your research before pitching to make sure you understand the reporter’s interests. Read their bio and articles to understand their work better. You can find out what topics they are currently working on and reference them in your pitch.
This will show your interest in their work and your sincere desire to assist them. You can also follow the reporter on social media for updates on their latest articles.
In addition, try and be selective while responding to queries. Check out the media outlet, their Domain Authority, and the organic traffic their website gets. The HARO link can be beneficial, but you don’t want to pitch to sites with no relevant traffic.
The journalist will usually include their and the publication’s names in the query. If they don’t disclose the name, it can indicate that it is a prominent newspaper or a mainstream outlet. But it is more likely a sign of a low-rate website, so be careful how you respond.
Digital PR is a long, competitive game. But, with the right tactics and patience, you can gain visibility and trust from the media and audiences.
Now that you’re equipped with key insider tips & tricks for creating a winning HARO pitch, nothing’s stopping you from setting up your HARO account and getting your name out there.
Author: Stefan Djurdjevic
A driven junior Off-Page Specialist passionate about digital marketing and SEO. Enjoys hiking, trying new restaurants, and reading industry news. Constantly seeks new opportunities to boost clients’ online visibility and stay current on the latest SEO trends.