A friend asked me "How does HARO help my business?" Maybe you'll be interested in my response?
Never heard of HARO? I sometimes forget (I started using it in early 2009 to gain media exposure with my last business). Here's the website at www.helpareporter.com and the history over here at wikipedia
How does HARO help my business?
I’ll break this question into 4 parts.
Reading through HARO opens up some creative channels for me. I think outside the box, and I see what people in the real world are looking for. And I ask myself, “where can I be of service?” Many times I already have a blog post, article or some information that’s helpful for them. Other times I simply have an opinion or a quick tip that can help them fill the content they need for their article, new story, radio show, book, etc.
Guest Posts & Traffic to my site
Sometimes I’m asked to write a blog post, instead of simply contributing to the content they were already building on their own. This usually gives me an opportunity to talk a bit more about my business, and they almost always do an Author Bio and picture with link back to my website. This can increase traffic to my website, but not only that, it increases backlinks which Google and Search Engines absolutely love. It helped my last company website stay on the 1st page for a half dozen years. I’m working at getting back up there again with my own personal brand. I don’t expect immediate results, but I’ve already seen these changes in my Alexa ranking. In June 2011 (prior to actively responding to HARO queries again) my Alexa ranking was an abysmal 27million. Early in July it was 6.8 million and today it’s under 1 million.
Build Friendships and JV opportunities
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The third way HARO helps my business is that I’ve had the opportunity to build friendships with authors and news editors. Exchanges back and forth have helped me feel more credible in my field. They genuinely appreciate my opinion, insights and contribution. Instead of feeling like I’m simply a solo-preneur, they help to remind me of my value, and then I seem to step up and play a bigger game in my industry. I’ve even had a chance to be interviewed by a famous New York reporter who was writing a book (completely off topic from her normal work) and built a friendship.
It's NOT ALL About ME!
And the final, and possibly most fun part of HARO for me is this. While I’m reading through HARO and keeping my creative channels open, I not only read, but I ask myself “Is there someone I know who would be a perfect fit for this query?” And every day I find 1, sometimes a dozen. And I cut and paste the query into an email with a little note and send it to a friend/colleague/someone I’ve networked with. There are a few times where the person is confused, or it feels like extra work to them. I used to have a special signature line I’d use in my email to explain why I was sending it, and to remind them they were under no pressure. I’m simply thinking about them today. Most of the time, people feel happy to receive these little notes. It’s almost as fun as sending them a postcard or letter in the mail. It’s a special reminder that they’re on my mind, and I want them to succeed in their business ventures.
Bonus Reason: It's personal
Need a bonus reason? This isn’t business related at all. But I love, love to respond to things that are of personal interest to me. I’ve had links back to my travel blog, interviews on talk radio about health related issues that I blog about.
Have fun! Free PR is a gift, and a great adventure.
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While creating my portable biz on an incredibly lean budget (less than $30/mo) wasn't easy, it's the foundation piece I love to share with other solopreneurs. Creating your own passive & leveraged income doesn't need to be hard, or expensive.