A guide to HARO link building 


Did you know that thousands of reporters and bloggers are desperate to reach out to you for content, links, and sources? 


Probably not.


And you're not the only one.


That's why we decided to tell you all about HARO. It's the best content marketing tool you (and your competitors) have never even heard about.


What is HARO? 


Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is an online platform that connects journalists looking for sources to back up their stories with industry experts and content creators. 


It's free to sign up as a source, although premium packages are available. Extra benefits for paid subscribers include early access to requests, keyword searches, and mobile phone alerts to keep you ahead of the competition.


How HARO works is simple:


● Journalists and bloggers submit HARO requests for sources. HARO calls them queries. HARO emails are sent out to subscribers' addresses in three batches, arriving at 5.35 am, 12.35 pm, and 5.35 pm (Eastern Standard Time.) 

● Sources (that's you) with relevant expertise and content, respond.

● The journalist picks the content and sources they like.

● Hey, presto! The journalist or blogger has a more rounded and better-sourced story or article. And the source (again, that's you) earns a shout-out or backlink, putting their brand right in front of eyeballs belonging to members of a target audience

● Everybody wins on HARO. 

● How simple is that?


Some people have described HARO as a glorified mailing list. And they're not necessarily wrong. But it fails to explain what mastering HARO can do for you and your brand. It just doesn't capture the (countless) opportunities that await you.


Why you need to be on HARO


And that's why we prefer to think of HARO as a hook-up site for journalists and content creators looking to expose their brand to as many eyeballs as possible.


A HARO hook-up can be a quick, one-off type of thing. And there's nothing wrong with that. And there's certainly nothing wrong with making as many hook-ups as you can handle. There's no shame in it at all, just more high-quality backlinks. 


Or you might be one of the lucky few who finds a 'real relationship' with HARO.

A heart shaped hot air balloon


And yes, this might not be as exciting as a regular stream of new hook-ups. You might not experience the same flutter in your heart (or other body parts) when a new journalist pops up in your inbox (pun intended!) But like every proper commitment, the long-term rewards will always outweigh the short-term temptations and thrills, including those 'special flutters' we mentioned earlier. 


Finding your perfect HARO partner could mean connecting with a trade journalist who writes for publications and websites that attract millions of views. You could be that special person they call whenever they need a source or industry insight. And they'll always pick up the phone (or at least respond to an email) whenever you have a new piece of content to share and promote. It's a match made in heaven. How romantic. And it all started in HARO.


The benefits of using HARO


OK. That's enough of the dating metaphors. Or at least for now. Let's put our grown-up hat back on and get into the (many) benefits of using HARO as part of your digital marketing strategy. 


HARO is ideal for:


● Driving more organic traffic to your site. 

● Link-building strategies for raising your domain authority.

● Establishing relationships with media outlets. 

● Getting high-profile journalists and websites to link to your website.

● Running an effective content marketing strategy on a tight budget.

● Earning links that your target clients or customers will click.


"HARO is an underrated way of building links and boosting your online presence,"

says AXD Director Alan Davies.

"Think about it: you can communicate directly with people working at the world's most read publications multiple times a day. And the best part is that many firms don't know HARO exists. It can be your secret weapon to outranking the competition."


The expert guide to HARO link building


Transforming yourself into the (hot) source everyone on HARO wants is easy. Anyone can do it. You just need to know what bloggers and journalists are looking for, then give it to them. Simples.


Here's a quick summary of how to become the number 1 HARO super-match


Respond to queries ASAP: 

Playing it cool doesn't work with a HARO query. Journalists work on quick turnaround times, and you won't be the only one chasing their link.


Don't get sloppy: 

Poor grammar is a significant turn-off for journalists and bloggers. Proofread your pitch. Then proofread it one more time. 


Stay on point: 

Ever been on a first date with someone who blurts out their entire life story before the starters have arrived? Super annoying. The same rule applies to wooing journalists and bloggers. They don't need to know everything about you or your company. Focus on the stuff that is relevant and will impress them. 


Keep it brief:

Size matters when searching for suitors on HARO. And smaller is always better. Your responses should not read like press releases. HARO pitches need to be short and straight to the point.


Write in quotes: 

Include soundbites in your email pitch, such as quotes and content that journalists can put straight into their stories. This saves them time and makes their job so much easier. They'll love you for it. And they'll always come back for more.


Track your track record: 

If you keep getting ignored or straight-up ghosted, don't start blaming those 'picky' journalists. That's the losers' approach. Chances are that rejection after rejection means you're the one doing something wrong. Track the response rate of your pitches. See what lines work and which ones need binning.


Make yourself available: 

Include all your contact details, alternative contact details, and social media handles in your email pitch. Give journalists as many opportunities as possible to reach you. You won't sound desperate or needy. Instead, you'll come across as efficient and professional. And that's a top 5 turn-on for the journalists and bloggers cruising HARO for a quick hook-up.


Where to find the best HARO hook-ups


There are lots of fish in the HARO sea. And there are also some pretty big ones. Catch the eye of one of these whales, and all your content marketing dreams could come true.

plenty of fish in the sea

Here's a list of some of the big-name websites that regularly feature content sourced from HARO:


Business Insider: 

US finance and business news with a domain rating of 92; attracts 23.6 million monthly views.



Aimed at men aged between 20 – 44, GQ has 400,000 monthly readerships with over 2.7 million online unique visitors per month.



Across print and online, the telegraph reaches 2.3 million people and regularly fires out HARO requests.



Delivering top-notch reporting on the business of the tech industry, including technology, startups, venture capital funding, and Silicon Valley. Attracting 8.4 million monthly unique visitors and 13 million followers. Imagine what one link on this site could do for your brand!



It's not as cringey as you think. Plus, 64 million people read Buzzfeed articles per month.



One of the world's most respected financial news sources. Forbes has a monthly organic traffic rate of 26 million. Truly global reach. Landing a single link here sends you straight to the grown-ups' table.


See? We weren't kidding. HARO is the real deal.


What does a good HARO pitch look like?


A generic HARO email pitch won't impress anyone like a standard "Hi. How are you?" opening on Tinder or Bumble. And the more standard template emails you fire out, the more rejections you'll have to live with.


A good pitch is four things: unique, specific, eye-catching, and readable.


Here's an example of what your pitch email might look like: 




Subject line: Re: your HARO query. Eye-catching subject line. Be authentic, genuine, and truthful. Avoid clickbait or sales language.


Hello [journalist's name]


I saw your HARO query, followed by 2-3 sentences outlining your experience or expertise.


Another couple (3 max) of sentences explaining how your expertise or content is exactly what their story/blog needs.


Friendly and casual sign-off, followed by all your contact details.



A few other things to consider include:


● Add visual data or graphics when appropriate. For time-starved journalists on tight deadlines, a picture is worth a thousand words.

● Always tailor your pitch to the query.

● Do some background research on whom you're pitching to.

● Find a compelling angle. This is what all good stories/blogs are based on.

● Don't try punching above your weight. At least not at first. In other words, start by pitching to those you have a shot with. There's no shame in knowing your limits. And it's the first step to overcoming them.


AXD Marketing: white label link building


HARO is a great tool for raising your company profile and Google ranking, but many firms, especially smaller ones short on time, don't have the resources or people power to dedicate to identifying and responding to queries. Our HARO team works directly with journalists and high-profile bloggers to get our client's content into top publications that their target audiences read on a daily basis. And that's a promise.

Our tiered HARO packages guarantee a set number of links or your money back.


At AXD Agency, we run a bespoke HARO matchmaking service for clients searching for more high-quality links.

It's time to start using HARO. Book a free discovery call today with AXD, and we'll find your perfect match.

Great content sets the best brands apart. Let's make you one of them.

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