HARO began as a platform for journalists looking for industry experts. It brings writers, industry experts, and reporters together.
Journalists and reporters use the platform to make requests for quotes and information to find sources they need for an upcoming article or story. Their inquiries are channeled through HARO and sent to thousands of people just like you.
Industry experts (that's you) use HARO get mentioned in other blogs and media publications. Ideally, you receive a backlink but even a mention is a way to get your name and website out to a larger audience.
You may benefit from HARO if you’re looking to:
- Increase your readership
- Beef up your SEO strategy
- Get more exposure for your brand or business
While HARO is an excellent resource, there comes with it the need to be chosen from hundreds of other individuals pitching to answer the same inquiry. Again, the question begs, how do you stand out? It comes down to knowing how to write a HARO pitch.
6 Steps to Writing a Compelling HARO Pitch
1. Start With the Subject Line
Like a regular marketing email, your subject line is important (sometimes even more important than the details). It’s the first impression you’ll have on the reporter reading your HARO pitch email and could be the thing that either entices them or prevents them from opening it.
Reporters are on strict deadlines. Sometimes they literally only have hours to complete their pieces. They don’t have time to waste opening and reading every HARO pitch in their inbox. So, they’ll skim subject lines, only stopping to read the contents of emails with subject lines that speak to them and what they’re trying to accomplish.
Include HARO and the name of the publication you are submitting to so the reporter knows immediately what story your quote is for. Journalists are often freelance writers and might have several HARO requests out for different publications.
Your subject line should be catchy — click-worthy. Your goal is to entice the reporter reading your subject line, leaving them wanting more. Use powerful, original words and phrases to create enough curiosity that the reporter will open your email and read your full pitch.
Yes, include HARO in your subject line. While you want to use unique words and phrases in your subject line to entice reporters, place “HARO” and the end of the subject line so it catches the reporter’s eye.
- Topic Summary – News Outlet Name – HARO
- Quick Ways to Save Money – NerdWallet – HARO
- Untried Hacks to Frugal Living – MoneyUnder30 – HARO
2. Write an Enthusiastic Greeting
Always use the recipient’s first name in your greeting. It demonstrates your excitement and enthusiasm to be writing to them. Don’t use boring words or phrases that are obviously copy-and-pasted from a generic template.
Starting from the very first sentence, you want to create excitement. Warm up your recipient and recognize their sense of urgency. They may just read what you have to say.
- Hi [REPORTER NAME]!
- Good morning, [REPORTER NAME]!
- Happy Friday, [REPORTER NAME]!
3. Create a Compelling Intro
While your subject line and greeting are meant to hook your reader, it’s your first paragraph that should reel you in. Use this space to explain why your expertise is worth their time over everyone else’s.
It may seem obvious, but be sure to start with your name and the name of your company. Touch upon your accomplishments, especially those that set you apart and support your credibility. For example, if you’ve been featured on Yahoo, MSN, or Forbes, share that information directly.
Sharing other publications or reports you’ve been featured in not only gives you credibility but demonstrates your potential for increasing the popularity of the piece you’ll be featured in should the reporter accept your pitch. Reporters will naturally want to know more about you since other big names have already recognized you.
My name is [YOUR NAME]. I am a [STATE YOUR CREDENTIALS] and [ROLE OF COMPANY/BLOG NAME], a [COMPANY/BLOG] that has been mentioned in [list other media appearances ie. Forbes, Fox Business, GoBankingRates, etc].
I saw your request on HARO and think I have a unique perspective to offer.
4. Answer the Query
Answering the query directly is key to writing a successful HARO pitch. If you don’t answer the query, or the question posed, what reason does the reporter have to choose you over other people pitching?
Not only do you want to demonstrate your enthusiasm, expertise, and credibility, you must demonstrate that you know exactly what the reporter is looking for and how you can provide it for them.
Sometimes, queries will have multiple questions. If they do, be sure to answer all of them. It would be negligent to answer only a few. You never know when one detail is more important to a reporter over another. If you overlook information, they may overlook your answer and move onto reading the pitches of those who have followed the prompt.
While being sure to answer all of the questions, still be mindful of keeping your answers short and to the point. Don’t over exaggerate or inundate the reporter with too many details. Keep it concise, and you’ll increase your chances of being chosen.
5. Provide Information About Yourself and Your Business
This is the part of your pitch where you should brag a little about both yourself and your business. While you’ve briefly mentioned any points to support your credibility nearer the beginning of your pitch, here is where you can give a little more detail about your qualifications. Include any college degrees, notable work, and any other professional accomplishments.
You want reporters to see you as an industry leader, and you can’t do that without bragging a bit. Emphasis on “a bit” here. Try to strike the balance between talking yourself up and staying humble.
The same is true for your business. Talk about its accomplishments, how long it’s been in operation, and mention anything else that would make reporters think you are the right source for their article.
Note that you can politely ask that the reporter includes a link back to your website if you’re chosen. They’re usually happy to do so.
I am [NAME HERE], the owner of [BLOG OR COMPANY NAME], [A BLOG OR COMPANY THAT DISCUSSES….]. Explain here what makes you unique, followed by some social proof like pageviews, Domain Authority, and social media followers.
6. Close It All Up
Summarize your pitch and tie it up by asking the reporter to use you as their source. Reiterate your excitement not only about being chosen but about the article the reporter is writing. Tell them that you’ll share the article across all your social media channels, as well. They’ll like the extra marketing boost they’ll get just for choosing you.
Don’t forget to thank the reporter for their time and mention that you look forward to speaking to them soon.
If possible, we would greatly appreciate giving credit to [BLOG OR COMPANY NAME] with a link to [INSERT LINK HERE].
If you decide to use my response in the article, please let me know when it is published so that I can help promote it across our social media platforms!
Thank you so much for your time and consideration, [INSERT REPORTER NAME].
Other Tips for Writing a HARO Pitch
Writing your HARO pitch is half the battle. We also cover how to handle your HARO account to get the best results.
All HARO pitches have deadlines, and they vary based on the reporter's turnaround. Sometimes, it’s a few hours and other times it’s a few days. Even if the deadline is a few days away, don’t let more than 12 hours go by before sending your pitch. Within a few days, reporters may have already received thousands of pitches and won’t be able to read them all. Be one of the first few to submit your pitch to increase your chances of being chosen as the reporter’s source.
Keep it Clean
Have plenty of white space on your pitch. Don’t try to cram too much information in or make it look overwhelming. Use bullet points, short sentences, and organized paragraphs for easy reading and skimming.
Don’t throw out the first pitch that comes to mind or use a generic introduction and closing. Stand out by spending some time revising your pitch and tailoring it to your recipient. Come up with a unique answer to the query and you’ll be noticed.
Don’t Use a Template
Templates are obvious. Reporters can spot them from a mile away. Tailor your pitch to each situation. If you have a basic template you use, that’s fine, but always edit it to meet each query’s needs. You’ll know where you need to get specific.
Avoid simply cutting-and-pasting. Only changing names and contact information won’t come across as nearly as personal.
Read Queries Closely
Don’t pitch to every query that comes your way. Read through them and make sure they align with your mission and values. Will the mention in the reporter’s article reach your target audience, or is it far-fetched? Save your time for the queries that will benefit both you and the reporter.
Avoid Being ‘Salesy’
There’s a big difference between pitching and selling. You are pitching yourself, not your products. Don’t use it as an opportunity to sell your products or services. Rather, you are pitching the opportunity to help a reporter out, not make them a client.
Make Your Answer Quotable
Make sure your response isn’t too lengthy so the reporter can use it. While they usually won’t use what you say word for word—rather, they’ll take bite-sized pieces—it’s important to make your answer easy to grab snippets from so they can use it without spending too much time editing it.
Don’t Forget Your Backlinks
The whole point of being quoted by a reporter is to get more people to know about your business and visit your site or social accounts. Without backlinks, you won’t get as many visitors. Most people won’t make the effort to search you themselves, so including backlinks makes it easy for them to click directly and learn more.
Limit Your Alerts
It’s great to know when there are opportunities on HARO, but too many opportunities may get overwhelming. Instead, niche down. Sign up for alerts from only the industries that are relevant to and would benefit you and your business. Don’t waste your and reporters’ time if your industries don’t align.
Do niche down, log into HARO using the email they send the requests to and click on “My HARO” in the top right corner.
Then scroll down to “HARO Preferences” and select the niches you'd like to receive.
How to Write a HARO Pitch FAQ
How Long Should a HARO Pitch Take to Write?
Don’t overthink it. Once you get comfortable with HARO, you should be able to submit a pitch in no more than 30 minutes.
Remember, you’re writing about something you’re an expert on. The answer should come easily. If it doesn’t, you may be pitching in response to the wrong query.
How Frequently Should You Receive Queries for HARO Pitches?
HARO sends out queries three times a day, Monday through Friday (except on holidays).
Should You Use Bullet Points in a HARO Pitch?
Yes, bullet points are a great way to get your point across quickly. Reporters can skim over bullet points to see if you have what they want and make a quick decision. This is especially important if they have a fast deadline.
Can You Include Attachments to Your HARO Pitch?
No, never include attachments. Reporters will automatically delete it as it puts them at risk of getting a virus on their computer.
If there is an attachment you'd like to include, such as a headshot, load the image into Google Drive and then share the image with a link in the email.
Are All HARO Queries the Same?
No, which is why it’s so important to read them carefully. Some may want a one-sentence answer to the query. Others want several paragraphs. Still others just want a bio and contact information so they can interview you.
Read the instructions carefully and craft your response according to what they want.
Will All Reporters Tell You if They Chose Your Answer?
Surprisingly, no. The best way to find out if you’ve been quoted is to use Google’s Alert feature. Set up the alert with your name and business name or any other information that would indicate a reporter chose your answer.
While pitching HARO requests takes time it is worth the effort. It's good for your site to get quoted in other publications and you never know who will quote you. Getting a good backlink is always worth the efforts.
Plus you are practicing reaching out and “being an expert” — and it's fun to get quoted!