November 09, 2012 / by Laura Spaventa

Welcome to the HARO Limelight Series (HLS), where we will highlight either a reporter or source who has had success(es) with our service each week.

Our purpose with this series is to educate readers on how to more effectively pitch reporters and garner media hits.

We hope you find this series useful. Please leave any comments or questions below!


In this HLS, we interviewed Lavie Margolin, a New York-based Career Coach.

1.       Please give the BloggingPRWeb readers a little background information about yourself/your business.

 I am a New York-based Career Coach. I’ve been in practice since 2003. My practice is called Lion Cub Job Search (  I help professionals to get a better handle on their careers and job search. My assistance includes career testing, resume/cover letter preparation, interviewing practice and job sourcing strategies. I’ve authored three books. My most recent is called I Know Someone. What Now?:  Understanding Networking Better for Career, Job Search, Interviewing and Salary Negotiation Success.

 2.       How did you first hear about HARO and why did you decide to sign up?

When I published my first book in July 2010, Lion Cub Job Search, I was looking to promote the book in the media. The whole process was a mystery to me. First thing I did was find the names of 30 media outlets and mail a copy of the book to them and ask that they review it and interview me. Surprisingly, my response rate wasn’t bad as 3 of the 30 actually wrote something about the book. I figured there had to be an easier way and surveyed my network through LinkedIn to see if they had any media contacts. Over the course of the next week, about 6 or 7 of my contacts all wrote back and told me I had to use HARO. I signed up immediately.

3.       How has HARO changed the way you market yourself/your business?

HARO has been a game changer. I am now able to market myself as a Career Coach and author who has been quoted in publications such as The New York Times. HARO allows an even playing field for me to compete and get a voice. Through successful media placements, I’ve been able to grow my platform beyond LinkedIn and my website/blog.

4.       How many times have you gotten media placements through HARO?

 Over fifty. I lost count after awhile. In the first year that I responded, I had a 20% success rate. The best part is that once you get one media placement you never know when it will appear again- as it looks like articles are often syndicated or shared across various platforms. I have a Google alert set up with my name.

5.       If you have garnered more than one hit, which was your favorite and why?

Besides The New York Times, appearing on The Wall Street Journal website was a big one. It was an early lesson that I can get my name anywhere if I work hard enough (and use HARO!).

6.       From your experience with getting media placements, what are some tips/pointers you can give to people looking to pitch themselves or their businesses to the media?

A. Timeliness: Reporters often work on tight deadlines. Many are emailing the list for help as they could not find a source on their own, the deadline is getting tight and they need somebody. If you can, open the HARO email as soon as you receive it and start formulating a response.

B. Responding to the right requests: Read carefully what each reporter is looking for. If you are not a fit, spend your time responding to those listings for which you are a match.

C. Give content: When responding to the question, give lots of content. I have never spoken to most of the reporters who have put my content in their article. They take the information directly from what I emailed them. Almost always, there is something on my blog related to their request. I can massage that content into an answer for their question and respond right away.

D. Establish expertise: Why should the reporter use you? Why are you an expert in the field? Explain this in the first paragraph whenever you respond.

E. Be available: Check your email and phone messages regularly. A reporter might want to confirm some additional facts or request a picture of you for the story.

F. Know your audience: What media outlet is making the request? What might be specifically appealing to their audience?
Ideally, you will establish relationships with reporters that can be utilized at a later time. If they determine your content is delivered in a timely manner and of high quality, they are likely to contact you for the next story.

Here is a sample format:

Dear Mr. Smith,

My name is Lavie Margolin. I am a Career Coach and author of “Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers”. I have been quoted for my expertise in several media outlets including, The New York Times and CBS Moneywatch. Below are my thoughts on the subject matter:

(Establishing credibility)

Tips for recent high school graduates:

1. When you are young, it is tempting to jump from job to job to gain more fulfillment and satisfaction. Whenever you get your next break, give the job a chance.
2. Although you can get an entry-level job with a basic resume and no cover letter, always use a well polished resume and cover letter.
(Content a reporter can use for their story as opposed to “contact me for more information”)

Please feel free to contact me at any time with any additional questions you may have.

(Letting the reporter know that they can count on me if they need anything else, especially given tight deadlines).

7.       What are some no-nos when pitching the media?

A.  Don’t try to over extend your expertise in order to get your name out there. Focus on the areas you are best equipped to answer.

B.  Pay attention to what the requester is looking for. For example, if you don’t live in the city that they want a source to be in, don’t push to be included.

C.  Contact the source through HARO and don’t try calling the office or sending a message of Facebook. The source won’t appreciate that.

D.  Don’t lie about your credentials.

E.  Respond based on your expertise. Don’t try to plagiarize information that isn’t yours.


If you’d like to be featured in the HARO Limelight series as a member of the media or a source, email: laura(at)helpareporter(dot)com.

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