My Top 5 Tips for Help a Reporter Out (HARO Tips)

by | Nov 16, 2020

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Ready for practical HARO tips from someone who has ghostwritten dozens of responses?

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that connects journalists to experts on topics that they seek information on. For example, a reporter might want to write an article about the Top Three Books Entrepreneurs Should Read. They want entrepreneurs, coaches or business owners to reply to the query with a fleshed out response on book recommendations that helped their successes. 

Writing for HARO is a great outlet for those of us working to improve our domain authority, create backlinks, or publicize our work. The reporter gets the expert advice they seek and we get publicity and links to our work. It’s a win-win!

Although sorting through hundreds of HARO queries can be overwhelming, there are methods to make it worth your time, to pick the right queries, and to maximize your efforts. Here are some ways you can effectively contribute to HARO when using the platform to publicize your business or to get high quality backlinks. 

1. Set your goals ahead of time

As with anything we do, we want to set objectives that help navigate all of the various options and to manage our time wisely.

Knowing which queries are worth your efforts depends on your goals. Firstly, figure out if publicity or backlinking is your objective for writing HARO responses. If you want to use it to gain top-notch publicity, then only respond to queries by recognizable publications and magazines. If your goal is backlinking, then your criteria can include any large website or ones with a good domain authority. 

Trust me, you don’t want to subscribe to the master HARO list which sends 3 emails a day with upwards of 200 queries each before knowing what to look for. 

2. Don’t waste your time on crappy sites

We all like sharing our work from publications or features on social media, so remember this when choosing which queries to respond to. The queries show the media outlet that the reporter writes for, so take a second to look into it if you do not recognize the name.

When backlinking, you’ll want to check out their website to see that it’s something you would like to share your work from or that it has a high domain authority. When your focus is publicizing, you can afford to be even more particular about who you respond to.

You want to share work that you are proud of or get high quality backlinks from. Don’t waste your time on sites that aren’t within your standards. 

3. Provide one focused response

After you’ve picked good and relevant queries, write a direct answer to the question instead of rambling on about several different answers you could include. Providing a precise response on one tip or topic unless the query asks otherwise is important because your words may be taken as is. 

Also, the reporters receive tons of responses and need to understand your point right away. So don’t overload them with multiple answers and just give them your best tip!

4. Get creative and unique with your response

Taking a unique position will make you stand out amongst all of the other experts that respond to topics that are frequently posted. Get creative with it and bring your personal flair that makes you an expert on the topic.

When going through HARO emails, an example of a query I often see asks how you should design a home office. Instead of giving the obvious answer like keeping it decluttered, your answer could be to think of a color that is calming and to incorporate that color into your office space. Providing about answers that are unique and personal will better help your chances of being featured. 

5. Save responses to tweak and reuse

With popular topics, you will see the same type of query that you have responded to multiple times. But do not shy away from these. You already have a library of responses that you can reuse and tweak for new HARO queries.

My client, Dayana Mayfield, and I often respond to different book recommendation queries with answers that we have saved. Simply personalize and edit each response, but by using old responses you will definitely save yourself some time and brain power. 


Rio Villa writes for clients and for her travel blog, The TwentySomething Traveler. She is a content writer and copywriter as well as an audiovisual content producer.


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