Help a Reporter Out (or HARO) is one of the most popular tools for connecting journalists and writers with subject matter experts. This helps the journalists create credible pieces, and it helps the experts gain exposure and get quality backlinks. A win-win situation.
HARO, however, currently has over a million subscribers so there's bound to be some serious competition amongst experts and journalists alike to be noticed. This results in journalists getting bombarded with pitches, and experts getting their quotes rejected.
To prevent this, we have outlined 10 less-popular, but equally as effective (if not more) PR platforms that connect journalists to subject matter experts.
HARO is a popular PR service where journalists can get expert quotes or feedback from subject matter experts (or 'Sources'). This service is used by over 75,000 journalists and bloggers from huge media outlets like New York Times, Time, Refinery29, and Washington Post.
Getting their quotes or tips published on high-profile sites like these can help sources get extensive media coverage and better online visibility.
Although HARO was built for journalists, it can also be used by PR professionals, bloggers, reporters, influencers, and writers for building quality backlinks and content marketing. It is also great for brands that want to connect with the best media outlets in their industry.
HARO has a streamlined process for getting and receiving quotes and tips from experts.
Every weekday, HARO sends three emails to subscribers. These emails contain relevant HARO queries from experts on trending topics. The requests include the query, the requirements for one to be included in the content, the submission deadline, and an email address where you can provide insights and show your expertise.
(Image source: The Sow Collective)
This straight-forward process saves the journalist time so that they can focus more on the writing process.
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You can use this data to improve your own content marketing strategy.
Below are some advantages and disadvantages of using HARO.
- It's free. HARO has a free plan that helps you connect with experts. All you need to get started is time and effort.
- Easy sourcing process. A few decades ago, journalists had to hunt down experts—it was a part of their job. But with HARO, it's easy for journalists to source for experts. They only need to log into their HARO account, post a query and wait for replies to pour in.
- Better online visibility. HARO makes it easier to land valuable media links from extremely popular websites like Forbes, Mashable, and Entrepreneur. This puts you and your content in front of more eyes.
- You might not actually be speaking with an expert. HARO doesn't really vet experts, so anyone can sign up to the platform as a source. This causes HARO to be filled with people who can't actually give you valuable tips or quotes. It also opens the playground for fake websites looking to boost their rankings with quality backlinks.
- It doesn't scale well. If you need multiple links per month, you're better off doing a custom link outreach than using HARO.
- Some reporters are slow and inconsistent with their responses.
- Some people make vague, anonymous or illegitimate requests.
- Because HARO is used by thousands of people, you might get hundreds of responses to your query that flood your inbox. Worse, the majority of these responses will likely not be relevant to your needs.
Who's it for: Professionals, small businesses, and agencies
Terkel is a content creation platform that is designed to craft community-driven content that contains expert insights.
On Terkel, partner brands like Keap. Calendly, and GoDaddy pose questions on the platform, and experts are given an opportunity to provide answers. The best answers are then fleshed out into articles that are published on Terkel's partners' websites.
And therein lies the main difference between Terkel and HARO—HARO provides expert quotes while Terkel provides full-length articles.
Once Terkel creates an article, the partner brand has to approve it first before they publish it on their website. This ensures that the final product is high-quality and relevant to their readers.
Pricing: Free forever plan. Paid plans start at $99/month (Premium plan) and $199/month + $30/seat (Team plan)
Who's it for: PR agencies, journalists, large companies, and consultants who work with large companies
Muck Rack is a PR platform that allows you (a brand/business) to reach out to journalists and influencers. This tool provides an extensive list of experts, with their contact details, articles, and interests, so that users can find journalists and publications relevant to their industry.
Sources who want to increase their exposure can create alerts for keywords related to the industry they're experts in and then provide relevant insights to queries.
Muck Rack will notify you if a media contact writes about your industry, based on the keywords you specified. This way, you can keep up with the latest news in your industry. You'll also get a notification if a journalist in your media list changes their job.
Muck Rack also lets you create newsletters, graphics, reports, and articles so you can share your PR campaigns with your client or company.
Pricing: Custom pricing, but reviewers and customers say they paid, on average, $5,000 a year.
Who's it for: PR professionals, bloggers, podcasters, small businesses, and event managers
Like HARO, SourceBottle is a free platform that helps journalists connect with sources.
However, the difference between SourceBottle and HARO is that SourceBottle offers giveaways like subscriptions that allow businesses to find product samples to review. This tool also offers case studies, so that experts and agencies can pitch insights for possible inclusion in a media pitch.
SourceBottle also allows smaller business owners, like bloggers and podcasters to find experts for quotes and guest blog writers. Unlike HARO who expected that bloggers have an Alexa ranking of 1 million or less, SourceBottle doesn't have any qualifying requirements for smaller, independent creators.
Who's it for: Journalists, bloggers, and other content creators
ProfNet is owned by Cision, the parent company of HARO.
Although both ProfNet and HARO offer similar services, ProfNet is geared towards helping PR professionals connect with journalists and subject matter experts.
The ProfNet website is listed on a prnewswire.com subdomain, so it's a platform that helps you get featured in a press release—as opposed to HARO that features experts in articles.
Pricing: ProfNet is free for reporters, but businesses and PR professionals need to pay. The cost is based on the size of the business.
Who's it for: Startup founders and PR professionals
Like HARO, Qwoted is a free tool that connects journalists with expert sources.
But a major difference between the two tools is that journalists can eliminate PR spam with Qwoted. If you've used HARO before, you'll know that you can get hundreds of submissions per query. But with Qwoted, you can mute conversations when you get what you need.
Another problem with HARO are fake experts and journalists. Unlike HARO, Qwoted individually approves each account so that experts know that the journalist they're communicating with is legit—and vice versa.
Qwoted lets journalists receive all expert responses on the platform and lets them filter experts by gender and geography. Journalists can also reach out to you on Qwoted if your gender, geography, credentials, and media experience matches what they need.
Who's it for: PR specialists and enterprise-level companies
Meltwater is a platform that lets you find journalists and publications using keywords that are related to your company or industry. Along with journalists, this platform also has a database of influencers you can reach out to for collaborations and partnerships.
With Meltwater, you can track your media mentions across print, online news, social media, and broadcast, so you can gauge your brand exposure.
This tool has many features that can help large companies that track extensive press coverage. You can organize dashboards to track data points that are relevant to your content marketing and PR campaigns, including audience insights and coverage sentiment. You can also create newsletters to share media mentions with your clients or company.
Meltwater also allows you to spy on your competitors' media coverage, monitor your social media account, and reply to comments.
Pricing: Custom pricing. But according to research, Meltwater costs about $333/month, which amounts to $4,000/year.
Who's it for: SEO agencies, marketers, entrepreneurs
JustReachOut is a PR platform that helps you find journalists.
This tool works a bit differently than HARO in the sense that it scours the internet for articles that are related to your industry or business. Then they send the writers of these articles template letters containing information about your project. You can pitch them for expert quotes or a collaboration.
JustReachOut has a built-in feature that tracks pitches you send from the platform, so you'll know whether the journalist has opened them or not.
Apart from making it easy to find sources for your project, JustReachOut also offers pitch reviews, PR strategy calls, email support, and resources that teach you how to optimize keywords for search and improve your pitches to get more replies from journalists.
Pricing: 14-day free trial on all monthly plans. Paid plans start at $79/month (Solo plan), $159/month (Simple Outreach), and $319/month (Advanced Outreach) billed annually.
Who's it for: B2B writers
Founded by top B2B writer, Elise Dopson, Help a B2B Writer is a platform that helps B2B writers connect with top-quality industry experts.
As a B2B writer, including expert opinions in your piece can help you create unique and relevant content that ranks high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
If you're an industry expert, all you have to do is register as a source, choose your area(s) of expertise, and then get source requests that match your criteria. This prevents you from getting a ton of requests you're not interested in. In return for your insights, you'll get a backlink to your website or social media profiles.
If you're a B2B writer, you'll also tick the area you write in so you won't get a bunch of responses you can't use in your inbox. You'll only get relevant, unique quotes.
Who's it for: Freelancers, individual entrepreneurs, and startups
When you search for #journorequests, #PRrequests, and #RadioGuestList on Twitter, you'll find many questions and queries from journalists and writers who are looking for experts to contribute to their stories.
If these journalists have their contact info in their bios, you can pitch them directly via email. Or you can respond to their tweets and send them DMs on Twitter.
When you use Twitter to search for journalists, you face less competition because the queries are not seen by too many people. But it will be your job to verify the journalists/writers and the media outlets they'll publish your quote on.
If you want to get published on popular websites, you'll need to filter out reporters writing for small websites.
Who's it for: Small businesses, tech professionals
OnePitch is a platform that helps small businesses and tech professionals connect with journalists and PR professionals.
With this tool, you can send personalized pitches, build relationships with relevant journalists, and earn media coverage and contextual backlinks. You can also create a custom media list and track your pitches.
Unlike HARO, OnePitch uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help you create pitches that get responses. All you have to do is fill out a pitch template or upload your press release. The AI will analyze your pitch, as well as its data to give you a curated media list. You can choose reporters from the list to pitch.
Businesses of all sizes have used HARO to increase their online visibility and get quality backlinks. However, the platform is now too crowded, which decreases your chances of getting unique quotes from legit experts.
While HARO remains a popular tool for connecting journalists and sources, you can try the tools listed above to see if they work better for you. Better still, use these tools as well as HARO to find more experts (or journalists) and get more media opportunities