Peter Shankman is an adventurist, CEO and entrepreneur. He's best known
for creating HARO - Help A Reporter Out, which connects reporters and
journalists with sources for their stories.

Peter is also the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, a New York City-
based boutique marketing and PR strategy firm. He is also an author, keynote
speaker, and marketing pundit for several major media outlets and trade

Normally a cheerful, positive, can-do person, Peter uses sarcasm to make his
points in this post. Still, The Insider encourages readers to consider them
very carefully, and heed the advice within them.


By Peter Shankman   (reprinted from

Running HARO (Help A Reporter Out) for the past three years, I’ve seen,
hands down, the best ways to get your story placed, front page, EVERY TIME.

Assuming you want ALL THAT COVERAGE, as your boss has told you that
you do, these are, without question, the top five ways to get it. Make sure you
follow EVERY single rule here, and you’ll be well on your way to getting tons
and tons of coverage!

1) Make sure to pitch completely and totally off-topic, with absolutely no
regard to what the journalist covers. Hey, times are tight, right? They should
be LOVING you for pitching them at all! They cover finance? Make sure to
pitch them on a home entertainment system for 8-15 year olds. They’ll love
you for it, and if they can’t use it, you know they’ll be happy to pitch it over to
their friends who will write about it! Just make sure you put “and if you can’t
use this, can you send it to the person at your outlet who can?” It’ll be the least
they can do, they’ll be sure to help you out!

2) Don’t EVER believe the reporter when they tell you how they like to be
contacted. They’re only doing that to TEST you! They say email? You say
HOME PHONE! They say “No Attachments?” Please – You say “FIFTY
MEGABYTE FILE TO THEIR BLACKBERRY!” Remember – They’re just testing
you! They want to see how smart you are! Get around it!

3) FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP! You should start phoning the
reporter (at home, preferably) no later than FORTY FIVE MINUTES AFTER
YOUR INITIAL PITCH. Continue in two-hour increments, handing over the night-
time duties to a subordinate – Remember – The squeaky wheel gets the
grease – In this case, squeak every two hours until the reporter covers you.

4) If for some reason, the reporter has written a story about your industry and
not included you, well… Let the mayhem begin! This reporter – Who does he
think he is! Start with the angry emails – You’ve every right to get angry! Call
him names – Best of all, threaten to go to his superior and threaten to pull all
your client’s advertising from the media outlet. They’ll see the error of their
ways RIGHT quick, and you’ll be in like Flynn! Don’t forget to cc your legal
team, and say “our legal team is cc’d. We hope it doesn’t come to having to
use them.” That’ll scare them right quick!

5) Finally, reporters LOVE a challenge – Make it TOTALLY difficult for
reporters to find you – Don’t include your phone number OR a mobile phone.
When you schedule interviews, make SURE to reschedule them at LEAST
three times – Hey – The reporter has to understand that your client is a LOT
busier than they are – They’re just going to have to rearrange their schedule
for you – And they will – Remember – They want your story, and in the end,
they work for You!

Just follow these five rules, and you’ll be rolling in story placements faster
than you can say “PROMOTION!”

What other great ideas can you recommend that guarantee placement? Leave
them below in the comments.

PS: If you’re really so stupid as to not realize this is complete and utter
sarcasm, and you should NOT do anything listed above, close down your
computer – You’re too stupid to be using the Internet.

Originally published on August 30, 2010 on, the official
blog and website of, owned and operated by Peter Shankman.

To go directly to this blog posting on, please visit

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How NOT to Get Media Coverage
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Click image to enlarge. Newschannel 9 WSYR-TV media coverage of the retail and economic boom in downtown Ithaca, as part of Ithaca Public Relations' media relations efforts and story pitch to WSYR.
Click image to enlarge. Ithaca Journal front page photo-spread for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Ithaca Public Relations donated time and services to help market and promote the Society's Light the Night Walk.
Newschannel 9 WSYR-TV media
coverage of downtown Ithaca's
retail and economic growth.
Ithaca Journal front page photo
spread of the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society's Light the
Night Walk
Click image to enlarge. CBS news story about Ithaca Public Relations client ASI Energy, and its work with NYSERDA to make a Cornell University fraternity's building the first in New York to be EnergyStar certified.
ASI Energy's work on a fraternity
house at Cornell University that
was the first in New York to receive
Energy Star certification.
Ithaca, NY   607-280-3840