How Can You Use HARO to Find Link-Building Opportunities?

Help A Reporter Out is one of the best link-building opportunities out there. Here is what you need to know.

Video Transcript:

David: Youssef, you were going to talk about HARO. Are you familiar, Bryan, with what HARO is?

Bryan: No.

David: It’s an email newsletter called Help A Reporter Out. And it’s a bunch of journalists who are looking for sources of information that they can quote in their articles. And we look at it in terms of a link-building process because sometimes, when a reporter quotes you in their article as an expert, they will give you a link to your website. And so, Youssef really has found a lot of success in this. So, what you were going to say is something about how easy it is, Youssef?

Youssef: Yeah. I was going to say that it doesn’t take that much time, and the return on investment, which is your time, is actually worth it. Can I share my screen?

David: I have to let you.

Youssef: Alright. Now I’m sharing my screen. So, this is the website. I’m not going to go on how to register because this is on… So, either Dave or Tricia can just check on the website. But basically, you’re just going to register as a source because you are the expert here. And what happens is… Let’s go for the latest one that I got today. So basically, a bunch of reporters will ask for experts about something. For instance, let’s see this one. The first one is asking for someone who knows about pregnancy. For example, maybe a mom, maybe a doctor. I don’t know. You have to click, and then it takes you to the whole page where they are asking about everything. This is useful because you will have to look for a pitch that is relevant to what you do. And while doing this, just this month, I found a lot of opportunities that either you or Dave are going to answer easily. And most of these opportunities will come with a link. For instance, let’s just click here. Okay, this one is not asking, but in the end, you will find them most of the time saying that they want your bio, your socials, and your website. What I wanted to add, and maybe Tricia and Dave know this about HARO. But what I want to add is it doesn’t take that much time. So, what you can do, and this is something I do manually, is just scroll and just skim through these to find opportunities that are relevant to our clients. But what you could do if you don’t have that much time, if you are busy, and you are an expert and don’t have that much time, do control F or command F on Mac and just type the keyword of something that is relevant to your industry. For instance, let’s see, I’ll type “marketing” here. Oh, look. We have 15 keywords about marketing, so what I’ll do I’ll just look at the title and see if it is relevant to what we do. Let’s see. Marketing organization. I don’t know. Maybe. I guess this only has this one opportunity for marketing. Let’s see. Can you give me a keyword?

Bryan: Golf?

Youssef: No, I mean, that’s very specific.

Bryan: Okay.

David: Try sports.

Youssef: Sports. Yeah, we have a section for sports here. But it’s a little bit broad. I was going to try something like website building. Well, it’s not in this pitch, but the gist here is, for instance, when you don’t find your keywords, then that’s it. You’ve done it, at least for this one. You usually get three of these each day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. So, what you can do is whenever you see it, you know the email. My email is here, so I always check for other reasons. But yeah, for HARO too. So, you just have to keep this tab open and whenever they send you a HARO email, which you will get three times each day, just do this, and it’s going to be worth it. Let’s go for this one, for example. This is what I was talking about. See how they are asking for the website? That means 100% you’re going to get a link here. All of these are asking for the website. So, let’s look at this, “How to Protect Wood Floors This Christmas.” So, this one is asking for an expert in wood floors or flooring. So, basically, anything you see you’re good at or your client is good at may be good. Your clients can also get involved in this. Maybe it will take some time, but just focus on what you are good at because you are going to be the one who’s answering. So, if you do build websites or if you are familiar with branding, you just have to come here, type branding, and let me see. No, nothing. Sometimes you might get some topics that, although they are not specifically related to you, there is a chance they will like your reply because sometimes they want answers from different angles. For instance, they don’t just want the answer from specifically one expert, but they would like an answer from the angle of a web developer, for example. So that can be helpful too. All you have to do is just sign up for HARO, and whenever you see it… This is so important; you have to be a little bit fast. Sometimes you might take some time and get lucky, but yeah, the faster you respond to these, the more chances you will have, and always, always answer the questions, and always pay attention to this requirements area. If you don’t see yourself matching their requirements, just don’t bother. You’ll just waste your time. Just type the keyword here each day, or what I usually do is go through it manually. One of the opportunities I got had nothing to do with what we do. It had nothing to do with marketing. But. I was just looking here, and I was like, hey, I know about this, and I can write something good. So, I just went and wrote something, and they linked to us. So yes, it is worth it to skim through it, and maybe you will find something that you can write, and that is not going to take much time. Just go for it. It’s going to take maybe two minutes of your time for each one. Once you find an opportunity, it might take you a maximum of 30 minutes if you want to do a really good pitch. But if you want to do a really good pitch, Curious Ants has a sample of how to do it. So, make sure to check it out. And I guess that’s it.

David: I think, Youssef, we’ve been keeping track of how many of these we sent and how many we’ve gotten. And this is, so far, the most successful link-building effort as far as emails out to links received. Right?

Youssef: Right.

David: So, link-building is always troubling and frustrating because it just takes forever. It takes a lot of emails to get a response. But this one is for people who want to hear from you and who are saying they will link to your website. And that’s why it’s so successful. It’s an easy link opportunity. You know, that’s why we do it.

Youssef: Yeah. Because most people who use this service know that you want something in return, which is obviously a link. So, you’re not going to waste your time every day and answer their pitch for nothing. So yeah, they know what’s up. And most of the time, you’ll get the link if you get featured on their website. And that’s the link that your competitor is not going to get unless he somehow pitches the same one and you are on the same page. But that’s very rare. So, I think it’s really something worth doing every day. And once you get used to it, you’ll find yourself doing it like a habit. Sometimes when you have nothing to do, you’ve finished your projects or something, and you are checking your emails, then you can check the HARO email to see if there is an opportunity that you can write. If not, that’s okay. Check the next day. Do you have any questions, Bryan?

Bryan: Actually, I do. I guess for this particular strategy… This is a very nice platform, but I think this means that, to a certain extent, you’d have to have the expertise to answer the questions listed there, right?

Youssef: Yeah.

Bryan: So, suppose you’re working on an SEO campaign for a client that is something technical that you don’t have any background on?

David: Excellent question. Excellent, excellent question.

Youssef: Well, I’ll let David answer this.

David: Oh, Youssef, I think you’re doing a good job. Why don’t you tell them what we do?

Youssef: Well, for me personally, if there is something that I have a little bit of knowledge about, I either send it to David, or I just go and search in Google. If I see that it’s not very technical, I just go to Google and see what the experts are saying. And once I understand it, I just write my own opinion. I know this one takes a little bit of time, but if it is too technical, I just don’t bother and I just send it to David.

David: Well, but there’s another step we do, too. So, sometimes our clients are the expert.

Youssef: Yeah.

David: What we’ll do is Youssef will find one and copy the pitch, send it to the client, and they can reply directly to it. The trick is they also have to be subscribed to the HARO newsletter as a source. So, for instance, Bryan, right now, you are not signed up to receive these. So, if you were to get it… Click on the first one here, Youssef. So, if you were to get this and you were to click on that email address, it would not let you resend it because you’re not signed up on the email list of HARO. However, we ask our clients who want to participate in this to sign up as well. We just tell them, hey, you need to sign up, but don’t worry, we’ll tell you when you need to do something. So they don’t have to read these emails every day. And then, in this case, when Youssef is looking through for our clients and says, oh, we have a client who’s a lawyer, we’re going to send this opportunity straight to the client and say, hey, client, if you know, please respond to this and they just respond directly to the source. So that cuts out the middleman. So that way, it’s not the client sending to Youssef and then Youssef sending on to HARO because, as you said, this is all really having to be done pretty quickly.

Youssef: Yeah.

David: So, if that’s the case, then what’s happened? We skipped a bunch of problems. Now we used to do it the wrong way, which was Youssef would send it to me, I would turn it to the client, the client would then ask a lawyer, the lawyer would tell the client, the client would then tell me, and then I tell Youssef. And by the time we got it back, we missed the deadline because there’s a deadline here. So today is December 7, and it is 02:00 p.m. Right now, that means this one is due in an hour. The client’s never going to get back to us in that time. Now one of the things you see, and this is really important to reiterate, is you don’t know if you’re going to be accepted. You’re going to reply to this pitch, and someone might not like what you have to say or might not find it valuable or might miss the deadline or someone got to it first. There are all kinds of reasons why people might not accept your pitch. So, we suggest to everybody to make their response very brief. One or two sentences. Because they can always contact you back and say hey, can I give some more information? It’s better to just send a couple of sentences to show you know what you’re talking about than to ask them to spend an hour writing a thousand-word article to answer their question, and then they just get rejected. Right? So those are the tricks we found to do this when we do it on behalf of clients. But if you wanted to do it for your own business, Bryan, then you just watch it. And Bryan, you know web design and web development really well. So, if you watched it, you could probably just reply to them yourself. Right? If you want to do this for your clients, then you’re going to have to take some extra steps. But that’s a really good question because you realize that this might not be as easy as you initially thought it said it was right.

Youssef: Nothing is easy.

David: Yeah. But like we said, this is probably one of the most effective link-building strategies we do.

Youssef: Yeah.

Bryan:  Very, very nice tool. Cool.


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