Mar 7, 2024

HARO Explained: How It Works

Vaishnavi Ramkumar
HARO Explained: How It Works

HARO Explained: How It Works

Discover what is HARO and how it works. Get insights on this platform to boost your PR strategy. Visit our blog for more.
HARO Explained: How It Works

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If you're striving to position your business in an ocean of competition and noise, initiating connections that draw positive attention to your brand is essential. Whether it's getting a story featured in a major publication or fostering relationships with influential bloggers, the challenge remains the same: standing out. One platform known for facilitating this is HARO (Help A Reporter Out). Since its inception by** Peter Shankman**, HARO has been serving as a digital bridge between journalists seeking expert sources and businesses seeking visibility. This blog will educate you about what HARO is, how it functions, and how to optimally leverage it for your brand's benefit for enhancing media coverage and boosting backlinks. We'll also shed light on effective strategies for drafting compelling pitches and the integral dos and don'ts while using HARO. Let's delve in.

What is HARO?

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is an online service functioning as a robust database for journalists to gather first-hand insights from the public. It has garnered popularity over the years for aiding bloggers in amplifying their media coverage and increasing their backlinks. The core proposition of HARO is straightforward - it brings journalists in need of valuable opinions for their stories closer to businesses operating in that niche, looking to boost their visibility and PR reach.

If you're unfamiliar with HARO, it operates through an interactive model where experts communicate with journalists seeking information on current trending topics. Journalists shoot out requests for expert advice which contain the query, requirements for consideration, an anonymous email address for pitches, and a submission deadline. HARO sends out these requests in three daily messages from Monday to Friday, giving enough opportunities for experts to pitch in their insights.

HARO functions as a seamless window for content marketing and building quality backlinks. PR professionals, subject matter experts, and reporters alike can particularly find it useful. Both sides benefit from this arrangement - the journalist gets an informed perspective for their story while the source gets exposure to larger audiences.

Who Can Benefit from HARO?

Initially established for journalists, HARO today is a boon for a wide spectrum of professionals within communication spaces. Besides reporters, bloggers, influencers, and even major brands can connect with expert sources, enhancing their outreach. Furthermore, you don't have to be limited to a specific field to leverage the potential of HARO. If you hold enough knowledge to answer a journalist's daily queries, you're set to make your mark in the press.

Gone are the days when traditional blogging could make your brand stand out. Today, establishing your brand through media or public relations activities is indispensable, and HARO provides an excellent platform to accomplish the same. Brands hunting for improved SEO strategies, websites seeking original content for guest posts, or even non-profit organizations wishing to extend their project's exposure can all find a friend in HARO.

The fruits of using HARO are reaped in tiers. When your information gets quoted in the media, it leads to positive exposure to your business, and the reporter gets to complete their story, leading to a win-win scenario for both parties.

How to Get Started with HARO

Starting your journey with HARO is as simple as signing up for an account on its homepage. Once you've activated your account and set up your profile, all it takes is for you to inspect your inbox and respond accurately to relevant source requests. Let's break down these steps for a clearer understanding.

Sign Up for a HARO Account

To sign up, visit the HARO homepage and click on the signup button. Fill in the required details like your name, email address, preferred password, industry, and location. After successful completion of the form, you will receive an email confirmation to activate your account. Click on the provided verification link within that email, which redirects you to a welcome page. Voila! Your HARO account is created and ready to garner some stunning press coverage and backlinks for your business.

Set Up Your Profile

Once your account is activated, you'll need to enrich your profile with more details. Start by navigating to the 'My Account' screen and verifying that the correct account type is selected. Confirm your general information, update your geographical location, and pay special attention to setting up your HARO preferences. You can choose your focus industries to customize the kind of topic-specific requests you'd like to receive. You can modify your subscription list or add extra contact information whenever you want. Don't forget to hit 'Save & Update' once you're done.

Choose Your Areas of Expertise and Categories

With your profile setup, you now need to select your areas of expertise and the categories in which you want to receive queries. This is a critical step as it ensures that queries received align closely with your area of specialty. HARO allows you the convenience of subscribing to several subcategories under the master list. Here are a few tips to optimize this step:

  • Ensure to unsubscribe from any irrelevant lists and keep your focus on your chosen categories.
  • Opt-in for new topics that appear greyed out initially. These topics are prepped to be activated once there are enough queries to make their additional subscription worthwhile.
  • Lastly, it's prudent to subscribe to the 'Master HARO list' to et a birds-eye view of all possible opportunities until you begin narrowing down your selection.

Responding to HARO Queries

Once your profile is set up, start responding to queries. You'll receive your first HARO email, featuring an index of query summaries and the media outlet requesting the information. Now comes the exciting part of the process – identifying requests that resonate with your expertise, formulating a strategic response and hitting ‘send’!

Monitor Your Inbox for Source Requests

As you become acquainted with HARO, one of your responsibilities would be to regularly monitor your inbox for fresh source requests, dispatched thrice a day by HARO. To expedite this process, you can glance at the subject line of each email, which typically mentions the topics that the queries will be covering. Then, simply skim through these emails to pinpoint those that match your niche or industry. Make sure to read the details of each queried topic – understanding the message and specifics of each request will guide you to craft more impactful responses.

Creating a Relevant and Compelling Pitch

Once you've spotted a topic that aligns with your area of knowledge, it's time to create your pitch. In this information treasure hunt, reporters often end up receiving hundreds of responses. Standing out in such a crowd requires your pitch to provide distinctive value. Here are some pointers for crafting a pitch:

  • Keep your pitch interesting and concise, adhering to the specified requirement.
  • Ensure your pitch reflects your expertise on the topic.
  • Avoid vague statements like "Contact Me For More Info" or requesting an interview.
  • Steer clear of including attachments or elaborate formatting; HARO strips its emails of any attachments.
  • The key is to generate a publication-ready quote that fits within two to three paragraphs unless specified otherwise.

Ensuring Your Response Stands Out

To ensure you're at a competitive advantage while responding, consider these tips:

  • Remember to highlight your unique value: Add hard data, cover the topic from a unique standpoint, or try to defy popular misconceptions.
  • Pay meticulous attention to the subject line: Craft it to catch the journalist's attention quickly.
  • Establish yourself as an expert: Make sure to list the most relevant experiences and credentials your brand has to offer.
  • Keep your pitch reader-friendly: Use headers, bullet points, and brief sentences to keep your pitch crisp and compelling.
  • Proofread your pitch: Double-check your spelling and grammar prior to hitting send. Something as seemingly trivial as typographical errors can negatively impact your credibility.

Dos and Don'ts of Using HARO

While HARO bears an unequivocal potential, it's essential to follow certain dos and don'ts to reap maximum benefits:

  • Do respond swiftly: Journalism values current affairs, so it's crucial to provide information when a journalist needs it. Till you maintain a quick response time, HARO should be an integral part of your process.
  • Don't send self-promotional or salesy pitches: Avoid sounding overly promotional in your responses. Otherwise, journalists might discard your pitch.
  • Do double-check if you match the query requirements: If you're seen as a reliable source by the journalist, chances are your pitch would be leaned towards favorably.
  • Don't include attachments: HARO excludes them from a response. If you have extra information to share, present it as a link allowing them to download.

Be Timely and Keep It Professional

Promptness is vital in the realm of HARO. Strive to be readily available to provide information whenever a journalist needs it. This speedy response culture should serve as an inherent part of your HARO routine. Further, ensure you stick to professional conduct at all times. Do not reach out to journalists outside of HARO or encroach on their personal space by searching for their personal contact information. Instead, aim to build relationships based on mutual respect, patience, and shared interest in quality content.

Don't Be Salesy or Self-Promotional

As much as HARO serves as an opportunity to promote your brand, remember that it's not a platform for blatant sales pitches or excessively self-promotional statements. Selling your products or services within your pitch can easily have your email ignored or deleted. The key to crafting a successful pitch in HARO lies in being subtly clever with your choice of words. Aim to showcase your expertise in a manner that mildly echoes your brand’s ethos without directly promoting it.

Proofread and Follow Guidelines

Refrain from submitting your pitch in haste. To ensure your pitch is coherent, precise, and free from errors, invest time in properly proofreading it. Apart from spotting and correcting typographical errors, also verify that you've strictly adhered to every single guideline mentioned by the journalist. The more accurately you follow the specified rules, the higher are your chances of getting picked.

HARO Subscription Plans and Pricing

While HARO offers a basic free-of-cost tier, it also has several paid plans offering more extensive features.

Plan Monthly Cost Key Inclusions
Basic Free Daily emails, Email support
Standard $19 per month Keyword alerts, Text alerts, Early access to lead
Advanced $49 per month More keywords, First access, 3 User profiles
Premium $149 per month Unlimited keywords, Unlimited profiles, phone support

The 'Basic' plan entails three daily emails and email support. If you're willing to spend $19 monthly on the 'Standard' plan, it enables keyword alerts, mobile alerts, and early access to journalist requests. For $49 a month, the 'Advanced' plan offers everything included in 'Standard,' along with more keywords, up to 3 user profiles, and first access to journalist requests. Finally, for businesses that can afford _149/month, the 'Premium' plan yields unlimited keywords, unlimited profiles, and premium support.

Boosting Your Press Coverage and Backlinks with HARO

As HARO bridges the gap between reporters and expert sources, it is contributing significantly in improving press coverage and enhancing backlinks. The platform fosters a symbiotic relationship where reporters benefit from rich industry insights and sources gain extensive media exposure and high-quality backlinks. Since the outreach stems from your valuable expertise, leading to a mention on top-tier platforms, these backlinks are deemed genuine by SEO metrics. When your business earns a mention in highly trafficked and respected media outlets, it's a boon that boosts your online credibility and provides a significant leap for your business's SEO. Over time, a successful HARO pitch can amplify your positive brand image within your niche, leading to an increased customer base and improved brand loyalty.


Navigating the world of HARO might seem daunting, particularly when you consider competing with the plethora of professionals vying for a place in the spotlight. However, with the right strategies and an understanding of how to craft engaging and relevant pitches, the platform can serve as a valuable asset for your brand's publicity and visibility. From curating compelling pitches and responses to fostering professional relationships with journalists, every step can lead to influential press coverage and robust backlinks for your brand. Not to forget, the lessons learned and relationships formed through HARO can extend beyond immediate benefits, potentially unlocking doors to future collaborations and PR possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can HARO benefit my business?

HARO provides businesses the opportunity to achieve extensive press coverage and enhance their digital footprint through high-quality backlinks. By connecting with journalists and experts in their area, businesses can promote their knowledge, attract new customers, and build credibility in their domain.

Is HARO free to use or are there subscription plans?

HARO offers both free and paid subscription options. Its basic level of service is available for free, which includes receiving daily emails and email support. For more advanced services like keyword alerts or early access to queries, HARO offers paid plans at different price points.

How long should a HARO pitch be?

Generally, a HARO pitch should be kept concise and engaging, approximately fitting within two to three short paragraphs unless the journalist’s query specifies otherwise. The aim should be to provide publication-ready quotes, showcasing the unique value of your expertise.

How quickly do I need to respond to a HARO query?

Speed is essential when responding to a HARO query. Owing to the volume of pitches reporters receive, it's recommended to respond to relevant queries immediately after receiving them, ideally within a few hours from when the HARO newsletter was issued.

What should I avoid when responding to HARO queries?

When responding to HARO queries, avoid generic answers, sending overly promotional or salesy pitches, and trying to pitch products. Also, refrain from including attachments as HARO deletes them. Ensure to adhere strictly to the guidelines provided by the journalist in their query.

Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Content Marketer
ABout the AUTHOR
Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Content Marketer

Vaishnavi Ramkumar is a content marketer specializing in creating BOFU content for SaaS brands. She believes reader-centric content is the sure-shot way to generate high-quality leads through content marketing. As part of the Scalenut team, Vaishnavi curates content that drives brand awareness and boosts signups. When she's not crafting content, you can find her immersed in the pages of a good book or a course.

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