Is HARO still a good source for media coverage?


Mary Jenkins
Is HARO still a good source for media...

HARO, or “Help a Reporter Out”, is an online platform by Cision that connects journalists who need expert input for their articles, with verified sources of expertise, particularly from PR agencies and their clients. 

Odds are you’re already familiar with the tool as it’s often covered as one of the best sources for coverage leads — but you may also be wondering: does HARO still have value when it comes to securing media coverage? Here’s everything you need to know about HARO, how to use it, and what to expect. 

What is HARO and how does it work? 

HARO is a tool often used by journalists, as well as experts, bloggers, and companies who are seeking coverage in prominent media sources (and subsequently securing backlinks to their websites). If you are an industry expert, you can join HARO’s database for free and can easily submit yourself or your client to be included in a story for commentary or insight. Or you can respond to queries posted by journalists when they need sources or quotes for an upcoming article.

HARO also makes it easy to monitor the source requests so you never miss one that may be relevant to you. Three times daily, (Monday through Friday at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m., and 5:35 p.m., ET), HARO sends an email with a roundup of the latest requests for experts. You can even tailor your email subscription to send you requests based on industry or subject matter. 

HARO basic is completely free, but HARO also offers paid plans (Standard, Advanced, and Premium) that benefit from additions like keyword alerts, mobile alerts, first point of contact privilege for requests, and multiple profile capabilities. 

Why is HARO relevant?

If you’re a B2B tech company, legitimacy is everything and media coverage, expert status, brand awareness and lead generation often go hand in hand. Media coverage is key to a PR strategy, but earned content is hard to come by organically, especially in the fast paced world of tech. Being quoted in a reporter’s story with a backlink to your company website puts you on the radar of consumers of that publication and connects your company to important topics trending in tech. HARO simplifies that process. 

Similarly, if you’re a B2B tech PR firm or PR professional in a startup, you can put your expertise and your clients’ expertise to great use and earn quality backlinks for them at the same time. Understanding your client’s background and expertise, therefore, is critical to properly and effectively pitch through HARO. 

On the other hand, if you’re a B2B tech startup looking to boost your thought leadership content on your blog rather than gain media coverage, getting insight from experts in the tech industry is also a valuable SEO tactic. Browsing HARO’s database for experts and then quoting these experts in your blog content not only adds legitimacy to what you’re posting, but also proves that your company is connected to the experts and that you have your finger on the pulse of what is going on in the tech world.

How to use HARO 

According to Cision, HARO’s parent company, you should only reply to queries that you are 100% qualified for. HARO is not a platform for you to sell a product, it is a platform to recommend an expert. Journalists are not interested in consuming your product, so don’t attempt to sell anything to them other than expertise on HARO. 

With over 800k experts using HARO, replying or “pitching” is competitive, so make sure you do it right. Review your pitch for typos, make your pitch concise (but be sure to answer all of the reporter’s needs), and use an interesting subject line. Be specific with the information you provide (include the expert’s name and background), and finally, make sure to include contact info and offer an opportunity for follow-up questions.

Scan HARO emails immediately — if you haven’t read the email within the standard work day, it may be best to wait for the next email. See Cision’s step-by-step guidelines for the lowdown on taking your pitch to the next level. 

The Verdict

Scour the internet for info on HARO and you’ll find articles on every PR firm’s website for how-to’s on pitching through HARO. That fact paired with the large pool of HARO members illustrates just how competitive pitching on HARO is. That being said, if you are able to streamline your HARO pitching approach as a PR firm and can effectively broadcast the expertise of your clients, HARO can still be a valuable source for media leads. 

About Mary Jenkins: Mary is a Senior Communications Associate for Swyft, which is a tech PR agency in San Francisco, Austin, Denver and Houston. Swyft was listed as a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver by BuiltinColorado. In addition to being a top tech PR agency in San Francisco, Swyft was also listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.

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