We Help You “Help a Reporter Out”

At Linda Costa Communications Group, it’s no secret that we are big fans of Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out (HARO). Dubbed the “largest source repository in the world,” HARO sends out approximately 210 media opportunities daily. For down-to-the-wire deadlines, it’s a journalist’s best friend … and a PR professional’s dream. But, with more than 120,800 active sources receiving the thrice-daily email, competition can be stiff for that coveted placement.

When you find a fitting query, having the perfect resource is just half the battle. The following are a few of our favorite HARO tips that we’ve learned from personal experience:

  • Keep it short. When you mix a tight deadline with a high volume of replies, multiple paragraphs of text – while relevant and informative – might be overlooked in favor of short and to-the-point bullets. (In fact, People Magazine’s Steve Helling is a big advocate of the 250-word pitch.)
  • Provide all the information. Some of the most coveted queries request particular information. Often times you’ll be asked to include common details, like the name of the source, company name and contact information. But sometimes, the reporter might want even more information – like a headshot, the source’s age or highly specific quotes and comments. When compared to another expert resource, if your email lacks any of the requested information, it might be the difference between being included and being ignored.
  • Subject lines are valuable. Use them wisely. Our friends at HARO automatically add “New Pitch –” to your email’s subject line (at least when you reply to an auto-generated HARO email, like “queryxyz@”). Don’t waste valuable subject line real estate by including something similar – instead, get right to the point.
  • Omit bold text to avoid “screaming.” In the past, I’ve used bold text to call out specific statistics and relevant information when responding to a HARO query. Sounds like a smart idea, right? When a reporter replied to me recently, they included my original pitch and I was surprised to see that my “courtesy” bolding had actually translated into SCARY CAPITALIZATION. Eek! Often times, people read capitalization as screaming … which is definitely not something I want to portray to a reporter.

For more best practices – from Peter, himself – visit Please share your own favorite tips in the comment section below.

Shirt Spotting: Corporate 5k

Yesterday, more than 14,000 people ran in Orlando’s annual Corporate 5K, presented by IOA. Many companies made customized shirts (like Linda Costa Communications Group).


Here are some of our favorites:


National Retail Properties – nice play on words.


Hard Rock Café – extra points for including a QR code.


Park Avenue Animal Hospital in Apopka – some of the runners even had dog ears on to complement the shirt.


Campus Crusade for Christ – excellent tie-in to branding and mission.


Protiviti – the perfect shirt for an accounting firm.

To see more corporate shirts, visit the Corporate 5k blog. Congratulations to everyone who participated.