How To Use HARO To Score DR90+ Links And Brand Mentions

by Jason Smit

What is HARO?

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform that connects journalists looking for expert insight that they can include in their articles, with sources looking to share their knowledge.

Every week day (Monday-Friday), HARO sends out three email notifications that consist of requests for information from journalists. The email notifications are sent at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. EST.

Sources (or experts) can then pitch directly to these requests, and if a journalist uses a pitch they often quote or link back to a source.

As you can imagine, it's a great way to get brand mentions and links from some of the world's top media publications.

TL;DR: Jump to our case study with pitch examples and results.

Interested in done-for-you HARO outreach? Check out our HARO link building service (we're cheaper and better than doing it yourself).


How to get started on HARO?

Getting set up on HARO is simple and takes just 2 minutes. 

First you need to sign-up as a source here.

You'll need to enter a few basic details about yourself and your business. You'll also need to ensure that you follow their source rules.

Once in your dashboard, you can specify which category of email notifications you want to receive. The default notification email is called Master HARO and consists of all requests across all categories. 

For many people, the Master notification can be overwhelming as on average there are around 70 requests per notification and these cover multiple categories (i.e. Business and Finance, Lifestyle, Health, Technology, Travel).

If you are only interested in a few specific categories, then you can select these in your dashboard to avoid being inundated with requests.


How to succeed on HARO

In our experience, success using HARO boils down to three simple ingredients.

Pitching quickly

Everyone using HARO receives the same notification requests at the same time.

So it's a level playing field. 

The key is to respond with a pitch quickly.

Some requests receive over 200 pitches, which means if you're slow off the starting blocks, your pitch will be buried somewhere at the bottom of a journalists inbox and will never see the light of day.

Getting a pitch sent within an hour of receiving the HARO request notification is in our opinion critical.

We understand for many people that's just not possible, and it's why we offer our HARO outreach service for clients, so they can get on with running their business whilst we take care of their link building efforts.

Valuable and relevant insight

Journalists are busy people. They have tight deadlines to meet and can't waste time scouring through fluff to uncover unique insight that is relevant to their article.

The pitch you send to a journalist needs to make their life easy.

It needs to:

  1. Demonstrate that you have genuine expertise 
  2. Be relevant to the article they're writing 
  3. Include a quotable soundbite that is insightful.

Mess-up any one of these three things and your pitch will probably fall on deaf ears.

Top Tip

Pitches should be no more than 200-300 words. More than this and you're waffling. Less, and there's not enough meat on the bone.

Be consistent

You can' expect to have success with HARO by only pitching a few times a month.

In our experience, if you nail the first two points above, then you can expect to score a link or brand mention 3-5% of the time. That means you need to pitch at least 20 times to guarantee 1 link.

Case Study: HARO in action

In 2020 we started working with the adventures travel company, Mountain IQ.

To date, our team at Contentellect have sent 137 pitches and scored 7 solid links.

Here are a few of the pitches and results...

The Washington Post (DR93)


And the result... (see the full article here)


USA Today (DR92)


And the result... (see the full article here)


Bustle (DR89)


And the result... (see the full article here)


World Nomads (DR79)


And the result... (see the full article here)



There are a few common questions many people ask about HARO, so to help out here are some FAQs.

Is HARO a good link building strategy for SEO?

HARO is amazing for link building and SEO. Most of the requests on HARO are from major publications with domain ratings north of 70. To score a link on a genuine DR70+ website is very difficult and expensive, so HARO opens that door at a fraction of the cost (especially if you decide to do the pitching yourself).

Are links on HARO dofollow?

There is no guarantee that a link scored via HARO will be dofollow. In fact, many publications default links to nofollow. That being said, I would take a nofollow link from a major publication over a dofollow link from a no-name brand publication any day.

Can I choose where my links points to and the anchor text?

No. Once you pitch to a journalist you have no control over where or how they might link to you. In general most links are placed on a brand name anchor and point to the source's homepage.

I know what you're thinking... I'll just specify in my pitch where I want a link to point and perhaps suggest an anchor.

Definitely don't do that. Journalists just want unique and relevant insight. They don't want to be pitched with a blatant link request.

What offer benefit is there to HARO?

Beyond SEO, the biggest benefit is PR coverage. The kudos of getting featured in major publications are great for social proof, pitch desks for funding and potentially referral traffic.

Jason Smit

Jason Smit is the CEO of Contentellect and believes that marketing success lies at the intersection of great content and quality links. With 15 years spent in agency environments, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Media and Performics, his experience is distilled into Contentellect's service offering. He holds a B.Com Marketing from the University of Cape Town and a PGDip. in Entrepreneurship.

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