How to use HARO to get your company featured in the press in the next 2 weeks
Looking to get your company featured in the press? Pitching journalists who have covered relevant topics before is the most effective approach but after catching their interest, it can take time for journalists to slot you into their editorial calendar.
How HARO works in connecting with journalists working on a story right now
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to the rescue! On HARO, journalists submit requests seeking contributions, interviews and quotes for stories they are working on right now.
By signing up for HARO, you receive roundups of these requests everyday. Responding to queries where you can contribute relevant experience or expertise gives you a much better chance of getting featured since the journalists are actively seeking stories to feature.
You can choose topics most relevant to your company to subscribe to. They include:
After subscribing, you’ll start to receive several emails at day listing journalist queries related to those topics:
I recommend setting up a filter that directs emails ‘from:email@example.com’ go directly into its own separate label inside your inbox. This way, you can block out a certain time of the day to check out all the recent HARO queries, instead of having them flood your main inbox. Also if your email client offers this filtering rule, select ‘Never send it [email] to spam’. Some HARO emails can get caught in your spam filter and this prevents any from ending up there.Automate your PR outreach
Here’s how to the top of the HARO emails look like:
The Index is where they link to each query inside the email so you can simply click on one to jump straight to it.
Here’s an example of the format journalist queries are presented in:
Some ask for experiences that almost any business owner has had while others request specific expertise or experiences.
After scanning through each HARO email, you can copy and paste the queries you can contribute to in a separate doc. Then rank them by the publications you would get the most value out of being featured in so you can work on drafting replies to the list in that priority.Automate your PR outreach
How to find the direct email addresses of journalists
In HARO emails, they only provide you with a forwarding email address to each journalist such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Not the journalist’s actual email.
Journalists may be less likely to see your reply since it gets lumped together with all the other HARO responses and doesn’t go directly to their main inbox. But with smart guessing, you can figure out the actual email address of most journalists on HARO. (Don’t do this if they specifically state they don’t accept HARO responses in their main email!)
To smart guess a journalist’s actual email, enter their publication name into http://www.email-format.com. This site shows you the most likely format their email is in.
For example, here are the top email formats Forbes uses:
Per Email Format’s data, the most popular email format for Forbes is email@example.com so if the journalist’s full name was John Smith, their email would likely be JSmith@forbes.com
How to write a compelling response to HARO queries to get featured
The key to getting your HARO response included in the final story is presenting your experience or expertise in a compelling way that shows the journalist how including it would elevate the emotional appeal of their article and help them illustrate an important point.
An effective response for a HARO query response:
Subject line: Re: your HARO query - (1) really funny story about customers playing Pokemon in shop’s my parking lot
Saw your HARO query. (2) [2-3 sentences about your relevant experience or expertise.]
[1-2 sentences to explain the significance of your experience or expertise such as what it means for society at large.]
Let me know if this fits well with your story - happy to provide other details!
In your subject line, very briefly summarize the experience or expertise you will share a compelling way. Or provide a teaser of it.
Share the major points of your relevant experience or expertise. Make sure you provide all the details that a journalist requests in their query.
Spelling out the significance your experience or expertise has on the wider context helps the journalist easily see how your contribution can elevate their piece. The more they have to think about how to use your insights, they less likely they are to ultimately include it.
Gently ask them to get back to you and show them you’re open to working with them to provide all the details they need.Automate your PR outreach
Tracking your reply to check if the journalist read it
It’s important you’re tracking your emails to see if journalists are opening your HARO replies and how many times they’re opening it (indicator of their interest).
As you’re first starting out, tweak your subject line styles and body structure to see what gets better opens and responses. Then use the best performing subject line and structure for future HARO responses. If you see that a journalist has opened your email a few times but has not yet responded, you can follow up with a short email like:
Wondering if you had a chance to review my query? Think it may be really interesting for your readers [why: what emotions or insights your experience or expertise provides].
How to find out if a journalist used your contribution
Sometimes, a journalist may be too busy to write back confirming they used your contribution in their article. Here are two ways to check on your own.
Go to Google Analytics -> Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals and check to see if any of the publications whose journalist query you answered is directing any traffic toward your site. If they are, the journalist featured in one of their articles!
2. Set up a Google News alert for your company name or personal name
Depending on whether you contributed insights related to your company’s industry or personal background, type either your company name or personal name into Google. Toggle to News and click on Create alert at the bottom. Now you’ll receive an email every time you’re mentioned. If you see you’re cited in a publication whose journalist query you answered, chances are your HARO reply paid off!
Scroll to the bottom of the page to create an alert for your company or personal name
How to thank a journalist if they did feature you to keep the relationship going
If a journalist did feature you, make sure to follow up and thank them with something like:
I saw that you included me in your article [Article Name] - thank you! Great to see my insights about [topic] [specific way it contributed to their article].
Just shared it to all my social networks and posted it to [name 1-2 other channels].
Feel free to ping me if you need any other details about [topic of your expertise].
This thank you email shows both your appreciation for getting featured and the journalist you’re open to contribute to future pieces. Now that you’ve established a line of contact with this journalist, you can occasionally email them with really interesting news or insights related to their beat to keep the relationship going and your name on their radar. So should they work on a story concerning your area of expertise in the future, they’ll think of you first.
HARO does a great job connecting you with journalists who are already in the process of writing an article, so there’s a much better chance for you to get featured.
Since some HARO requests are broad enough for business owners from different fields to contribute, it’s best to be selective about which ones you answer. Remember, backlinks from more relevant or national publications are better for your Google rankings and to use as social proof.
If you’re interested in only seeing HARO requests relevant to your company or personal background instead of manually reviewing all the queries in their daily emails, you can check out a PR outreach tool I created JustReachOut. On there, you can simply type in a few keywords related to your company or background and view all the recent HARO queries related to it.Automate your PR outreach