How to Use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to Get Press Coverage

HARO will match you with reporters that have information requests and help you get published. In this article, we’ll show you how to become a source quoted by reporters using HARO (Help A Reporter Out).

You can also get great press coverage by writing your own press release and ensuring it’s read by the right journalists. We recommend eReleases for press release distribution, which you can use for the first time with a 30% discount.

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Why You Should Use Help a Reporter Out (HARO)?

HARO will provide you with access to thousands of reporters from nationals like The New York Times to local trade publications from coast-to-cost.

You can use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) as a free service to connect with journalists and provide source material for their upcoming articles. You just sign-up as a subscriber to receive queries from reporters that match your expertise. Then you simply select the queries that match your skills and experience and respond. If a reporter decides to use your response, they quote you.

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) makes it easier for you to:

  1. Increase your brand awareness – responding as an expert source can rapidly improve your brand awareness.
  2. Position yourself as an expert – providing insight in your field of expertise, naturally positions you as an expert.
  3. Generate your site more backlinks – connecting with reporters on HARO is a great way to get media sites to backlink to your site and raise you up Google’s rankings.
Help a reporter out homepage visual

Screengrab of Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

4 Steps to Becoming a HARO Source?

If you follow these simple steps you’ll find it a breeze:

Step 1: Visit HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Help a reporter out pricing plans with the free plan highlighted

Screengrab of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) pricing plans

Visit the HARO homepage and press the blue button to confirm yourself as a source. You’ll then arrive at a page where you can subscribe, we recommend signing-up to the free plan. This allows you to assess the potential of HARO (Help a Reporter Out) before considering any of the paid plans.

Step 2: Complete Your Profile

After signing-up for the free package, you’ll receive a confirmation email. You’ll also be asked for a few details about yourself and your HARO query preferences. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to start reviewing journalist queries.

Help a reporter out screengrab of content preference options

Screengrab of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) preferences

Step 3: Review Queries Relevant to You

As a registered source on HARO (Help a Reporter Out), you’ll now start receiving source requests. These come via email at 05:35, 12:35 and 17:35 ET from Monday through Friday.

Scan through the source requests and identify the ones relevant to your field of expertise. Each journalist will provide you with a simple brief to explain:

  1. The focus of their query
  2. The specific information they are after
  3. Their criteria for the type of source they want to hear from
  4. The deadline they’re working to

Step 4: Write Your HARO Pitch

You’re now ready to respond to the queries relevant to your field of expertise. This is a key step and it may sound simple, but it’s where many sources fall short. In the next section, I’ve provided you with some guidance on how to get published more often.

How to Get Published More Often

Now that you understand how HARO (Help a Reporter Out) works, it’s time to focus on refining your pitch to get published more often. Follow the principles below and you’ll see your win ratio improve:

1. Respond Quickly

Popular HARO queries can attract hundreds of responses. Most reporters will start with the first response they receive and work their way down. As a result, you need to be fast off the blocks when responding.

2. Fit the Criteria

Every time a journalist creates a query, they define their criteria for you. If they say that they’re looking for sales experts from Denver, don’t wasting your time responding if you come from Chicago.

The journalist is clear about what they want to save you both time. You will not persuade them to change their criteria as they will just move to the next response to find what they are looking for.

3. Answer the Question

This sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many sources either:

  1. Cut corners – you cannot sent a canned response and expert to get published. Good journalists are busy and organised and will tell you exactly what they are looking for.
  2. Try too hard – if you over deliver, you end up shooting yourself in the foot. If a reporter asks a simple question and wants a simple answer, just give them what they want.

We recommend writing a plain English response to each query. The easier you make it for a journalist to cut and paste what they need without the need to invest more time, the more likely you’ll get published.

4. Be Original

Given you are not likely to be the first source to respond, take time to create an original angle. This will help your response standout from the rest.

Because many people search Google and cut and paste, you’d be surprised how many query responses deliver the same answer. The best way you can standout, is to respond with something that is based on your personal experience. This is something everyone else cannot find on Google!

5. Include a Quote

We would always recommend providing a relevant quote of less than 50 words.

Your quote needs to include your full name, your job title, the name of your business and a link to your website. Without this, your unlikely to get published. Don’t be scared of being controversial when you write a quote. Journalists like opposing views and they are often looking for the counter opinion to help them to balance their story.

We have written a separate article on how to get your quote published, which is worth reading if you’re serious about getting published.

6. Provide Clear Contact Details

There’s one bit of information you don’t have to customise for each response; your contact details. It’s important to note that HARO strips out attachments, so you need to provide links for photos, etc.

We recommend you provide the following:

  • Your full name and job title
  • LinkedIn profile link
  • A headshot photo via a JPEG or PNG link
  • Personal Twitter handle link
  • Your business website link

Did the Reporter Use Your Response?

You’ll have to be patient because reporters stories often take weeks to get published. A good way to track when you get published is to set-up a free Google alert for your full name and the name of your business. Once you have done this, you will get an email from Google every time someone publishes a story including your name.

Congratulations – You’re in the News!

However, there are three things you still need to do:

  1. Include in your blog – add weight to circulation of the story by linking via your blog or your site news section
  2. Help promote the article – and remind your existing customers of why they chose you by retweeting the article, posting it on LinkedIn or sharing it on Facebook. They may also share this on with their friends. Helping to publicize the story is a great way for you to start building a relationship with the reporter
  3. Send a thank you – journalists like to call experts they know are credible, responsive and reliable. Tell the journalist something you like about the article and provide them with your contact details for future reference

The Juice Press

In this article, we showed you how to become a source quoted by reporters using HARO (Help A Reporter Out). You can also get great press coverage by writing your own press release and using a professional distribution service to ensure it’s read by relevant reporters. We recommend eReleases for distribution and guaranteed coverage, which you can use for the first time with a 30% discount.

Visit eReleases