Chapter 8. Help Me Help You

Peter Shankman, author of Can We Do That? Outrageous PR Stunts That Work—And Why Your Company Needs Them, has spent a career in public relations helping both publicity seekers and media help each other. Once a year, Mr. Shankman sends out an e-mail to his list of media contacts offering his assistance. No, not trying to get publicity for him or his clients, but rather simply offering up his Rolodex. The concept is, "I'm a well-connected businessman. I can help you get sources for stories, or introduce you to people who can help you accomplish your goal of putting out content and meeting your deadline. Contact me anytime."

Talk about building relationships. Does it work? Oh yeah. This approach helps endear Mr. Shankman to his media contacts, which then, of course, helps him get attention for himself and his clients. Probably the biggest thing that came out of this clever idea was a project called Help a Reporter Out, or HARO (

HARO is the natural extension of Mr. Shankman's yearly e-mail to his media contacts. HARO takes the concept of helping to another level; it enables anyone looking for a source to get in front of more than 100,000 people (and PR agencies). Think about that for a second and how smart it is. It solves problems for both audiences, the media who needs sources and stories and the people who need to get the word out about their business or brand. HARO matches them together through a daily e-mail, allowing them to contact ...

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