How does this sound?

A platform that…

  • Connects you with top journalists. You can pitch your business and get mentioned in top publications, leading to high domain authority backlinks and media coverage. 
  • Stands the test of time. Has been around since 2009 and is still going strong.
  • It’s free or low-cost. You get daily opportunities straight to your inbox without paying a dime. Which means acquiring links at low cost.

Too good to be true?

It’s not.

This platform exists and it’s called HARO.

TLG has been providing HARO link building services since late 2020, and we have built just under 1,000 links to date, specifically via HARO and similar reactive PR platforms. 

We’ve used these tactics with clients ranging from industries like MarTech, SaaS, real estate, entertainment, eCommerce, logistics and the food industry. 

Placements have been secured in sites like Business Insider, Forbes, The Kitchn, Bustle, ASI, Calendly and Hubspot, to name a few.

In today’s guide, we’ll cover how it works, why you should be using HARO link building in tandem with other link building strategies, and offer step-by-step instructions on how to use it for link building.

We’ll start with the basics of how HARO works, we’ll go into the factors that determine HARO success, and what a truly effective HARO service should look like.

What is HARO?

HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. It’s a free service that connects journalists with experts in the field. 

Every day, you get three emails featuring story requests from journalists across different industries.

By sending HARO query submissions to these journalists, you can get featured in authoritative media outlets.

Basically, you subscribe to the service and HARO sends you daily emails with pre-vetted opportunities that could be relevant to your business.

These opportunities can be anything from a simple link drop and soundbite on news sites, or in some cases, a live interview for either TV, radio, or print.

The idea is it’s a win win situation, with both the journalist getting help with their upcoming article, and the source getting some free media coverage. 

Where it stands apart from your standard outreach link building

  • Generally speaking they are going to be quite high authority sites. Many of the major publications are on here like New York Times, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. So there are some really great links up for grabs here. 
  • HARO’s rules means that you won’t get asked to pay for any links. We’ve found bloggers still asking for products – that is a trickier area, but that’s covered in their rules as well. 
  • Link swaps are also not encouraged.
  • When you’re dealing with a media outlet, they’re under no obligation to give you a link, and they may only give you a brand mention or no follow links. This is part and parcel of the platform, and this is one downside when you compare against other link building methods. 
  • As we said, there are going to be some large media sites here, so you’ll see some pretty high authority ( whether you use Domain Rating or Domain Authority ) links here. 
  • If you’re in a niche area, this is especially good if you’re focusing on highly relevant opportunities, in order to get just the right links on specific types of publications. For example, there are editorial sites in the food & drink industry, travel, finance and even some SEO industry brands appear.  

Update in March 2024: HARO rebranding to Connectively

It was announced that the free HARO newsletter would be stopped, and the platform will move to Connectively from the 2nd April 2024. 

Connectively operates more like an online platform which centralizes the query sending. I.e. you answer queries within it, and this goes to the journalists account on the other end. 

Pricing model of Connectively

Where the game does change, is the fact that you can only pitch 5 queries per month for free. Beyond that, you have to buy a subscription or pay-as-you-go credits. 

Pricing as of April 2024

This is most likely as a result of the low quality, and mass AI-generated queries which turned off a lot of journalists in the past year. By doing this, it will raise standards in terms of pitch quality, and probably filter out a lot of the spammers that are drowning out the decent pitches!

Simplified Formatting

Since Connectively will not involve using your email platform there will be certain formatting aspects that don’t apply. On testing, it doesn’t seem like you can bold or underline words anymore. You can use bullet points, only if you paste it from a Word processor like Microsoft Word. 

Streamlined Pitching

In the Connectively platform, they’ve made it very straightforward to pitch. You can simply browse through all the queries and click to pitch them. 

HARO’s network provides you with a simple way to get valuable links.

Of course, HARO backlinks = more high authority link opportunities = higher SEO performance

But HARO link building isn’t just going to be about the links.

HARO gives a unique opportunity to increase your brand exposure and get featured in top publications.

It’s also a great way to build relationships with key journalists who may be interested in covering your business someday.

Heck, you may even make business-changing connections.

For instance, take a look at this screenshot:

HARO outreach led to connection with one of Mark Cuban's business partner

A while back, I pitched a journalist through HARO, which led to a connection with one of Mark Cuban’s business partners.

This isn’t something you’d get from your standard outreach email.

And that’s the true power of HARO. HARO emails can lead to so much more than just getting a link. 

Some other benefits of using HARO include:

Access to a Wide Network of Journalists and Influencers

HARO’s network includes over 75,000 journalists and bloggers, and over 1 million sources. It is a pretty large pool of journalists you can connect with, which would otherwise be pretty hard to do outside of the platform, and better yet, you can be confident that these journalists actually need help with their articles. Compare this with cold emailing journalists, and your success rate should be much higher. 

It is also free (at time of writing until it moves completely to Connectively), so there’s no need to buy any of those super expensive PR databases like CISION or Roxhill, which cost several thousand dollars a year.

Daily Emails in Almost Real-time

No matter what you’re looking to promote, there are opportunities every single day. You just need to look for the most relevant queries.

A significant number of these HARO requests are set up to be fulfilled on the same day or within a matter of only a week. This means you can get responses in a matter of hours, or at least just be confident that anything you do answer, should lead to links within a matter of weeks. 

Just bear in mind that if you are successful, it won’t go live straightaway, and sometimes the journalist may not inform you that they’re using your soundbite. 

Referral traffic

Technically a benefit of all links, but the ability to get more referral traffic is even more pronounced considering how big some of these publications are. If you get on the right industry roundup, it could drive a serious amount of traffic, and even sales. Really good if you’re an ecommerce brand and you get on one of the “best of” roundups, as they’ll keep updating it every year and you might even pick up some seasonal organic traffic due to their article’s own search engine results. 

Brand Awareness & Recognition

Due to how large many of the media opportunities are, you can also benefit from the brand awareness and recognition you can get from it. Especially if the links are in industry relevant publications, people may remember your brand if they just happen to be reading the article. 

Here’s one example of a link on Upcity, on “56% Of Digital Marketers Have Been Negatively Impacted By Google Updates: Survey”. Not a media outlet, but they are a company that connects businesses to service providers. For us, its a really good mention as we may have a potential client reading that article about Google Updates, and what I said there may resonate with them. 

Backlink to TheLinksGuy from Upcity

In fact, we had a client sign up with us, just because they were reading an article and saw one of my soundbites in another article we were mentioned in. That led to us working together for over 3 years, so that definitely made doing HARO worthwhile!

Authority and Improved Rankings

Last but not least, there is of course the link equity you get from these links. Now sometimes with the top tier media outlets like Forbes, they have a hard rule of only giving nofollow links. Regardless, those links will still have some SEO benefit, and you can still get dofollow links with some publications as well. 

HARO links do tend to be homepage links most of the time (unless there is a particularly compelling reason for them to link to a blog post and its highly relevant to the piece they’re writing), but it is still going to have some trickle down effect as long as you setup the correct internal linking on your website. 

And these kinds of links will help with your overall domain authority. The more of these high authority, prestigious links you can get, the easier it’ll be later to rank for certain terms. 

The Results We Have Driven With HARO Link Building 

As a result of being able to leverage tactics like HARO, we have been able to accelerate the results of a number of projects. 

Here’s one example for the client, Mojomox. We offered a holistic link building service, which included HARO/PR platforms as a tactic, which made up around 90 of those links from mid 2021 to late 2022. 

  • This was a very new site so we can see this influx of high quality links helped push overall authority, and took it from a small handful of traffic (less than 100 per month), to over 3,500 per month (actual numbers are even higher)
  • Domain authority (visualized here as DR), dramatically increased in this time, due to the authority level of the links gained. A very marked increase which has stayed with the website in the long term and continued to support results.

Here’s another client in the marketing space. We exclusively just did HARO/PR pitching and secured a small number of links, but this again,had a pronounced increase.

  • We built these links in late 2021, and the client redesigned their website and redirected the domain to a new domain. But, as we can see, this took the site from maybe 50 visitors a month, to over 2,000.
  • This helped them secure very valuable keywords in their space. As you can see, this had an organic traffic value of over $9,000. Here’s just a few of the keywords (including featured snippets) they had at their peak.
  • However, they didn’t do any further link building work after our campaign finished, and results later stagnated and dropped off, which is a shame. They were also overtaken by other agencies and martech brands during that time. However, had they continued to maintain link building in some form, I predict they could have at least maintained this, or compounded results further.

How To Get Started With HARO

Now that you understand what HARO is and why you should be using it, let’s dig into the meat of this guide on HARO link building. 

Being specific, we’ll teach you how to set up your HARO profile, send the perfect HARO pitch, and land your first backlink.

Step 1: Create a HARO “Source” Account

HARO offers two types of subscription:

  • Journalist
  • Source

For this guide, you should create a “Source” account. This will allow you to receive opportunities and send a pitch submission directly to journalists.

To create your account, head over to helpareporter.com and click “Sign Up” at the top right corner of the screen:

HARO will then walk you through a 3-minute setup process involving syncing your email and filling out your personal information.

There is a paid version of HARO you can sign up for, but most find the free version to be sufficient. 

UPDATE: As shared earlier, HARO has developed a new service called Connectively. Connectively, will essentially be the same queries that you already get as part of the HARO service, but in an easy-to-use platform, where you can click through the list of queries and pitch inside the platform. This should streamline the process a bit more. 

Connectively from HARO

Step 2:  Develop a Solid Profile

Your profile will play a crucial role in getting responses from journalists.

Think about it:

If you were a journalist looking to fill an interview or article, would you respond to someone with a generic profile? Or would you scroll past it and continue searching for a better opportunity?

To increase your chances of getting responses, you need to make a solid first impression with your profile.

Here are some things you should consider:

  • Headshot: Make sure you have a professional headshot. Even things like that may sway certain journalists. I’d recommend linking to a Google Drive or a page on your site with your headshot, rather than sending it as an attachment. 
  • Bio: Add a brief bio that identifies you and your expertise. Make sure it’s clear, concise, and compelling enough to grab the journalist’s attention and get them excited about the opportunity. 
  • Links: if applicable, link to your socials, LinkedIn, website URL, and whatever else which is going to help the journalist understand more about your expertise and authority. This is especially important when it comes to specialist queries. 
  • Qualifications: If you’ve been featured in good places, spoken at certain events, or have certain professional qualifications relevant to the query –  include it in your signature. That may be of interest to journalists and help them determine credentials.
Example of what a rock solid profile for HARO outreach looks like

(An example of how an email signature could look, if you want to keep it free of excessive images for deliverability purposes)

Note: while you can still use an email signature when you respond to email from journalists, because of the introduction of the Connectively platform, you won’t have the benefit of an email signature. But what you do have, is the ability to build out your author profile on the platform.

Here’s how it would look: 

Amit Raj's author profile on Connectively

The bio within your author profile is a particularly important place where you can talk about your expertise and background.

At the end of the day, you want to make yourself look as valuable as possible, because journalists take notice of the small details. 

Step 3: Subscribe to the Right Lists

Now that you have your profile set up, it’s time to search for the best opportunities.

HARO has multiple lists you can subscribe to.

Under “HARO preferences,” simply select the categories that most accurately describe you and your interests. 

If you want to just get the entire list in one email, rather than get all the individual ones as well, just select “Master HARO”. 

Master HARO

Once you’re done, click the “update” button. 

And that’s pretty much the thick of it.

Each day, you’ll get three daily emails with a list of opportunities, broken down by location and industry.

With Connectively, you won’t have different newsletters, but you will have the ability to filter for the specific queries as shown here:

Filter for specific topics in Connectively

Now the question becomes: What should you say once you pitch the journalist?

In the following section, we’ll explore a few ideas for crafting for the perfect pitch.

How To Write the Perfect HARO Pitch

Here’s the hard truth: Anyone with half a brain can create a HARO or Connectively account, but not everyone can craft a compelling pitch that can end in a HARO link. 

Here’s where most people fail.

They rush to send their pitch before seriously considering the journalist’s preferences. They copy and paste generic emails that don’t stand out.

Please, don’t be that guy.

If you want to get serious results with HARO, you should customize each message.

Let’s walk through this journey together.

Step 1: Focus on Providing Real Value, Instead of Just Spamming Your Link

Journalists are busy.

They’re looking for sources that can provide value to their readership, not someone who’s just looking to get a backlink from their website.

Before you send your pitch, brainstorm ideas that can help the journalist.

Instead of giving generic, plain advice, you should provide an answer that truly demonstrates your expertise.

How?

Here are some ideas:

  • Show concrete examples: Research past articles they’ve written on the subject. Provide concrete examples that can strengthen their case and provide real value to their audience.
  • Use personal stories: If you have any firsthand experience to share, don’t be afraid to inject it into your pitch. That can go a long way in establishing credibility.
  • Offer a unique perspective: Journalists love it when sources provide fresh insight. If you have a unique perspective to share, try leveraging it.
  • Use proof: Use case studies, statistics, and data to back up your pitch. Not only is that a great way to prove how useful your insight can be, but often, it will help you stand out from the noise.

The point is, you need to offer VALUE.

Think about the journalist’s needs and what the intended reader would need, not your own. 

Here’s an example of one such query we sent during the pandemic. 

We got a HARO link for a logistics company, on a procurement SaaS product called Tradogram who needed sources for an article discussing how supply chains can navigate the challenges of COVID. 

For something like this, it’s extremely important to be specific and show expertise – generic advice or something pulled off the first page of Google isn’t going to cut it. While its a modest site at only DA 36, it is a highly relevant link, being in the procurement sector, linking to a client in the logistics industry. 

highly relevant backlink from procurement sector

There wasn’t really a lot of info out there at the time, on what supply chains could do to mitigate against the pressure of the pandemic. 

By chance, it was a point that was mentioned during a client meeting not long before we pitched this. 

So the more you can stand out, by offering very specific, nuanced advice –  the more effective your outreach will be. 

Step 2: Be Simple and to the Point

Journalists are drowning.

They have an unending list of emails to reply to and deadlines to meet. When they’re publishing a new query on HARO, it often means the article’s deadline is coming up imminently, and they need sources ASAP.

The last thing they want to do is read a long-winded email they’re destined to ignore.

Simple messages will always win the day, so keep your HARO pitch concise.

In your pitch, include a few lines about why you’re a valuable source and how your answer can add value.

Then, present your answer to their query in a way where they can easily skim-read it. If they answered several questions, and it does end up being a lengthy answer – you should be answering each in turn, and if needed, separated into subheadings and bullet points. But, conciseness becomes even more crucial with there being a lot of text to go through. 

Remember, the journalist needs to literally be able to copy and paste any part of your answer, and use it as a soundbite in their article – that should be your aim. 

And if you achieve all this within your email, you can provide your expertise and establish credibility without taking up too much of the journalist’s time.

At the same time though, don’t cut out too much info, in an effort to be more concise – because as per Step 1, you also want to provide value, and you need to stand out as well. 

Here’s an example of a pitch which perhaps could have been made a bit more concise – but it involved me telling a bit about my entire backstory and how I ended up changing careers when I was younger. 

A writer at BestColleges.com was writing an article called “Is It Time to Change Careers?” and I pitched him about how I ended up as a link building consultant.

Pitching to a writing at BestColleges.com

I’ve put a box round the main meat of the email which is the backstory. 

I probably waffled on a bit too long, but I was pretty certain this was a unique story, because it’s quite a large jump in terms of career and it hit several notes on the reason for switching careers- which is probably exactly the type of story he was looking for. 

He reached out for  a couple of clarifications – to which I answered and it was then published shortly after. 

Questions asked by the writer at BestColleges.com

And the differences you can tell here is that while I gave Evan a pretty complex backstory, it made for interesting reading, so much so – that it took up a large portion of the article.  

Step 3: Use the “5W” Framework

Journalists are trained to ask questions.

A lot of them do it throughout their articles, but they do it especially when they reach out to a source.

In your HARO pitches, you should try to include answers to the five W’s where applicable:

  • Who are you?
  • Why should we trust you?
  • What is your expertise and personal experience in this field?
  • What was the outcome of your solution?
  • When did you achieve your solution?

This is a simple formula to provide value, establish credibility, and inspire confidence from the journalist.

Now some HARO queries aren’t specifically about something you (or your expert persona) did and more about your expertise. But it’s good to keep this framework in mind. 

Besides, most pitches probably lack context, so it’s nice to have a little backstory. 

Step 4: Pay Attention to Your Grammar, Style, and Tone

Remember; you’re reaching out to a journalist, not your best friend.

Journalists are very picky about language and grammar.

If you want to stand out, your pitch should be as perfect as possible.

Don’t make this too complicated; keep it simple and do the best you can. Otherwise, the journalist might think you’re not worth responding to.

And on that note, this almost goes without saying, but make sure you pay attention to the journalist’s name.

Most journalists prefer to be called by their first name, so address them that way!

Other important things you should pay attention to include:

  • Use enough blank space: Make your pitch scannable and readable. If you pack in a ton of text, the journalist will probably feel overwhelmed and ignore it.
  • Avoid any fluff: Don’t be afraid to get straight to the point.
  • Catchy subject line: Many link builders make the mistake of only sticking to the title of the query as the subject line or just writing something like HARO Pitch. As with any type of outreach, getting the link starts with getting their attention in the first place. So keep the subject line short, and to the point – but try to find a way of summarizing who you are/what your pitch is about, and relate it to their pitch. 
  • Keep your pitch under three to four paragraphs: This keeps you from going too in-depth and scaring the journalist off. Exceptions are queries with a lot of questions which require technical depth. In which case make sure it’s easy to read and certain parts are bolded, bulleted, in paragraphs and/or in subheadings. 
  • Use a conversational tone: You should sound educational, but not preachy or dry. Be simple and straightforward.
  • Avoid jargon: People who understand your industry’s unique vocabulary will get it, but there’s no need to use it in a pitch. One exception might be in the case of very niche publications or editors running a business blog in that industry. In those rare cases, you can use some of the industry lingo and probably get away with it. 

Here’s an example of a pitch we sent to a query about smoke detectors, on behalf of a home building client. 

Pitch sent by TLG on behalf of home building client

As you can see they had a number of questions and it was going to be lengthy, but we made sure to use headings and good formatting, so they could read it and digest the info easily. 

The query title was  “Smart Kitchen Appliances – What to Consider”, and we’ve used the subject line

“Turnkey home provider on smart kitchen appliances”

Not trying to be too clever with the subject line, but it should get the attention of a journalist who is probably being pitched by all sorts of sources, and I’d expect especially by a lot of these small home and garden niche blogs. 

We sound credible and worthy of being listened to from the get-go, and being a company that actually builds homes that are ready to be moved into –  they most likely will expect us to be on top of the latest appliances and pretty well informed.

At this point, you already understand the basics of HARO link building. Now let’s explore a few best practices to get the most out of it:

1) Look for the Most Appropriate Team Member

If there’s a more qualified person on your team to answer a particular question, hand them your pitch.

That person will have a better idea of how to phrase things and could provide a fresh perspective.

This is especially important if you’re pitching something outside your area of expertise.

Besides, it’s a great way to delegate, so everyone on your team becomes a valuable link building resource.

Let’s say you’re a mattress company, but you have an MD who advises your company. You may want to get their help pitching queries discussing sleep hygiene/sleep health topics, and especially when it comes to health-related HARO queries, you will find they’ll favor pitches from sources with a medical background. 

2) Use HARO for More Than Just Outreach

HARO isn’t just a tool for creating backlinks.

It’s also a great way to build relationships with journalists.

They might become future sources, or you might even work with them to publish your guest posts.

You can also use HARO for competitive analysis.

If you keep an eye on the news, you might be able to find interesting opportunities before anybody else can.

You could see a gap in the market and provide your knowledge as an expert.

Perhaps there’s a new competitor who’s stealing your market share. You can use HARO to find sources and gather information about what they’re doing right, and wrong.

The point is that HARO can be used in a lot of different ways.

Imagine that you’re an accountant who specializes in running small businesses.

There are probably journalists who would love to interview an expert like yourself, but they don’t know how to get in touch.

By using HARO, you’re exposing yourself to a whole new audience.

3) Use This Simple, yet Powerful SEO Trick

Most of the time, the anchor text of your link will be either your brand name or your home page.

Still, you could mention your keyword (or something closely related to your keyword) within your quote or as close to your link as possible.

This will have a slight weighting on the link and might affect your rankings for that keyword.

It could give you that little push you need to get to the top of the SERPs.

Here’s an example of a HARO win where I had incorporated a keyword into my job title. But it’s probably a bit more subtle to use your keyword within the quote itself. 

Example of a backlink acquired using HARO

4) Watch Out for Low Quality Publications

There are some people using the platform where it may prove to be a waste of time answering their query. Some of the things to watch out for include:

  • Bait and switch: Some people say that they’re writing for one publication, but when you answer and get a live link, it’s actually a completely different site – often a really small blog with really low traffic or authority. 
  • Asking for payment: HARO actually has a policy where journalists using the platform should not be asking for money. Generally speaking this doesn’t happen much, but on occasion, you may find someone asking for payment. In my experience, it tends to be people running small blogs that do this. 
  • Asking for link exchange: You may be ok with this, but this is aso against HARO’s rules. They shouldn’t be asking for “link swaps” and it should only be one way linking. This can be a hassle, and you are already providing value because you have a thoughtfully written soundbite. 
  • Asking for product: There are a set of rules on HARO about this. The product can’t total more than a certain amount, the reporter has to confirm receipt within one month of shipment etc. These are rules designed more for the journalists side, but its worth remembering that you sometimes see people running very small blogs, asking for product requests. Make sure to do your due diligence and decide if its actually worth sending a product considering the size of the blog. 
  • Link farms: yes, even on platforms like HARO you’ll find link farms! Even though they haven’t asked for payment, we have seen links go live on sites where there is barely any traffic, and the site owner is just trying to build up loads of content. If you’re working with an agency doing HARO link building, just make sure you don’t get fleeced with these types of links. A link and soundbite on a site which is only getting 50 visitors a month won’t really be much use.

5) Find Alternative Methods

There are other platforms you can use other than HARO. 

We’ll probably cover them in more detail in another article, but by being resourceful and pitching journalists who are on those other platforms, you can increase the chances of finding more relevant ones to pitch, and therefore securing more links. 

Especially when you want to build the most contextual links possible – you need to diversify as much as possible. 

At The Links Guy, this is why we don’t offer HARO as a standalone service, but as a single facet of a more holistic link building service. 

We also leverage platforms and media lists such as (but not limited to):

  • Qwoted
  • JournoLink
  • Source Bottle
  • Featured (formerly Terkel) 
  • Twitter (by searching through hashtags and journalist tweets)
  • Help a B2B writer

This can help supplement the queries you’re finding on HARO and can really give you an edge when you need niche or geographical relevance. 

For instance, if you’re a UK-based company for instance, you’ll tend to find more UK opportunities on JournoLink and Qwoted. While on Terkel, instead of it being dominated by media publications, you’ll find a lot of businesses with blogs, a few private universities and we’ve even been able to secure links on sites like Calendly and organizations like the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC). 

Twitter is particularly good for when you have very specific stories or publications you’re trying to get on, and aside from the usual #journorequest type hashtags, you can also run searches for things like:

“I’m looking to speak to” + keyword

Or some variations of this phrase. 

If you have specific journalists that cover a beat related to your company, it’s also worth keeping an eye out to see  if they;re requesting help with an upcoming article. They may not be using HARO, but this can sometimes be a sign that they are struggling with source – and that’s where you can come in. 

Even if not actively asking for helping, if you network enough and connect with enough journalists, some opportunities may come your way. For instance, I saw the journalist tweet something and a client came to mind. 

Using Twitter as an alternative to HARO

After taking this over to email, and segueing into the idea she reminded me of, she found it really interesting, and we ended up securing a feature in The Metro, for a client in a very hard niche. 

4 Reasons Why TLG Could Be The Best HARO Link Building Agency For You?

Focus on Relevancy

We want to take a balanced approach to building links. We want to go for links with good authority, and sometimes you have to niche-up from your industry, in order to have enough queries to pitch. 

For instance, we have a client in the home building sector, and we would want to pitch them on publications related to home and gardens, property, real estate, finance and retirement.

What we don’t want to do is stretch the relevance, and fill up the report with random publications in food and health, just because we found it on HARO. 

This is where the other arm of our team comes into play, and can supplement these HARO links, with links via other techniques like guest posting and resource links. 

This is where you’ll find we have a major advantage over the HARO link building service specialists out there, because we have that flexibility, and expertise in the team. 

Diverse Experience & Expertise

Our team has a very diverse exposure when it comes to the industries we’ve built links for. We have also dealt across several regions, and we even hire from worldwide as well. 

I truly believe this diversity has been instrumental in allowing everyone in our team to expand their thinking and ability to stretch their creativity. 

This also reflects in the experience we have with HARO. if you’re in a particularly niche industry or need someone that can give you an edge, and help you get the links that other agencies or freelancers would struggle to get – thats where TLG can help. 

We have built several hundreds of links using HARO alone, and have built thousands of relevant links using other techniques. 

Everything from highly technical fields like infosec, logistics and E2E testing, to B2C clients in the seafood sector, online games and health & fitness.

Speed & Systems

Speed is really of the essence when it comes to pitching these queries due to the deadlies and time constraints associated with HARO. These journalists will be expecting fast responses once they send the request out, and especially if they email you for more info. 

If you’re not fast you’re last!

We have systems in place to ensure we can keep on top of HARO queries and replies from journalists, and our entire team always works to predefined shift times. 

Unlike other agencies or freelancers who may operate a completely open freelance/flexible work shift, we know this won’t work, if you want to get the best links and especially, if you’re trying to maximize your chances of getting HARO links. 

We have your best interests at heart, and want to ensure you get those valuable links. 

Journalists don’t always inform us when links go live as well, however, we are always constantly monitoring things to ensure we don’t miss anything. If they forgot to include a link, they linked to your socials instead, or the link was tagged as a nofollow link – we’ll reach back out and do whatever we can to turn that into a dofollow link to your website, so you can get best use out of it. 

Our backlink qualification criteria, also means we won’t try to pass off duplicate or syndicated links as additional wins to fill up the report. Once we get a link on a publication, any additional links we get there are just gravy.

Relationship Building – Going Above & Beyond

It doesn’t just end simply with a HARO link. 

We maintain a carefully curated internal database as well, to ensure that once we have had a positive relationship develop with any contact, that it can be leveraged later. 

Be it, a link in another publication that they’re writing for, or anything else we feel will help your business in another way. 


As shown before, we successfully managed to turn a HARO pitch into an actual real connection for one of our clients, with Mark Cuban’s team. 

We have even had outreach emails eventually develop into podcast appearances, speaking engagements and a placement in print media. 

Common Mistakes People Make

We’ve discussed some of this before, but there are some common misconceptions, and mistakes people make when approaching HARO. 

Main things to watch out for:

  • Poorly written query: There are so many elements to this, but the advice we covered earlier sheds light on everything you need to keep in mind to heighten your chances of being accepted. Poor formatting, rambling for too long, or sending emails with a lack of depth are some of the common things that can make an answer inadequate for the journalist. 
  • Being overly promotional: Unless your business and what it does is important to the query you’re answering, don’t seek to make every answer an opportunity to promote yourself! Often the journalist doesn’t really care about your business and how wonderful it is – they want to know about you/the person providing the soundbite, and what value they can provide to the piece they’re writing. 
  • Spray and pray / AI writing: To some extent it is a volume game. However, there is a point of diminishing returns. If you send out so many queries that you only make it about the numbers, you won’t get any decent links. The quality of the emails you’re sending will inevitably deteriorate and it’ll lack value and depth – which will impact your results. Another pet peeve of many journalists is people using AI to answer HARO queries. Honestly speaking, they’ll know it’s written with AI! AI writing often lacks depth, it isn’t always factually accurate, has a tendency to not be concise and often, is lacking in personality. In fact one journalist wrote about this experience on Insider, where a supposed cancer survivor responded to a HARO query, and they quickly found out that they weren’t real, and it was AI generated. 

Both these approaches only serve to turn your HARO writing efforts into “HARO spamming” and won’t be of any use to either party. Choose quality over quantity. 

Your Turn!

HARO is a great way to get in touch with journalists and build backlinks.

Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it.

The next step is to refine your pitch and start building a list of media contacts who might be interested in what you have to say.

Remember that your pitch is the key to success.

It should be personalized, concise, and interesting.

You often don’t need to do anything fancy, just get straight to the point so you don’t overwhelm the journalist.

Once you’ve got that down, you’ll be “HAROing” the big guys in no time.

What is HARO in link building?

HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. HARO is a service ran by CISION, which connects journalists with sources who can answer queries. By being the source of information for those queries, you will be quoted and will often be credited with a backlink to your website. 

Is HARO good for link building?

HARO is a highly effective tactic if you’re trying to build links on high quality, reputable websites. Due to how large some of the publications on HARO are, this tactic is useful if you want to build your overall authority. 

What are the benefits of HARO link building?

It is effective for driving link equity due to the size of the publications you may get a link on, it can drive referral traffic because those sites are only quite high traffic, and it can build brand awareness. 

What is the success rate of HARO?

The success rate can really vary depending on your niche, your expertise/qualifications and how specific you are about what you answer. But, you should at least be getting a 5% success rate on average. Once you’ve been doing it for a while, you should be reaching more like 7.5% to 10% success rate. 

We have also seen some writers reach 15% or higher with some projects. However, that generally happens when we’re dealing with a niche like finance or healthcare, and we are able to leverage a highly qualified person’s credentials. 

With the introduction of Connectively, we are closely monitoring the situation, but at TLG we believe in 2024 this should then have a platform-wide effect in 3 areas:

  • The people who can afford to run Connectively, we should expect to be sending higher quality pitches as they are having to invest money in, and less people doing high volume “spamming” as the spray and pray approach will become so costly that there’s no ROI.
  • Many freelancers and one-man bands won’t be able to pitch as much which also cuts out a lot of the low quality pitching out there.
  • Due to the reduction in people pitching, journalists have a smaller pool of pitches to pick from. 

Too early to say, but average success rates should start to increase going into Q2 2024.

Does Google allow buying HARO backlinks?

You can’t directly buy HARO links, since this is against the rules of HARO/CISION. HARO links by their very essence are “free”. However, you can pay an agency like TLG, to do HARO link building for you. 

Paying for backlinks at all, is of course against Google’s guidelines, but there are no rules against hiring an agency to do link building.