Using HARO

What is harder for you as a business owner or blogger: coming up with new content ideas, or reaching influencers? Neither of them are easy, especially when you’re depending on the results. What if I told you there’s a place where you can do both? It’s called HARO and it stands for “Help a Reporter Out.”

This platform is primarily used to connect journalists with experts, but it has even more uses than that. Today I’m going to show you two unique methods for using HARO as a means of not only finding great (and relevant) content ideas, but also as platform for connecting with influencers in your industry.

Method #1: Using HARO as a Source of Content Inspiration

When you reach the HARO website, you’re given two choices: you can be a “source” or you can be a “journalist.” Choosing each one offers a different perspective on the platform. For our first method, we’re going to sign up as a source.

You’ll be able to choose the topics that you’re an expert in based on your industry, field, or niche. Before you dive into this first method, make sure you have these things in place before pursuing either of these methods:

  • A working email address that you check regularly.
  • You’ve started a blog or website and gotten it off the ground.
  • You have a profiles on social media for your business/blog.

You’ll need these three things for either of today’s methods, otherwise you won’t have a platform to use the awesome information and opportunities HARO will provide for you. Once you’ve signed up for HARO as a source, we can begin:

Step One: Check Your Email Daily
Once you’ve signed up as a source, you’ll start to receive emails from HARO. These emails contain proposals written by real journalists who need sources for their story. You can absolutely jump in and help them out, but when the dust settles, you’re ready for step two.

Step Two: Use the Questions and Topic You Received
If you don’t make it in time to submit to the proposals you see, keep the ones that are of interest to you and your audience. I recommend saving them in a spreadsheet which you can use as your storage for content ideas.

These ideas are perfect for your content marketing efforts. When you stop to think about it, these proposals you’re storing are giving you concepts that people are interested in. Obviously you can’t directly take these ideas, but you can use these concepts as raw topics that your audience would be interested in.

Once you’ve built up some great ideas, you can narrow down those concepts into actual content for your website or blog.

Step Three: Narrow Down Your Topics
Now it’s time to take this raw inspiration and turn it into something you can use. Let’s assume that you’re someone or a company that promotes healthy diets and you’ve been inspired by a topic you saw about raw food diets.

You have people on your team that are experts on the subject, but you need to know if this is a topic that people are actively discussing before you greenlight a post on it. This is where a tool like Buzzsumo comes in handy.

I can go here and type in my topic: raw food diet and see if there are articles on the subject, or something similar that are getting shares on social media.

Take a look:
Step Four: Make Magic Happen
Awesome, so this is clearly something people are talking about. Whether you want to put a positive spin on the subject is up to you and your team of experts.

Either way, you’ve managed to create an entirely new topic that you know is popular based solely on your sourcing proposals from HARO and your additional research into topics surrounding that concept.

Method #2: Connecting With Influencers Using HARO

We’re not done with HARO just yet. Now we’re going to enter the platform as a journalist for the purpose of connecting and networking with influencers in your industry. You’re going to need the same components listed above to take advantage of this method.

You’re going to leverage your blog and your online presence here to showcase your skills as an expert, and in turn possibly receive some help from your new influencers.

Once you’ve created your profile as a journalist, move on to step one:

Step One: Create Your Pitches
From this perspective, you’re going to be proposing your topic or concept for a post to experts in your industry. You can choose to send something simple or something with a little more detail. Here’s an example of a pitch using our raw food diet topic:

Title: “Ditch The Cooking: Is a Raw Food Diet Right For Me?

We want to speak with dieticians and nutritionists who have knowledge of the ever-popular raw food diet. How does it compare to other major diets out there? Is it something only certain people should do, or is it beneficial for everyone? If you’ve been on the diet, we want to hear from you too! Tell us about your experiences.

We’re looking for a good mix of scientific input and real world experience from people regarding a raw food diet.
Something like that would be a broad pitch that you could narrow down based on your specific approach. The responses you get from your proposal are all going to be people who could potentially be huge influencers in your industry or market.

Step Two: Develop Your Content
Much like the method above, you can use Buzzsumo or any tool you prefer to look into the topic further and do research that complements the responses you received from your proposal on HARO.

An important thing to remember is that your content should give proper credit to the quotes or information you used. In many cases this involves a attribution in the post and possibly a link to their site.

This is a great opportunity to connect with the influencers who contacted you and organize a link from their site to your own. HARO has long been a great source of high-quality backlinks.

Step Three: Expand Your Network
Once your post is live, be sure to notify those who helped you via HARO and reach out to them for other potential ventures that could benefit you both. Networking and keeping in contact with your sources can be a great way to expand your list of influencers.

Final Thoughts
HARO is a powerful tool for many things. If you’re hitting writer’s block or you want to find topics you know will perform, it can help you narrow those down and inspire you with new ideas. In much the same way it can also put you in touch with powerful influencers in your field which will also expand and enhance your content.

Have you used HARO? In what ways has the platform helped your content marketing and influencer outreach? Let us know in the comments!