HARO or Help a Reporter Out has been around for ages! It was around way back when I first started blogging and Facebook didn’t exist! So, it’s tried and tested and totally legit.
Essentially, HARO gives editors the opportunity to post callouts for pitches. Sources, like you, then reply to these pitches via their system and if selected, are then featured in the article or post that the editor is writing.
HARO is a super easy way to get high quality backlinks to your blog! The biggest plus is that a lot of the callouts are by major publications like the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Mashable.
Take your time to review the rules and guidelines! These are super important so you don’t go violating any of them and getting kicked off the platform.
It is not a given though and you have to do a few things right in order to get selected.
Simply sign up with a free HARO account on their website. Stating that you are a source. You can upgrade to a higher plan if you wish, which gives you extra functionality and features including keyword alerts, text notifications, a search function and a built in bio. Plans start at $19 a month.
The search function lets you get a head start on callouts without having to wait for them to hit your inbox.
You can also sign up as a journalist if you are planning to do your own callouts. Note: Your Alexa Score must be 1 Million or less in order to have your callouts accepted.
You can then set your HARO preferences on which type of callouts you’d like to receive. I only opt in to two callouts, and that is more than enough!
HARO sends callouts direct to your inbox 3 times a day – first thing, lunch time and early evening, Monday through Friday. Simply reply to a pitch with the given HARO email.
The hit rate is pretty low, mainly due to the fact that HARO is really popular and super competitive. But, if you’re clever there’s a few ways you can get a better hit rate.
#1 – Pitch early – callouts are not normally open for long and reporters generally get what they need, then close the callout.
#2 – Pitch frequently – the miss rate is pretty high given the sheer volume of pitches. So, make sure you’re batting frequently to get a home run.
#3 – Be succinct – make sure you include the exact info (and nothing more) the reporter is seeking including the info they need from you like your headshot, or web URL etc
2. Becoming a Contributor/ Guest Poster
There’s two awesome streams here. The first is guest blogging on other bloggers websites that are in the same niche as you. The second is to target high authority, more general news sites.
There’s a good deal of interest in having other bloggers guest post on blogs and the benefits are fabulous for gaining some backlink juice.
You can find opportunities in Facebook Blogging Groups – or, pop a query into Google to see who in your niche is accepting guest blogging opportunities.
Simply type in your keyword + “guest post” or “guest blogger” or “write for us”
For instance, if your niche is helping bloggers grow, and your keyword is blogging tips you’d type in blogging tips + “write for us”.
Some of the returned results will look like this:
Another way to find opportunities is to head over to your favourite, high profile bloggers websites. Then search for “write for us” or “Guest Post”.
You can also look on popular bloggers websites in your niche and see where they have been featured.
You can also become a contributor by targeting high authority, more general sites. But keep in mind that the bar is much, much higher for these sites, so the submissions have to be stand outs to get noticed.
If you’re aiming to specifically target some of the higher authority sites, then it’s easy to find their submission guidelines on their sites.
Remember if you’re targeting the bigger online publications to follow their rules to the letter! Especially around word limit restrictions.
Some for example are 600-900 words, which is generally much less than you might be accustomed to writing on your own site as a blogger. And, make sure you have a good look around at other articles on their sites to see what type of format and structure they are looking for.
Guest blogging tips
#1 – Don’t publish the same article on multiple sites
#2 – Don’t stray outside your area of expertise or niche
#3 – Do write high quality, compelling and unique content on good quality websites
3. Collaboration Opportunities
This one’s super fun! There’s a whole heap of amazing Facebook Groups out there that are especially designed to help you collaborate with your fellow bloggers.
There’s a couple of great ways to increase your backlinking prowess with collabs.
The first of these is roundup requests. This one works especially well for food bloggers but there are a bunch of other requests that come up, not as often, but still frequent enough to be useful.
A roundup request is when a blogger will ask for posts that relate to a certain topic area.
For instance. A food blogger might ask for Vegan side dish recipes for Thanksgiving. And will pop a callout on one of the Facebook roundup groups asking for bloggers to submit posts that meet their brief.
If chosen, your blog post will feature along with a list of others on that roundup post with a link back to your website.
Easy peasy to do, and has a great pay off.
Some of the best Facebook Roundup Groups that I’ve found are:
There are a number of other ways to participate in blogger collabs that are useful, like contributing to expert posts and doing niche specific collabs with other bloggers. Just be super mindful of link swapping! This will see you penalised by search engines.
Blogger Collaboration tips
#1 – Make sure you’re jumping on opportunities early. These posts are super popular!
#2 – Add a sentence or two about your blog post – that way you’re helping the original poster to know what your blog post is about and giving them text that accurately describes your submission.
#3 – Look for callouts that reflect your brand and content – don’t be tempted with sites that are a bit far off your niche for the best results.
There’s a tonne more ways you can seek out backlining opportunities as a blogger, but the main thing to remember is that all of this takes time!
So, pick your lane and do a couple of things really well. For me, I use HARO, I pitch up to 3 articles a month to high authority sites and I participate in the odd roundup or collab opportunity if it’s highly relevant and high value.
And remember! Backlinks are only part of your SEO puzzle!