It happened this month - I landed my 75th HARO article. Squeal!
What Is HARO
When I mention HARO, I am talking about the website www.HelpAReporter.com. It is a free service anyone can subscribe to that delivers emails to your inbox daily. These emails contain lists from reporters who are looking for insight to add to their latest project. From newspaper journalists to authors, these emails could include queries ranging from tech gadget ideas to quotes from everyday people on their personal experience.
You can pay to upgrade the service to tailor to your specific needs, and if you are a journalist who needs source quotes for your own work, you can sign up to share your own queries. But for everyday people like you and me, you can have the service for no charge and find great benefit.
In The Beginning
I first started HARO to try and increase my backlinks out in cyberspace. As a new author, I was quickly learning that I needed to beef up my presence online. I was instantly hooked on seeing my name included in articles. It was great content that I could share to grow my social media audience and it helped to grow my overall feel as an expert.
Before I had been using the service for six months, I landed a piece with the Wall Street Journal that included them paying a photographer to come to my house and photograph my husband and I for the article. We were almost featured on the National News as a result!
To go to the newsstand and pull out a fresh copy of the paper and turn to a full page picture of my husband and I in Elizabeth Bernstein's article was an amazing feeling. It was one to be repeated every once and a while as other pitches landed print articles in Psychology Today and USA Today.
Where critics would say I went wrong was that I pitched to too many different types of queries. I lent my knowledge to pitches that were all over the board, from antique shopping to writing, from productivity to walking my cat on a leash. It all led back to my website, but wasn't always congruent with my main goal as a romance genre author.
So did I waste my time? Of course not. I helped a ton of reporters with their work and had a blast doing it. Most pitches only took a few minutes a day and all of them were honest information that the journalist needed.
Did it 100% help me to target and grow my romance audience? Probably not. That's clearly enough evidenced by my less than astronomical royalty checks! Yet, it still shows my expertise and viability as a source, so don't be stingy on pitching.
Seventy five articles later, I find my overall site gets more traffic for longer periods of time. I get freelance work because of my exposure. I get a wide variety of connections on LinkedIn and Twitter. It's amazing to keep sharing the work I've contributed to and to stay in touch with the reporters. Sometimes, I'm able to help them with other work!
And now that I help others with their websites, I pass on emails to my contacts when I see a HARO that would fit them. (Hey, not everyone can see every query!) A bar/restaurant client is being mentioned in Forbes coming up and it's so exciting. The journey is not nearly as fun alone as when others can come along for the ride.
In the end, regardless of the fact of every single query being 100% matched to your target audience, you should try the service and pitch to anything you feel you can provide benefit to. Backlinks can get under the noses of tons of people in a very short amount of time and you never know how it can click with the reader.
Put yourself out there and volunteer your expertise to journalists. For a free service, it is hard to beat free advertising. It can start a real positive journey of having the source follow you and, through shares and tweets and posts, keep the viability of the information exposing your name and link to people over and over.
When it comes to reaching out, as in the case of Molly Beck, it's helped build great new network leads and put me out there.
So, big thanks to #HARO for the opportunity to get my backlinks growing - helping out with these articles has been SO fun! You can check out my list HERE on the website.
If you have landed a HARO pitch, share it - just tweet me about it @aully1 and I'll share it!