On one of the publicity coaching call I had for my members, some excellent topics came up.  One of them is the use of scare headlines to get the attention of reporters.  We went into a lot of detail on the call, but it’s well worth briefly addressing the issue here.


A scare headline is simply one that is intended to scare people into finding out more, taking action, buying a product or whatever.


If you haven’t read John Stossel’s book “Give Me A Break”, you should.  It’s an excellent book.  He talks about scare headlines quite a bit.


My position on them is clear:  I hate them and I think they’re unethical.


If the risk you’re talking about in your scare headline is a legitimate risk for a significant number of people, it’s no longer a scare headline, it’s the truth.  I’m fine with that.


If, though, you’re simply juicing up the truth to make it sound more frightening than it really is or if the risk affects a miniscule number of people, it’s simply intended to get attention at the cost of other people.  That falls well below my ethical radar.




Yep, some news shows use that tactic all the time.  I think they’re scum.  They constantly have people in a panic, just to draw viewers to their show.


Some newspapers use that tactic to sell papers.  They’re scum too.


It all comes down to what you feel is more important – is it more important for you to put some dubiously earned dollars in the bank or is it important for you to tell the truth?


One of my favorite quotes is:


“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”


It sure is very tempting to rattle people up with a scarce story – and it’s actually pretty easy to do.  But that’s where integrity comes in.  I’d much rather have less money in the bank and be able to sleep at night than to know I have people jittery because of some nonsense scare I stirred up.


I just saw an atrocious play in New York called “Unbecoming”. The entire premise of the play is that 98% of all hysterectomies are unnecessary and are done often to butcher women and make money for the greedy physicians.  I sat there feeling that the person who wrote the play simply wanted to create a scare to sell tickets to this pitiful excuse for a stand on an issue.  He didn’t seem to want to let facts get in the way of his scarce.


It’s very trendy to condemn God and the medical community for just about everything these days.  But it’s funny how, when a serious problem comes up, people say “Oh God, where’s the emergency room?”.


Don’t join the scum brigade.  There are enough opportunities to get legitimate publicity for your stories.  No need to rely on sensational scares that are little more than blatant lies intended to make people do business with you out of fear.


You can get full information about my complete publicity kit, which has helped thousands of people skyrocket their business, promote their products and literally alter their lives, at


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