Getting your business up and running doesn't stop at launching your website and your booking platform. Now that you're open for business, it's time to make sure your hard work doesn't go unnoticed and gets in front of the eyes of potential clients. But before you start searching the internet for marketing solutions and invest in expensive platforms and ad campaigns, we want to point you in the direction of a very helpful (and free!) platform that can help you boost your website's visibility and build your brand reputation. Meet, HARO.
What is HARO?
Formally known as Help a Reporter Out, HARO is a free email service that connects journalists with experts in every industry to help them with content they are producing either for their own outlet or another outlet or publication. When writing a story or article freelancers, reporters and journalists post queries that PR agents and business owners can respond to with information relevant to the query. HARO is an excellent resource for fitness business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches and instructors to share their insight and expertise directly with people who are looking to share and feature their information in reputable publications.
Why business owners use HARO
Over 75,000+ journalists and bloggers from media outlets including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vital Proteins, Mashable, Content Marketing Institute, Men's and Women's Health, and so many more use HARO on a daily basis to find the most accurate and useful information from business owners just like you. If you not only want to find clients and build your business in numbers but also want to earn exposure for the services you offer and your brand, HARO is a great place to start.
How do we know HARO works for fitness businesses?
HARO doesn't just help media outlets to increase their visibility index. At TeamUp, HARO is a very valuable part of our marketing strategy to earn exposure for our own website and clients. Sharing insight on everything from what it means to be a fitness management software to how to improve your customer experience to ways to boost your online marketing, we have seen firsthand how powerful using this tool can be to boost our brand and website visibility and earn us exposure from publications and sources that our clients and potential clients value.
Improving visibility for fitness businesses: how does HARO work?
As a business owner or PR agent or rep of a fitness business, to start using HARO you'll first open their website and select the option "I'm a Source" on their homepage. On this page you will see a list of rules for participating in HARO queries as a source, including not spamming reporters, how to add attachments to pitches, not publicly sharing reporter information, and not using pitches to do anything other than answer the inquiry.
Once you have read the rules you can sign up for a free account and begin receiving a daily HARO email with the active queries journalists are submitting.
Sources are sent three emails a day, Monday through Friday at 5:35 am, 12:35 am, and 5:35 pm EST. Each media inquiry will include:
- The summary of the inquiry, ie: Best ways to get in shape for summer.
- Name of the reporter or journalist.
- Category, ie: Lifestyle and Fitness.
- Email, to respond to with inquiry: The email address will always be in the format of with email@example.com"
- Media Outlet, ie: the name of the blog or publication. Businesses will also choose to write anonymously if they do not want to disclose where the story is for prior to publishing.
- Deadline, ie: 7:00 PM PST - 1 June.
- Query: This is where the reporter will ask for all the details and information they are looking for. ie: Looking for 10 fitness instructors to submit original ideas for the best ways to get in shape for summer.
- Requirements: In this section the reporter will include any requirements to be featured in the story, for example, looking for a mix of ideas from instructors across all fitness types and must be a certified instructor for at least 2 years. Please submit your website link, name of business, and one social media page with your pitch.
If you have an appropriate response to an active query you can use the email in the email section to respond. You will not be able to follow up with your pitch, and response time (if the reporter decides to respond at all) can take anywhere from a few hours to a few months, so be patient.
If the reporter chooses your response for their story they will either email you with more details or send you a link to the story when it is live. If they do not think it is right for their story they will typically send an automated email stating it is not right for this particular story at this time, but to stay on the lookout for future opportunities.
What fitness businesses can gain by including HARO in their marketing strategy
Sharing your insight, expertise, and stories with journalists and reporters searching for the information you have can have numerous benefits for your business. Not only are they telling you exactly what they are looking for, but they are giving you a direct opportunity to contribute. You waste absolutely no time by sending a pitch and the more often you send inquiries, the better you get at perfecting your pitch. Here are some of the top benefits fitness businesses can experience by adding HARO into their marketing strategy.
Some of the top publications in the fitness industry, and the world, rely on sources from HARO to contribute to their stories. By participating with a quality pitch you increase your possibility of being featured and named in those publications that potential clients read and value. Every time your business is mentioned is an opportunity for a potential client to investigate your services over a competitor.
How HARO improves visibility and gives you higher domain authority
One of the most valuable factors in being featured in an online publication is linking to your website. When a publication with a high domain authority (as ranked by Moz.com) links to your website with a "follow link" they are telling search engines that you are a credible source and that those search engines should rank you higher than other websites or businesses in searches. The higher your domain authority the more likely you are to outrank competitor's websites.
Opportunities to be quoted, featured, and interviewed for similar publications
When a similar website or publication sees your contribution on another website or article, they might reach out to you to inquire about similar information on theirs. Being a source for one story will increase the opportunity for another highly-regarded publication to want to feature you as a source. Especially when the story requests the expertise or experience you have, thus boosting your credibility on a certain topic or area.
Link back to your website and social media pages
Linking back to your website is like an online version of word-of-mouth. It has the opportunity to boost your domain authority and rank you higher in search engines, but it also makes it easy for potential clients to go directly from an article or story to your website. Sending them to your website or social media pages will help your chances of a client visiting your offering, investigating your services, and deciding to engage with you and your business. From there it's up to you to really convince them.
Traffic driven to your website instead of competitors
The last thing you want is to miss out on valuable clientele because a competitor's website is getting more traffic. More searches and linking to your website in well-known publications can drive more traffic to your website and help you outrank the business's ranked higher than yours.
Boosted engagement and interest from clients
While getting featured can help you win over new business, it can also help you retain business. When a current client sees the recognition you have earned not only will they want to celebrate that with you, but it will also help them reaffirm why they chose your business for their fitness needs. The credibility you earn online will give you more credibility with your clients creating customer loyalty and community too.
Evidence to support being featured again
Although HARO is a great place to start and keep in your marketing strategy, adding some additional PR into your strategy will help you boost your brand and visibility even more. The more quality articles featuring your business, the bigger the opportunity for other sources to want to feature you or re-feature you.
Using articles and stories you and your business have been featured in is great evidence when pitching to other publications why you should be featured in their stories or website, too. Let them know you have more to share and continue to build a relationship with that journalist and the outlet.
Best practices to get your content featured
Although there is no guarantee that your pitch will be accepted and be included in a story (unless the pitch states all answers will be included) there are several best practices you can adopt to increase the possibility of being featured.
Don't spam reporters with off-topic pitches to their queries.
Reporters are constantly receiving pitches all day long both from HARO responses and from external sources. The last thing they want to do is request information for a certain topic only to be pitched something completely unrelated. If a reporter is looking for quotes on the best ways to gain muscle, an inappropriate response would be sharing your morning routine or the best yoga positions to improve flexibility. All responses must adequately and appropriately answer the query exactly or a reporter will quickly pass.
Prove your credibility in your pitch
Because the platform is free for anyone to use, some journalists and reporters want to verify that you are a reliable source before including you in their story. Oftentimes they will follow up or schedule a quick chat to make sure a reliable or credible source is providing the information. The better your brand reputation and information in regards to their query, the higher the likelihood you have of being included or featured in their story.
Including a link to your website and Linkedin, pages can help the journalist identify you without having to investigate further. It will save them a lot of time and they will appreciate that you thought ahead.
Support your pitch with facts and evidence
Supporting your submission with quotes, evidence, or stats is another way to secure your inclusion in a story or article. A fluffy response won't seal the deal. If a marketing website wants to know how you increased your conversion ratio using social media marketing, don't respond without real numbers and statistics to support your pitch and response. The more you are able to share that directly answers their request, the more they will want to include your response.
Take some time out of your day to check your daily HARO email
One of the best parts about HARO is that you don't have to go looking for the queries. They get delivered right to your email. However, the pitches in each email are different and don't often repeat unless a journalist or reporter re-submits their queries. To give yourself the best possible chance of being featured and to not miss out on a valuable query, carve out a little bit of time every day to review your daily HARO email. It's fairly quick to skim and see if there are relevant opportunities for you to respond to. Even if you don't have time in your day to answer then and there, thanks to the helpful submission deadline you can see when you need to send it by and if you have time to answer later.
Save past submissions
Sometimes your pitch won't get chosen, and that's ok. Saving your past pitches in a folder in your email or in a Google or Notion Doc or notes can be very helpful especially because you might come across a similar query that you already have the perfect answer for. It doesn't hurt to review and refine especially to make sure it is right for this new query, but it will save you time and help you nail the perfect submission.
Share on social media and in your newsletter: improving your digital marketing strategy
Journalists and outlets want to build their exposure and visibility as well. By improving your digital marketing strategy and by sharing the content you are getting featured in on your social media and newsletter you can improve the likelihood that it will reach a wider audience and build a collaborative relationship with the journalist and outlet. They'll appreciate the share and remember you in the future when there is another opportunity where you're a fit for their story. Sharing your content will also make it easy for your clients to see and share and help earn you more business.
5 examples of TeamUp's successful HARO submissions
Here at TeamUp, we have found HARO not only to be a successful method for boosting our brand authority and website visibility but also for sharing what our customers are up to and connecting them with the right journalists for their stories. To give you some examples of how you too can use HARO in your business we are sharing five times our HARO submissions were chosen for stories.
1. How Small Businesses Have Pivoted Because of COVID-19
While TeamUp has over 2500+ clients worldwide, our team at the start of COVID consisted of only 13 members. Thus an all hands on deck approach was vital in order to make sure we not only were able to keep our business going but those of our many customers as well.
When our team saw that Small Businesses Do It Better online blog was looking for examples of what small businesses have done during COVID to pivot and keep their businesses going, we knew our story would be a great fit. Not only did we work day and night to get our Zoom integration up and running so that our customers could run their classes online, but we have hundreds of testimonials and feedback from customers letting us know how much that helped them during the pandemic.
Their requirements were simple, give a specific explanation of what changes you made and how that helped your business, and include your name, company name, and URL.
Just because we knew we were a great fit for this story didn't mean we knew we would be selected. Thousands of small businesses changed and pivoted during the pandemic, so we wanted to make sure we were as detailed in our submission with facts and stats to qualify ourselves for this story. We included:
- Who TeamUp is and what we do
- What makes us a small business and the achievements we made during COVID which included our partnership and integration with Zoom
- The number of people on our team, which can also be found on the About Us page on our website
- The period of time it took for us to launch our online feature
- And a link to where they could learn the exact details on our website about the integration and how it helped TeamUp and our clients stay open.
Because we had provided the exact information that the writer was looking for they did not reach out with a further request. Rather they emailed us back one week later with the link to the article live on their website with our submission, quote, and link to our website included. You can read our story in their article, "How Small Businesses Have Pivoted Because of COVID-19".
What we gained by answering this HARO query
Although the domain authority (DA) for Small Businesses Do It Better was slightly lower than TeamUp's domain authority, we knew it would be a good opportunity to share our story in a very relevant time and way, as well as let people know on another platform the support and features we can offer fitness businesses. Our submission showed what worked well for us and was used in a round-up of other ideas that businesses even out of the fitness industry could use for their own businesses. Thus the traffic driven to this article even if they weren't necessarily looking for fitness-related ideas would still drive them to our story and to our website if they clicked on our link. It gave us a great example to share with potential TeamUp customers how above and beyond we go for our customers and would go for them.
2. Yoga/pilates teachers to compare/contrast these practices
We're not only on the lookout for HARO opportunities for TeamUp but also for opportunities where we know our clients would be a great fit. This is why when we saw that a writer from MindBodyGreen, a health, fitness and wellness website was looking for an expert Pilates and/or yoga teacher to share the differences between the two, we knew Karen Grinter, owner of Northants Pilates would have a great answer. The query was simple, looking for a teacher who either taught both or one of the fitness types to talk about the individual roadblocks and benefits, and their one requirement was that they must be certified and experienced and available to connect that week for further information.
After reaching out to Karen to see if she would be interested in participating we connected her with the writer by email. We said why Karen would be a great fit, her relation to TeamUp, and that she would be happy to participate in an interview and provide her insight.
When the writer responded, she was happy to have Karen participate and asked that she answer six questions they wanted to cover in the article, and asked her to submit her answers. Karen sent back great answers and shared an in-depth explanation of the history behind Pilates that differentiated it from yoga and used the evidence and her knowledge of that history to articulate and support her points.
Once she submit her answer a week later the article was live on their website, "Pilates vs. Yoga: What's the Difference & Which Workout Has More Benefits?" They included mentioned Karen and her studio and used several of her quotes in the article.
What we gained by answering this HARO query
Not only was Karen featured in the article with a link to her website, but she was the first source to be credited and mentioned in the top of the article. According to Moz.com, the higher your link in the article the more "link juice" is sent to that website. When Google sees that one website is linking to another website in a high position of the article, that to them says that that website mentioned is a reliable and valuable source and thus should be ranked higher in search engines. MindBodyGreen has a fantastic domain authority of 87, thus they have the power to give Karen's website traffic a major boost.
Although TeamUp was not directly promoted or mentioned in this article, this was still a major win for us because it brought Karen and her business the exposure she deserved and as one of our most loyal clients, it positively reflected back onto TeamUp and our community. Someone reading the article might be interested to learn more about Karen and how she runs her Pilates business and see on her website that she uses TeamUp as her software.
3. Open call for guest posts from PR practitioners only
When a journalist from Prowly Magazine posted her query stating that they were on the lookout for high-quality content from PR-related businesses who had examples of case studies, PR tactics, and insight into running/working in PR, we knew we would be a good fit. TeamUp knows the importance of good PR and we wanted to contribute our knowledge of how to earn PR for your fitness business to their site.
To prove we were a fit and qualified to provide them with high-quality content our submission included:
- Who TeamUp is and what we do
- Who on our team has PR experience and what that experience is to prove credibility, along with an example of a recent article written and published on the 10 ways to grow your fitness brand with marketing
- Past articles for other publications including our team members' Linkedin profile.
- Our pitch of topic that we would write about which was marketing and PR tips and advice for fitness professionals.
The Prowly marketing team then reached back out to us saying they approved our idea and that it would be new for their publication and thus would like to move forward. Having recently collaborated with Karen Grinter on a survey inquiring how her customers felt about coming back to the class which we released a press release about and coming off the heels of her recent MindBodyGreen feature we knew sharing our PR expertise and how we contributed to Karen's own boost would make for the perfect fitness business PR case study. We collected the materials from our collaboration which included the case study and survey, the HARO example and article feature, the newsletter sent out post-survey, and the article on TeamUp about the survey and began to craft our draft. They loved the idea. They provided us with their guidelines within two weeks our article "Marketing & PR for Fitness Professionals: Case study" was live on their website.
What we gained by answering this HARO query
Because they mentioned their publication in the HARO query, we were able to see not only what their publication was about and what they typically write about. We could also see that they didn't have marketing content for fitness professionals on their website and were able to identify a gap in their content that we could definitely fill. Using Moz.com we could also see that their domain authority was higher than ours, so by including a link from their website to TeamUp's they could give our website a boost and send us traffic for fitness businesses looking for PR and marketing advice. To then find that there is software that can help them with this too was a major win for us.
When someone now searches for marketing and PR advice for fitness professionals our guest post on Prowly appears as the second option on Google (out of about 68,800,000 results for this search), which lets people searching know that we are one of the best options and sources for this related inquiry. The guest post also links directly to TeamUp so people can continue on to explore our website if they have found this information useful.
4. Marketing examples
When Marketing Sherpa posted that they were looking for examples from businesses who have recently launched successful online marketing campaigns, we had the perfect example. After a full year of online classes, we wanted to celebrate our customers and their amazing achievement in a big way, so we created badges and social media posts for our customers announcing the number of online classes they completed from March 2020 to March 2021. The number of classes ranged anywhere from 100 to 1,000 with several even over 1,000+ classes. Our customers were beyond thrilled to receive and share this positive stat to celebrate their hard work and success during such a difficult and trying year.
When our customers began receiving their badges and social media posts they instantly started posting. Within 24 hours of sending out the badges, we had over 100 customers share their badges and announcement across their social media pages Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. We also had concrete stats we were able to share because of the social media shares. In our submission we included:
- Who were and what we do
- Our background and story about online classes and what led us to launch this campaign
- The number of people who participated and shared their badges.
- Why our social media campaign was a success and our major takeaways
- How we then shared our customers' badges on social media and celebrated them in our Instagram story highlight.
- And how because we made this completely about our customers, and that that was our only goal, people were more inclined to celebrate with us and share. We also made it easily shareable by creating the content for them in an engaging and catchy way.
- Why badges and presenting awards work as a marketing strategy and how other businesses can replicate from this strategy
- What we hope to gain from campaigns like this in the future.
- Our testimonials page support how our online class feature helped our clients
- A dropbox link to several of the images shared by our customers once the campaign went live.
There was an introduction, a middle, facts to support our statement, and a conclusion. We knew that presenting the information in that way would make it easier for the outlet to digest and determine if it was fit for their article.
After submitting our response, the writer reached back out to us, interested in learning more about the campaign and specifically more of the stats. Although we had included a stat about the number of people who shared within 24 hours, and our customers' response to the campaign, we hadn't provided factual evidence to support how this helped our website and brand authority with numbers. This could have resulted in us not being included, but because the writer liked the direction and story, he reached back out for more info.
We then wrote back with stats including the number of views our Instagram page received and how much our profile visits increased, and finally the percentage of our rise in followers and customers who then signed up for a trial or customers who were in their trial and then went on to be customers after our campaign went live. These statistics not only now supported us but allowed us to see how impactful the campaign really did have on our social media pages and customer retention.
Three weeks later our marketing example was included in their three-part marketing round-up, "Customer-First Marketing: 3 case studies about how the NFL, Dawn Foods, and TeamUp used social media badges, quiz-based ads, and B2B e-commerce," as the first case study example.
What we gained by answering this HARO query
Marketing Sherpa is a popular marketing website and reputable source for professionals looking for marketing and PR advice from other businesses just like theirs. By contributing to their website, not only did we receive a boost for our website, but we now have a link back to our website from a well-known marketing source which has helped us boost our brand authority in the marketing fields.
One of the areas in which we are also looking to assist our customers is in their marketing efforts, so having concrete examples of how we execute our own marketing strategies and having reputable sources share gives us more credibility. Marketing Sherpa also has a higher domain authority and those helped increase our likelihood of ranking the highest when people search for fitness management software with marketing features and guides in search engines.
5. 5 Ways To Create a Wow! Customer Experience
Authority Magazine is well-known for interviewing experts across all industries to share helpful insight on hundreds of topics. When we saw that one of those topics featured on HARO was focused on creating an amazing customer experience, we knew right away that with a mixture of our testimonial examples and TeamUp's very own, Tim Green's overall experience working closely with thousands of our TeamUp customers, we could not only give helpful advice but share information that other business owners could integrate into their own businesses. As well as wow other fitness businesses to sign up for TeamUp to take advantage of the customer experience we provide for our clients.
Once we wrote to the editor confirming we would like to be interviewed for this opportunity, they sent over a Google Doc and requested that we answer 10-12 questions from the interview set. Once we sent over our answers they sent us back a spreadsheet with the date and websites where the article would be featured.
What we gained by answering this HARO query
Although Medium (where Authority Magazine is hosted) does not permit follow links per their platform policy, the association with the magazine and high domain authority of 95, still gives our website the boost we need in terms of brand recognition and searchability. The article however in Thrive Global does include a follow link from their high domain authority of 81, does help us rank higher in search engines and increase our domain authority.
Seeing that TeamUp is featured in a high-ranking publication with a topic specific to what we do for our customers will help customers make impactful comparisons between our customer experience and that of a competitor. If a potential customer searches for examples of TeamUp's customer experience the search would result in the content that we have on our website including our testimonial page, followed by these two articles.
Because we participated in this opportunity, rather than have to search HARO for future opportunities with these publications, we get them sent directly to our inbox and have since participated in several other relevant opportunities to our brand.
To successfully build your fitness business and give you the boost you need to outrank your competitors in search engines, HARO won't be the only strategy you need to implement, but it will be one of the most useful especially early on. Checking your HARO emails for relevant opportunities, responding with appropriate and useful answers, and sharing the content amongst your community will help you get your business featured and grow your business.
To learn more marketing strategies for growing your fitness business, check out our marketing guide, here.