As search engines continue to become increasingly crowded with AI-generated content, establishing credibility, authority, and expertise online has never been more important. For years, Help A Reporter Out (HARO) has been an incredibly valuable tool for businesses, brands, and individuals to not only establish a credible presence through major publications but also to score some quality backlinks for their websites (learn more about why link building is important).
HARO allows reporters and journalists to find sources for their stories by matching them with respondents and experts seeking to be featured in these stories. By signing up for HARO’s email blast and sending out some responses, you can get a mention and a link from publications ranging from niche blogs to major outlets like the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Time Magazine, and many more.
Providing greater access to major media outlets like these has made HARO link building a legitimate strategy for many marketers looking to expand their reach and gain backlinks. However, managing to actually connect with a journalist or reporter is no easy task. With the platform growing so quickly, there’s never been more competition for the attention of reporters — especially those representing popular publications.
Luckily, HARO isn’t the only option when it comes to linking up with reporters and being included in a story.
The Benefits of Using HARO Alternatives
HARO provides the most source requests by volume, and some of the most-read and most reputable publications in the world rely on it to find their sources. So why bother using a HARO alternative?
For starters, while HARO alternatives may have fewer reporters looking for sources, they also have fewer respondents competing to be those sources. In fact, HARO claims to reach over 1 million sources. That’s a lot of competition! Crafting a response that truly stands out among the mountain of replies the average callout gets isn’t easy. In some cases, gaining a valuable backlink with solid link equity can require a lot of time, effort, and patience — so finding an alternative platform where competition is less fierce may be a better solution.
Additionally, other HARO-like platforms can give you the chance to find more niche opportunities. HARO provides us with tons of different opportunities over a broad spectrum of topics and niches, and while that can be a huge benefit, it can also make it difficult to sort through everything to find the opportunities you’re really looking for. Instead of having you dig through broad topics, some HARO alternatives can make your life easier by breaking those topics down further for you.
In addition, not everyone loves HARO’s email newsletter format — and that’s understandable. Not only can the email format feel clunky and overwhelming, but the emails themselves are only sent out at certain times each day, meaning they aren’t updated in real-time. At a minimum, other platforms may provide better filtering tools so you waste less time digging through irrelevant requests.
HARO Alternatives To Test Out
There are several different HARO alternatives available for you to try out if the platform isn’t working for you as well as you’d hoped. Each has its own pros and cons, and one may be a more practical choice than another depending on your goals and budget. Here are a few HARO alternatives that stand out amongst the crowd and are worth a try.
ProfNet is a good place to start when looking for a Help A Reporter Out alternative because it’s works very similarly to HARO. In fact, they’re currently owned by the same company: PR software giant CISION. Like HARO, bloggers, journalists, and reporters send thousands of story leads into the ProfNet network every month, which experts can reply to as they see fit.
The main difference between the two platforms is that ProfNet is designed for PR professionals looking for media opportunities, while HARO is more targeted at the general public. You can spot this difference in ProfNet’s expert alerts feature, which notifies media sources of an expert’s availability to discuss a trending news story or topic. Ultimately, ProfNet is a great HARO alternative if you’re looking for something very similar (and in the same price range) that’s just a bit more professional in nature and rich in features.
As opposed to HARO’s simple and straightforward pricing model, ProfNet offers competitive and customizable pricing plans created to suit each individual organization and its needs. Having no free option makes ProfNet a less appealing option for SEOs and agencies looking to dip their toes in the water and try out the product. Nevertheless, the platform’s impressive track record speaks for itself: ProfNet has continued to be a reliable platform for journalists and experts alike since 1992.
SourceBottle is a free and easy-to-use platform that connects journalists to sources by sending out a daily email blast with callouts. Like HARO, SourceBottle is free to use but also offers several paid plans.
One thing that really makes SourceBottle stand out as a HARO alternative is its paid subscription features that allow respondents to take part in reviews for things like giveaways, products, and goodie bags. It also sometimes includes callouts for case studies — opportunities that can be especially beneficial for experts looking to establish credibility and gain exposure in certain industries. Additionally, the platform allows you to create an expert profile (one per team member) where you can list your areas of expertise, so it can suggest you right away to a journalist when they submit a fresh callout.
SourceBottle also doesn’t have any minimum qualifying criteria for journalists, so experts have access to small publications and blogs that may not show up on other HARO alternative platforms. On the downside, its geographic locations are limited to the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., New Zealand, and Ireland — something that could be a problem for multinational companies or agencies working with international clients.
To start using SourceBottle, set up a profile page so the platform can match you with experts using your chosen keywords. Make sure to also create your account details page and select the appropriate topics and geographic areas that match your areas of expertise. After, just wait for the ‘Drink Up’ emails to arrive in your inbox and start responding as a source.
Muck Rack is a public relations platform offering a variety of different PR tools and services. Compared to HARO, Muck Rack gives you much more control over the process of connecting with reporters and managing those connections.
Like HARO, Muck Rack’s platform allows you to respond to journalist requests, but it really does much more than that. For starters, by giving you access to its database of journalists, reporters, and influencers, it lets you find and contact journalists, rather than waiting for them to appear on your radar. Their journalist profile pages provide you with all of the information you need to sort through journalists, learn all about them, build a custom media list, and send out personalized pitches.
It also lets you track reporters and see their published articles, areas of interest, and beats. This can help you filter through journalists more easily so you can find the ones most likely to want to connect with you. It can even provide you with data on the sites their work is published on, including their domain authority, spam score, and unique visitors per month.
Muck Rack’s platform offers keyword alerts, so you never miss a relevant opportunity. Its beat alerts also tell you whenever a journalist or influencer has changed their beat, and can be super helpful for managing your contacts and making sure you’rekept up to date when one of them exits your niche or leaves the media industry. In addition, the platform supplies tools to produce newsletters and reports featuring graphics and article snippets to share the progress of your outreach campaigns with team members or clients — a feature that really makes it stand out as a HARO alternative.
The big disadvantage of looking to Muck Rack as a Help A Reporter Out alternative is its price. Muck Rack’s impressive toolset makes it a great tool for agencies and PR specialists, but its reportedly $5,000 yearly price tag means that it’s out of reach for most small businesses.
Using Muck Rack
Muck Rack offers plenty of how-to information in tutorials, case studies, webinars, guides and ebooks, and blog posts. Once inside the platform, take some time to familiarize yourself with their database, filtering options, and different data points, as these represent a huge advantage over HARO. Don’t overlook their pitch tracking tools, which are helpful for keeping track of the pitches you or your team members send and for scheduling personalized follow-ups with your contacts.
Qwoted is a platform that is very similar to HARO, but that places a bit more emphasis on servicing the journalist side of the equation.
To that end, Qwoted takes the time to individually screen every single source and expert that registers with them. This gives journalists more peace of mind as to the quality of their sources, while also lowering the competition for respondents and experts by removing less qualified applicants from the pool. If you are truly an expert in your field or if you have one on hand, Qwoted can be a great way to separate yourself from the mass of respondents on HARO.
Qwoted’s paid plan provides several useful features that you won’t find on HARO, like:
- Pitch Intelligence tells you how many expert responses a journalist receives and responds to),
- Profile view alerts (tells you when someone views your expert profile), and
- Expert databases (lists you as an expert in journalists’ databases).
One advantage that Qwoted provides as a Help A Reporter Out alternative is that it sends out media requests in real time instead of through arranged email blasts. While this means there’s less waiting around for opportunities to show up, you’ll need to check your inbox regularly so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.
Help a B2B Writer
Help a B2B Writer isn’t quite as popular or talked about as some of the other HARO alternatives on this list, but it’s still well worth a mention — especially since it’s a very similar platform, but with one major tweak. Help a B2B Writer offers more opportunities to connect with small business writers (as opposed to journalists), including those at companies like Zapier.
Help a B2B Writer requires you to fill out a profile page that includes your areas of expertise. When a writer sends out an expert request, the platform will only notify you if the subject request matches one of the areas listed in your profile.
Help a B2B Writer boasts that it offers a less competitive and less time-consuming platform than HARO. The platform is completely free to try out for both sources and journalists, so if you’re looking for a very similar alternative that’s just a bit more low-key, then Help a B2B Writer is definitely worth a shot.
Using Help a B2B Writer
Getting started with the platform and using it to pitch writers is simple. Just register for an account through their website and carefully set up your profile page. Then, just respond to the contribution requests as they roll into your inbox.
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