Building Links Through HARO - Real Examples


I came across an article last week title “How Do I Use HARO for Link Building?”. The article gave some good tips on pitching and the overall “how’s” of using HARO. 

I’m a huge fun of HARO and have been using (and talking about it) for a while now. As an SEO, there’s nothing better than getting your client not just a link, but a story. It’s also a great way to get yourself and your company press as there are a ton of queries related to search and social media (sorry, that’s my selfishness talking)

Anyway, what I wanted to do was go a bit further into how to use HARO and show a couple of examples from my own experience. 

Learn About the Author

First and foremost, treat HARO like you would any other outreach opportunity by finding out about the author. Often times, you can see the name of the person in the query. Google them. Stalk them on Twitter. Find out where they write and what they typically write about. 

In a query from a few months ago, I saw the author’s name was Kevin Spence. I took that information, along with the query itself and found that he was the author for a site called Career Thoughts. This enabled me to immediately show him I knew his site and allowed me to better gear my response toward his site. 

The query was looking for someone who liked their job but maybe got into it in an unconventional manor. Here is my response:

Pitch Title: Career Thoughts HARO Posting

Pitch Contents: Hi Kevin - My name is Casie Gillette and I do in fact LOVE my job. In fact I just wrote a blog post not two weeks ago talking about how much I love my job. Here’s a blurb:

"…And three years away from the agency side made me forget how much I like having clients and how much I truly, deep down in every part of me love SEO." (link to post).

I’m currently the Director of Online Marketing at a consulting company based out of Boston, MA, helping clients with their SEO and online marketing efforts. I have been involved with the search industry for almost eight years and pretty much love everything about it. I’ve worked at agencies and in-house and speak on the topic at various events across the US.

At the most recent event, I spoke about how other search marketers could further their own careers.

I know your site is geared toward college students and those looking for a new direction. I was an advertising major and sort of fell into my career after bar tending for a year. I didn’t even know what SEO was when I took the job. Would love to be a part of the series.

Any questions, please let me know.

My response showed:

  • I knew what his site was about
  • I was passionate about my job
  • My experience could help his readers

Catch Their Attention in the Subject

Some queries get hundreds of responses so think of your response like any other email they’d get. Why should they read yours above everyone else’s?

Write a subject line that stands out.

In the example above, I used “Career Thoughts HARO Posting” as it showed I did my research and already knew the site. In a separate instance a month ago, the person was looking for a few thoughts on how SEO & PR are working together. In this case, I knew there’d be a ton of responses and needed to make mine different. 

HARO - SEO & PR Must Be Friends

I know for a fact that no one else used that subject line.

Show You Know What You’re Talking About

In the article I mentioned at the beginning of the post, one of the suggestions was to follow instructions and avoid writing long paragraphs if they only wanted a few sentences. While this is absolutely true, very rarely will you see that. Most people want to get a feel for what you have to offer, so unless they specifically say they only want a few sentences, don’t be afraid to write a little bit more.

Here’s the response to the PR/SEO Query asking how SEO and PR overlap and what obstacles they face:

Pitch Title: HARO - SEO & PR Must Be Friends

Pitch Contents: Hey Ken -

Great article idea and something I think is becoming a much larger factor. For a while now we’ve seen PR and SEO overlapping becasue at the end of the day, the goal is the same - get mentions/links to a site and drive business to a client.

What I’m seeing more and more of is companies actually realizing they need to have their SEO & PR teams working together. We actually work very closely with a couple of our clients’ PR teams to ensure campaigns are aligned and we aren’t working against one another. We’ve also partnered with PR agencies who don’t necessarily have an SEO team in-house but know they need it.

Links are obviously a big factor and PR companies really have an advantage there…they know how to get clients on authority sites. As SEOs, it’s our job to make sure they are doing it with SEO in mind - targeting keywords the client wants, linking to the right place, or even asking for a link at all.

Egos are obviously a huge obstacle. You have both companies wanting to take credit for success but if you put it on the table that you are working for the good of the client, it makes things a lot easier. I was actually in a PR pitch recently and the account manager said to me, “Don’t worry, we don’t do SEO”. My response was, “no no, we want you to do SEO”. Like anything else it’s about setting the proper expectations.

Anyway, would love to be a part of the article. Here is my bio information as well:

Casie Gillette is the Director of Online Marketing at KoMarketing
Associates, where she leads digital marketing strategy for clients of the
organization. In addition, Casie is an integral part of the leadership team
at KoMarketing Associates, helping to guide company initiatives, service offerings, and the organization’s presence online.

With over eight years of industry experience, Casie regularly speaks about SEO and link building at national and local search marketing conferences, including the Search Marketing Expo and writes for various marketing publications.

I answered the questions he asked in the pitch, I defined my thoughts and I gave some background on my job skills to show I knew what I was talking about. 

The Results 

Overall I’ve been pretty successful at using HARO. Not because I’m super awesome but because I only pick queries that I know I can answer well (for both myself and my clients). On top of that, I treat HARO like I would treat any other type of outreach: know the author, know the topic and be a real human. 

Here are the links to the stories mentioned above: