HARO Worth

Is HARO Worth the Hype?

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    If you work in public relations, then you’ve probably heard about the infamous HARO platform. HARO – otherwise known as – Help a Reporter Out – has been a source of PR opportunities for many professionals throughout the years. 

    In fact, this platform doesn’t only attract PR pros, it’s also a magnet for SEO specialists, link building experts, marketers, and even journalists/bloggers. Though it is used by people from all these fields, this article will focus on its PR benefits/disadvantages. 

    We’ll analyze HARO from a PR perspective and try to see whether it is really worth all the hype it’s been given from the media and from SEO influencers. 

    How does HARO work exactly?

    When you visit the HARO website, you can choose between signing up as a source or as a journalist. I’ve been both, so I understand what this platform offers from both sides of the spectrum. 

    If you are interested in getting daily emails with queries/media requests from journalists and bloggers, then you should sign up as a source. When you do this, you subscribe to their daily emails and you’ll have hundreds of media requests to sift through every week. 

    Here, I’ll walk you through it.

    Sign Up as a “Source”

    To set up a HARO account, you can use their basic subscription package which is totally free. You’ll be asked some basic questions about yourself and your business. 

    Source

    Once you’ve filled in this information, you’ll start receiving daily emails from HARO. Yup, it’s that easy!

    Deciphering HARO Emails

    Over time, your inbox will be flooded with HARO emails. Take a look at mine:

    HARO Emails

    Pro tip: use labels to keep track of all the HARO emails your receive to keep your inbox organized. I use “journalist inquiries” for my labels and it helps a ton!

    Here are a few things to keep in mind, HARO usually sends morning, afternoon, and evening editions. Sometimes the media requests have extremely tight deadlines, so it’s important that you don’t put off checking HARO at the end of the day, cause you can easily miss deadlines. 

    Now, let’s take a look inside a HARO email, shall we?

    HARO email

    These are the main categories of media requests available on HARO: 

    • Biotech and Healthcare 
        1. This category is rather broad, you get super specific medical media requests, queries about psychology, yoga, meditation, and other things related to health and wellbeing. (They should probably rename it Health & Wellbeing)!
    • Business and Finance 
        1. If you have clients who want to get media attention about things related to running a business, starting one, entrepreneur journeys, and even finances, then pay close attention to this section.
    • General
        1. This section gets pretty chaotic! You can get media requests about “best sex toys to use for…” and “Halloween gift guides.” You never really know what you’ll find here, so go ahead and peruse till you find a query that best suits your client.
    • High Tech
        1. This category was recently added to include topics about artificial intelligence, electronics, and technology. Pay close attention to this section if your client needs PR about their tech business or new electronic products. 
    • Lifestyle & Fitness
        1. This category is ideal for PR clients who are fitness trainers, or gym owners, and other clients who specialize in fitness and healthy living. Interestingly, some of the queries in this section center on parenting, relationships, and even home appliances, so it’s a little chaotic as well.
    • Public Policy & Government 
        1. This section is mostly focused on US policies, so it won’t be too helpful for international clients who need PR coverage.
    • Travel
      1. There are usually only 3-5 queries in this section and it’s at the very end of the email. The queries are usually about destination recommendations and content about traveling during the pandemic. 

    When you’ve found a query that you’d like to learn more about, you simply click on the hyperlink and you are automatically redirected to the query summary. They are all organized this way: 

    What it’s actually like to use HARO

    One main thing you should take away from this article is this: don’t rely solely on HARO for your media outreach. 

    Why do I say this? 

    Well, you are blindly responding to journalists that you don’t know, can’t follow up with, can’t engage with, and you are competing with hundreds of other subscribers for the same query. 

    You can send 5 pitches per day using HARO and get zero responses even after a month. That’s the main issue with this tool. It’s free. That may seem like a good thing at first, but it also means that literally anyone can access it and create more competition for you. 

    Worse yet, anyone can send a media request, the journalists are not well-vetted, their contact info is unavailable, so there’s complete anonymity. This greatly lowers the experience and undermines the whole point of forming media relationships. 

    Public relations is about forming media relationships, managing your client’s brand and reputation – you can’t rely on HARO if those are your ultimate goals. 

    However…

    HARO is a good tool to have in your arsenal because you get endless link-building opportunities and get to see what journalists are looking for. Again, don’t rely on HARO alone because it’s not enough to help you get media attention.

    Though I’m very critical of this tool, I use HARO every day, because once in a while, there are some incredible media opportunities available. But now that our PR firm is growing, we pay for tools like Vuelio, Response Source, and others so that we can be sure that the media requests are legit. 

    Plus, there’s a lot less competition when you use a PR tool that costs thousands of pounds per year. The quality of the queries you receive are much higher, and that’s the best part

    Use a combination of free and paid PR tools if you want to get ahead and really know what the editors, journalists, and bloggers are looking for. But again, don’t rely on HARO alone – especially if you work in PR.