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HARO – “Help a Reporter Out” – is a classic tool for B2B PR professionals. But most marketers don’t know they can access both sides of the platform. Here’s a tutorial on how to be a publisher on HARO.
If you do public relations, you’ve almost certainly “pitched” on HARO. You get the email, find a query that fits you or your client, and fire off what they ask for.
But if you run an active blog of any note, you don’t need to restrict yourself to just pitching journalists. You can be a publisher on HARO.
Why would you want to?
Let’s think about two blog posts about marketing challenges.
One is written by you, with only your perspective.
The other is based on comments from a dozen or so experts. They have varied perspectives.
Which is a richer user experience? Usually, the latter.
And you can create just that type of post by being a publisher on HARO!
Signing Up with HARO
The best step in becoming a HARO publisher is signing up. To do this, you’ll want to:
- Navigate to helpareporter.com
- Click on “I’m a Journalist”
- Submit a query
That’s it. Simple, right?
Of course, there’s a bit more to it.
HARO Publisher Rules & Best Practices
You’re not going to get much value out of being a publisher on HARO is you do it wrong.
The first thing to keep in mind is their rules for journalists. These are wide-ranging, but a few are of particular note.
- The website where work will be published needs to have an Alexa rank of 1 million or less, and have been up at least a month.
- You can’t use it for subscription-based sites.
- You need to submit using a real name (though it can be anonymized).
- You need to give your sources credit.
- You can’t ask for content that’s more than 300 words long.
- You can’t ask for prerecorded audio or video. You can ask for folks who want to be interviewed on your podcast or show.
Basically, you need to be honest. Sources will be pitching you earnestly. You owe it to them to honor their time commitment.
Best Query Topics for HARO
The next big key for your HARO query is the topic. The golden rule here is to:
Be specific enough that you’ll get usable answers and sources, but not too niche.
What do we mean by that?
If you ask for sources’ “favorite business technologies,” you’re going to get a ton of irrelevant answers. There’s no clear throughline there. It’ll be everything from POS systems and payment gateways to CRMs and live chat platforms. That’s too broad.
On the other hand, if you ask for how B2B tech sellers in Tennessee dealt with a specific event in April 2017, you’re not going to get any responses. That’s just as bad.
Instead, find a middle ground. If we were looking for content here at the Altitude Blog, that would be topics like:
- Your biggest B2B marketing challenges
- Your favorite piece of marketing technology, and why
- How AI is impacting your marketing department
- Your tips for getting the most out of WordPress
Pretty much any digital marketer – our audience – can answer those questions. Very few folks who aren’t digital marketers would. Those are sweet-spot HARO query topics.
Responding to HARO Pitches
Once you post your query (and it’s approved), you’ll start getting “pitches” in response. In our experience, about half are truly qualified. Even if they’re not, be kind in your responses. A simple email from the source goes a long way, even if it’s a “thanks but no thanks.”
If you do use someone’s submission or interview them, it’s not typical to give them prior review of the content. Instead, let them see it just after you publish, but before you distribute broadly. This gives them a chance to promote it on their social channels and show off their placement internally.
Again, honesty and politeness go a long way. HARO is all about give and take. Both sides have something to offer the other, but each has to give up some time to get it. Remember that, and respect it.
tl;dr: Being a Publisher on HARO
If you have a reasonably popular blog or online outlet, you can use HARO to get experts’ thoughts and opinions in front of your audience. Pick the right topics and deal with the responses the right way, and you might even build some real-world relationships.