HARO response tips
We are happy to share the HARO response tips based on our years of experience. Following these pieces of advice, you can significantly improve your inclusion rate.
Meet the reporter's requirements.
Most of the queries will have precise requirements: how many words, format for backlinking, specific questions to answer. Send them exactly what they ask for, nothing less, nothing more. If there are no particular requirements in the query, take a few minutes to explore the reporter’s website and previous articles. Most probably, you will get a sense of the expected format.
If you respond to an anonymous query without specific requirements, here’s one effective format for a pitch.
- Greetings and readiness for a quick follow-up if needed
- The body of the pitch, 200 words max
- Spokesperson’s name, position, headshot photo, personal LinkedIn account link
- Company name and website link
Don't promote yourself or your product in your response.
The gratitude you aim for is the backlink. Don’t expect to get an “advertorial.” It’s okay to refer to your expertise in your pitch, especially when the reporter asks for case studies or real-life anecdotes. Just keep in mind that a reporter most probably has their agenda and messages they want to pass along to their readers. It’s unlikely that promoting your business is on their list.
Give your pitch some credibility.
Choose the right spokesperson. It should be the CEO or someone from the management team. The response should come precisely from that person. Not “on behalf of.”
Use the email registered with your domain. It can be firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Just don’t use free email websites like Gmail. This will give reporters a hint that someone else pitches on your behalf, and that’s a great direction if you want your pitches to be ignored.
Use correct link format.
Make sure to indicate your website link in the correct format. If you don’t, the backlink will work as a redirect, which would limit its SEO value.
Wrong: yourwebsite.com, www.yourwebsite.com
Correct: https://yourwebsite.com/, https://www.yourwebsite.com/ – only one of these will be correct, depending on your website’s setup. Just copy the link from the browser.
Have the LinkedIn style headshot ready.
300×300 px, as a sharable link from Google Drive, DropBox, or similar. Do not attach the picture to the emails. Include your photo only responding to queries that ask for it.
Avoid giving obvious responses.
Each query gets dozens or even hundreds of responses. Make sure your answer stands out to be included. If the question is about the best movie by Quentin Tarantino – don’t write about Pulp Fiction. If the question is about an aspirational entrepreneur – don’t pitch about Elon Mask. I think you get the idea.
Answer each question separately.
If the reporter asked several questions within one query, they either work on several articles or already have a structure of their article in mind. There are two relevant directions you choose from:
- Answer each of the questions: copy the question, and then write your answer.
- Choose the questions you want to answer is skip the rest. Again, it should be clear which questions you respond to.
If you feel like writing an essay covering all the questions together, be ready to have your pitch skipped without considering.
Write the copy-paste-ready way.
Don’t expect the journalist to rephrase something. They will take the pitches that don’t require editing. It’s a no-brainer that your pitch has to be proofread. Grammarly and Hemmingway are your best friends here.
Deadlines are essential.
Response sent past the deadline will not even be received by the journalist. The earlier you respond, the better. Don’t wait until the last moment.
When your pitch gets published, share this through your social media.
Some journalists have “activity in social media” as a criterion for selecting the respondents – they are hoping to get some traffic through your network as well.
It's okay to respond to anonymous requests.
It can be a no-name blogger. It can also be Forbes. You could try to guess by the sophistication of the question. But you never know.
Check the media's previous roundup articles.
Check the media’s previous roundup articles before submitting your pitch. If they link with ‘nofollow’ or ‘ugc’ links or with links to social media only – don’t waste time responding to their queries. If it’s Forbes or someone else from the top-tier cohort – respond! Having any mentions in Forbes will allow you to say “featured in Forbes” on your site.
Don't respond to low-DR media.
Pitching to them will require as much effort but will bring less SEO value. Those backlinks won’t bring any harm, of course. If you have plenty of time or faith that the media will grow their rating sometime later – go ahead!
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Get HARO links from big-name media easily.
How to use HARO efficiently
By following the pieces of advice above, you will exchange your time and expertise for high-quality backlinks. Dedicating a few hours per week, you can expect to have an average of five high-quality backlinks free of charge. If time is a precious resource for you, or if you don’t feel that writing is your stronghold, get in touch with us.