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How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins

Learn 5 ways to win at Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to land easy press wins

You can listen to the Pitchin’ and Sippin’ Podcast episode on this subject here.

How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins - #Newsworthy Blog - THEPRBARinc.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a free online database that connects journalists with sources. Distributing more than 50,000 journalist queries from highly respected media outlets each year, its straightforward pitching process allows sources to find topics related to their expertise, industry, or experience while allowing journalists and bloggers to spend more time writing and less time sourcing. HARO reaches more than 1 million sources and 75,000 journalists and bloggers, making it a vital tool for brands and reporters alike. 

In the blog to follow, we will review how to register, how the service works, and 5 different ways to “win at HARO” for easy press features. 

How to Register for HARO

It’s free to register for HARO, simply go to Once you get to the homepage, you can sign up as a source or journalist; if you are looking to pitch for a feature, you will want to select “I’m a Source”. Once registered, every day – typically morning, afternoon, and evening –  an email will be sent to your inbox that details a list of queries that journalists are looking for sources to comment on. Queries are basically inquiries or topics that journalists are writing about. To avoid inbox overwhelm, one pro-tip we have is to set a filter on these emails so they are funneled into a designated HARO folder in your inbox. 

How Does HARO work? 

When you start receiving these queries in your email every day, it’s your job as a potential source to scan thoroughly (this is also a great task to source to an intern, VA or other team member.) Here are two tips to efficient scan HARO queries: 

How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins - #Newsworthy Blog - THEPRBARinc.

  1. Start with looking for outlets you care about (these will be listed on the right side) 

  2. Scan for relevant keywords. 

Note that HARO organizes its queries into sections, such as health, business, education, general, etc. Over time, you’ll get to understand which sections typically house the best queries for your business. 

How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins - #Newsworthy Blog - THEPRBARinc.

When you find a query that you think you might be a fit for, click on it, and you will be dropped down to a later part of the email that details the full query information. This generally includes the deadline for pitching, the journalist’s name (although sometimes they elect to remain anonymous), the email to pitch to, and the requirements of the pitch. Once you have read and verified you are a good source, then you pitch the reporter or query via the email provided This email is a HARO-protected email, not the journalist’s personal address – pitch here as directed.

How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins - #Newsworthy Blog - THEPRBARinc.

5 Ways to Win at HARO

Now that you know what HARO is and how it works, here are 5 ways you can win at HARO to land press for you and your business.

Tip 1: Read Directions

On each query, you will see a section that is labeled “requirements”. One of the most common HARO mistakes is that people do not read this section nor follow its directions fully. So, to stand out, simply read the requirements and submit the pitch in the EXACT format that the journalist is asking for – no detail too small. If you do that, you are ahead of most others in their inbox.

How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins - #Newsworthy Blog - THEPRBARinc.

Tip 2: Don’t Force a Fit

There are thousands of people that use HARO every day. While not everyone submits a pitch to every query, it can get loud and crowded when you’re on the receiving end. Make sure that you are respectful of the fact that if a journalist submits a query, they are looking for a very specific fit and source. If that is not you, move on, don’t waste your time, and don’t waste their time – there will be another query that will come in at some point that will likely fit your business. Rule of thumb – if your gut is saying it might be a stretch – just pass.

How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins - #Newsworthy Blog - THEPRBARinc.

Tip 3: Don’t Make the Writer Work For It

Don’t create more work for the writer when submitting a pitch. Here’s what we mean – do not send a pitch that simply says “I have a great client or I know someone who would be great for this query. If you want more information, let me know.”

That’s making a writer work for it. 

We already know the pitch is something they need, they wouldn’t have submitted a query otherwise. Don’t make them have to reach out to you for more information; instead, send them exactly what they’re asking for upfront in your initial pitch. Remember, if you want to land press, you should aim to make the writer’s life as easy as possible. 

Tip 4: Don’t Upload Attachments, Send Links Instead

Fact: you can’t send a physical attachment through the HARO portal, it doesn’t transfer through, literally. The mistake that is often made with HARO is someone will note, “hey such and such, see headshot attached,” when in reality, “the attachment” got dropped between your submission and their inbox. If you do want to send a photo or file, rather than attaching it to the pitch directly, upload it to a shareable folder like Google Drive, and include the hyperlink to the folder in the body of the email. Unlike physical attachments, links DO make it through the HARO portal, so there’s your workaround – send a link in the body of the pitch.

Tip 5: Be Proactive

Be proactive after the fact. Whether you like it or not, journalists are not required to let you know if your pitches are used – aka you might not be notified if your pitch gets published. We advise setting up Google Alerts on your name, business, and/or products. In addition to that, do regular google searches yourself and filter by time. In HARO, unless they list their website as anonymous, you’re able to see the writer’s name and outlet. Therefore, you can also keep tabs on the journalist to see when their piece goes live. Even if you didn’t make it in, see who or what did, and take notes for future pitching. 

How to Win at HARO for Easy Press Wins - #Newsworthy Blog - THEPRBARinc.

If you want to land easy (and free) press features, make sure to take advantage of this incredible resource. By following the 5 tips listed above, you should find yourself winning at HARO in no time. 

You sign up to receive HARO queries here:

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