Boosting Visibility with HARO: A Case Study on Achieving 50+ High-Profile Placements in Just 6 Months

Launched: 10 January 2020


In this case study, we invite you to explore how we used Help A Reporter Out (HARO) - a platform that connects journalists with industry experts - to achieve major wins in our digital PR campaigns. We're excited to share our journey, from our decision to use HARO, through the strategic implementation, to our successful placements in high-profile publications like Forbes, GOBankingRates, Yahoo Finance, AOL, Hubspot, Popsugar, HotJar, ZDNet, and Business Management Daily, and many, many more!

Sit back, fasten your seatbelts, and join us on this exhilarating adventure as we dissect our HARO success story, one game-changing campaign at a time. Through our insights and experiences, we aim to inspire and empower other businesses to ride the digital waves to success.



HARO: Help A Reporter Out is a platform connecting journalists with industry experts for PR, content marketing, and link-building.


Approach: A strategic approach involves authentic client-specific email aliases, diverse query selection, compelling pitches, and AI for quick responses.


Creativity: Including creative elements can make pitches engaging and increase selection chances.


Achievements: The strategy led to placements in high-profile publications like Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and Hubspot.


Lessons: Key learnings include the effectiveness of client-specific aliases, AI use, consistent email formatting, and query diversification.


Best Practices: Success on HARO relies on speed, creativity, and diversification in query selection.


Before our foray into the world of HARO, we were constantly exploring new strategies and techniques to strengthen our clients' digital presence. Like any ambitious agency, we encountered our fair share of trials and tribulations, navigating through a sea of options with mixed results. The real turning point came after an enlightening SEO meetup in Cyprus, where we had the good fortune to cross paths with Chris Pantelli.

Inspired by this encounter and driven by our mission to build brand awareness and authority for our clients, we decided to embrace HARO as an integral part of our services. Given that our main service offering is link building, we saw HARO as an excellent supplement to bolster our efforts. The goal was clear: to provide our clients with a comprehensive package that would enable them to rank higher in search engine results.

Despite the potential of HARO, we approached this new endeavor with cautious optimism. We didn't harbor grand expectations, primarily because we viewed HARO as an experiment and an additional value to our primary link-building service. However, we were excited about the potential opportunities it could provide for our clients.

The decision to include HARO in our client strategy wasn't just about link building - it was about fostering an ecosystem where brand visibility, authority, and rankings could flourish.

As we ventured into this new journey with HARO, we were focused, determined, and ready to conquer the challenges that lay ahead. We recognized that this was not just a new service offering; it was a strategic move to elevate our clients' brands to new heights.

Understanding HARO

Help A Reporter Out, more commonly known as HARO, is a platform designed to connect journalists with relevant industry experts. The mechanism is simple, yet effective: Journalists seeking insights or quotes for their upcoming articles send out queries, and industry experts, or their PR representatives, respond with relevant, useful information.

Here's a step-by-step overview of how HARO operates:


Journalists submit queries for specific information or expert insights they need for their stories


These queries are organized by category and sent out in HARO's thrice-daily emails to registered sources.


Experts, or their PR representatives, scan these emails for relevant queries.


If a query aligns with their expertise, they craft a compelling response and send it back to the journalist.


If the journalist finds the response suitable, they may use it in their article, typically with attribution to the expert.

HARO Query Example

In the context of an agency like Chilli Fruit, HARO provides a unique opportunity to promote client brands and build high-quality backlinks. Here's how we utilize HARO:

PR: We respond to journalist queries on behalf of our clients, positioning them as authorities in their field. This increases their brand visibility and fosters a strong public image.

Content Marketing: The placements achieved via HARO generate valuable content that we can leverage for marketing purposes. This content can be shared on social media, newsletters, or even on the client's website to showcase their expertise and media presence.

Link Building: When journalists use our clients' insights in their articles, they typically include a link back to the client's website. These backlinks, particularly from high-authority sites, boost the client's SEO, improving their search engine ranking.

In essence, HARO is a multifaceted tool that, when used effectively, can significantly enhance a client's PR, content marketing, and link-building efforts.

It does have a limitation, though - only home page links. Even though you can land incredibly powerful links, you won’t get anything but a link back to your home page. Blog posts, landing pages, and product pages don’t come into play.

Strategy Implementation

Venturing into the world of HARO, we quickly realized the need for a dedicated and organized approach. Here's how we began:

Setting Up the Account: We established a separate email inbox, using aliases formatted as [email protected]. This move ensured that the responses we sent on behalf of our clients appeared to come directly from them, lending an air of authenticity and credibility to our pitches.

Selecting Relevant Queries: Initially, our focus was primarily on B2B queries. However, we decided to broaden our scope and started to select queries more liberally, covering a diverse range of topics such as gifts, travel, general finance, and more. This approach opened the doors to a plethora of publications, including GOBankingRates, Yahoo Finance, AOL, Popsugar, and more.

Crafting Compelling Pitches: We leveraged Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve our response time to HARO queries, creating a repertoire of prompts tailored for this purpose. This allowed us to respond quickly and effectively, enhancing our chances of getting picked by the journalists. We also ensured that our emails were formatted consistently to maintain a professional and organized appearance.

Client Profiles: To further diversify our HARO approach, we requested additional profiles from our clients. These profiles spanned a variety of roles, including marketing, C-suite, management, IT, support, and CRM. With this widened range, we were able to answer an even broader array of queries, including HR-specific ones, which led to successful placements in respected outlets such as SHRM, Forbes, and Entrepreneur.

Our HARO strategy hinged heavily on two key elements: creativity and expertise. Crafting a successful pitch demanded not only a thorough understanding of the query but also the ability to present the client's insights in an engaging and compelling manner. It also required some creative liberties, AKA white lies.

Lastly, we recognized that speed was of the essence. Journalists using HARO are often inundated with responses, so quick replies significantly increased our chances of being noticed and selected. By combining rapid responses with our robust and diverse approach to selecting queries, we managed to cast a much wider net, landing placements in a wide array of esteemed publications.

Creative Embellishments: Unverifiable White Lies and Colorizations

In our journey to create more compelling and engaging pitches, we found a unique approach that straddles the fine line between truth and fiction: employing unverifiable white lies and colorizations.

To clarify, this doesn't involve providing false or misleading information. Rather, it's about adding an extra dash of color or a minor embellishment that, while not strictly true, doesn't harm or misrepresent our clients or their stories. These embellishments are unverifiable, making them harmless additions that can enhance the appeal of a story without damaging its integrity.

Unverifiable White Lies: These are minor fabrications that serve to make a story more interesting or relatable. For example, we might write, "Our client's CEO, a devoted jazz enthusiast, often draws parallels between the improvisational nature of jazz and the dynamic world of digital marketing." While the CEO might not actually be a jazz enthusiast, this unverifiable addition makes the narrative more engaging.

Colorizations: This involves adding details that, while not necessarily true, paint a more vivid picture. For example, we might write, "Our client's marketing manager, reportedly able to discern the origin of coffee beans just by their aroma, enjoys analyzing website metrics with a cup of freshly brewed Kenyan coffee by his side." Again, these embellishments cannot be verified but add an extra layer of interest to the story.

It's important to stress that the use of these techniques is not intended to deceive or mislead. Instead, their purpose is to add a touch of flair to our pitches, making them stand out in the crowded inbox of a journalist. By adding these harmless, unverifiable embellishments, we've been able to create more engaging narratives, increasing the chances of our pitches being selected and earning our clients valuable media coverage.


1. Kyle Roof - Go Banking Rates

7. NBA Blast - Yahoo Finance

Lessons Learned

Looking back on our journey with HARO, it's clear that we've gleaned valuable insights and learned important lessons that have shaped our approach to digital PR, content marketing, and link building. Here's a reflection on our experiences:

What Worked:

Aliases: The use of client-specific email aliases proved to be very effective. It not only added a layer of authenticity to our pitches but also helped in managing responses systematically.

AI: Incorporating Artificial Intelligence into our process significantly improved our response times. This, in turn, increased our chances of being noticed and selected by the journalists.

Formatting: Consistency in email formatting presented us as professional and organized, making a positive impression on the journalists receiving our pitches.

Profiles: Requesting additional profiles from our clients allowed us to respond to a broader range of queries, landing placements in various domains.

Expanding Query Selection: Initially focusing only on B2B queries limited our opportunities. Once we started to choose queries more liberally, our success rate increased noticeably, securing placements in diverse publications.

What Didn't Work:

As with any process, there were strategies that didn't yield the desired results. Learning from these experiences was crucial in refining our approach. Our pitches have gotten better over time as we’ve engineered the prompts to do what we needed. We also found that GPT 3.5 is pretty lackluster compared to GPT-4 when it comes to HARO.

What We'd Do Differently:

Based on our experiences and lessons learned, we would place greater emphasis on diversifying our query selection from the start, as well as on expanding the range of profiles we use in our responses.

Insights About Best Practices for HARO:

Based on our experiences and lessons learned, we would place greater emphasis on diversifying our query selection from the start, as well as on expanding the range of profiles we use in our responses.

Our experiences have led us to a few key insights about using HARO effectively:


Speed is crucial: Journalists receive a multitude of responses, so being among the first to respond can significantly increase the chance of your pitch being read and selected.


Creativity matters: A compelling and engaging response stands out among the flood of replies a journalist receives.


Diversification is key: The broader the range of queries you respond to, the greater the opportunities for placement.

Spice Up Your Growth: Your Next Step Towards Digital Success

Our journey with HARO has been one filled with learning, adaptation, and ultimately, success. But it's more than just a story of our agency's triumph - it's a testament to the power of creativity, strategy, and persistence in the realm of digital PR and link-building.

If you're intrigued by the results we've achieved and the lessons we've learned, why not harness this power for your own brand? Whether you're looking to make your mark in the digital landscape, elevate your brand visibility, or establish authority in your industry, we're here to help.

At Chilli Fruit, we're ready to bring our innovative approach and result-oriented mindset to your brand's unique needs. Our team of passionate professionals will work closely with you to craft strategies that are not just tailored to your goals, but also challenge conventional marketing wisdom.

Let us help you conquer the digital landscape and create some serious noise. Whether it's securing placements on major publications through HARO, creating compelling content, or building high-authority backlinks, we're equipped and excited to guide your brand towards success.

So, what are you waiting for? Let's defy convention and ride the digital waves to success, together. Reach out to us at Chilli Fruit to start your journey today. Let's add some spice to your SEO!

You're just one step away from jumpstarting your growth. Get in touch with us now!

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